Rules For Thee, But Not For Me

Readers: Set aside your opinions and preconceptions on food policy for a brief moment and read the following (not entirely hypothetical) dialog:

Person A: There's got to be a way to stop all these greedy corporations from making soda. They spend billions on advertising. They waste [science-y sounding number] liters of water for every liter of soda they produce. Worst of all, they exploit us for profit, and they're making us all fat!

Person B: Well, okay, don't drink soda then.

Person A: But this isn't for me! It's for people who don't know any better. These drinks are incredibly unhealthy, and there are uneducated people out there who don't even know it! We have to change our standards to get away from these liquid calories... we've got to do something!

Readers, what's your take on Person A's thought process? Do you consider it to be empowered? Logical? Do you consider Person A's behavior here to be arrogant in any way--or even narcissistic?

There's a lot happening in this short conversation, and I want to hear your take on the dynamics that you see. Share your thoughts below!

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chacha1 said...

ooooh, very interesting.

Person A's statements are, IMO, *not* empowered because they do not refer to an internal conviction, much less to a plan of action with regard to the stated issue. There are of the "somebody (not me) should do something" variety that is positively epidemic.

A's statements are also not logical. I don't even know how you could string together those phrases, without adding anything, to come up with logic.

A's statements ARE arrogant; "other people" are ignorant or greedy, not A.

Narcissistic ... I don't know the proper use of the word well enough to say for sure. To me, narcissistic would imply utterly focused on how the issue affects A. The statements deny any personal effect.

However, because A is affecting to be concerned for "other people," these statements *could* be read as a narcissistic mechanism i.e. "look at me, how noble and compassionate I am for those less favored."

It's very much "I'm okay, but look at all these other poor uneducated fools who are being exploited; we need to protect them from the big bad corporations because they don't know enough to protect themselves."

Gag. This is basically the same argument some conservatives use to restrict access to contraception and certain women's health procedures.

Ary Yogeswary said...

I think A should start with himself and leave others alone :).

It was easy to think that A is playing God, but there is always a possibility that he actually believe he should play Captain America and save the day, er others. It is the same belief that enable us to move forward and write comments and express our opinion.

To label him as arrogant or narcissistic is not really appropriate, because he might actually do have good intention but expressed it the wrong way. On the other hand, his statement (or any possible action that will sprung from it) is definitely not empowering, nor logical. Empowering and logical is when he can show and made example of himself which made others go: He's right!

At this point though I can only see A as poor misguided person with (presumably) good intention :)

Daniel said...

My perspective: Person A probably *believes* he (or she) is being empowered. And logical.

I'd also argue that Person A's calls for action ("we've got to do something!" "we have to change our standards!") are what's arrogant: rather than being Person A's responsibility to start with himself/herself, it becomes somebody else's problem to fix.

But again, there could be a LOT more going on here. Maybe Person A considered it insulting that Person B had a simple, one-sentence solution to this "problem." Or maybe Person B didn't empathize enough while listening to Person A's complaint.

Curious to hear others' thoughts on this.