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Personal Preference Print
Written by Mike Noel   
Tuesday, 19 June 2007
While looking around on the Internet I ran across this thread in an online forum. The initial poster was asking for some recommendations for "clean" fantasy. He (I assume "he" but the gender wasn't specified), defined "clean" as not containing graphic sex and violence -- especially gratuitous. The ensuing comments were interesting and somewhat helpful. But, predictably, someone started to question the guy's motivation. They even went so far as to comment that it was "silly and immature" to avoid reading books because of the sex and violence content.
Others defended the guy stating that everyone has a right to their preference in terms of reading material. The defense went along the lines that "preference" was a matter of taste and not a matter of silliness or immaturity. And if a person wants to avoid certain elements because of personal preference there is nothing wrong with that. The debate continued on in a civilized manner with the one side insisting that people be "open" to all sorts of things while the other side clung to the "personal preference" angle.
Then the original poster posted again. In this post he mentioned that for him this was a moral issue and he had certain moral standard that were violated by reading explicit sex and violence. Interestingly, this guy's defender bowed out at this point with a comment that since the selection of material wasn't a "personal preference" but was a "moral" decision then there wasn't an adequate defense.
You see the point here? As long as it was a matter of "personal preference" it was OK to avoid certain material. That is, it was a valid position to hold. But as soon as it became a "moral-based decision" the position lost all credibility. Isn't that interesting? Personal preferences are more important than moral stands to many people.
Once the "moral aspect" of the issue was revealed, the main antagonist to the original poster pointed out that he had suspected all along that there was a secret moral agenda and that was why he was pressing the point. Apparently he was smart enough to figure out that the "personal preference" approach was just an attempt to hide the fact that the original poster was really making a moral decision. And we know that moral decisions, even personal moral decisions, hold no water.
I find this extremely interesting. Personal preferences are sacred and deserve defense but personal morals are despicable and completely invalidate any position based on them. Is it just me or doesn't that seem quite backwards?
One more thing, the original poster was careful to state that his view was his view and his view alone. He didn't care what other people were reading or writing. He was trying to make decisions for himself. In the past people used to complain if someone was shoving their morals down someone else's throat. Now it appears that it is valid to complain even if an individual is using morals for his own reasoning.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 June 2007 )
 

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