We've Got to Remove the Stigma of X

We hear this frequently in relation to many traditionally disapproved activities: single motherhood, abortion, polygamy, etc. "People  who engage in X suffer from the social stigma attached to that behavior: therefore, we must remove the stigma."

The argument really doesn't work. Why? Well, if the activity isn't immoral, then it shouldn't have any social stigma attached to it, whether that stigma makes people suffer or not. But if it is immoral, then the stigma is a good thing, as it will discourage the behavior.

Notice that nobody ever uses this argument in regards to, say, how the poor neo-Nazis are suffering from the stigma attached to Nazism.

Comments

  1. In my view when people say 'We've Got to Remove the Stigma of X' they (mostly) mean 'X should; not have a stigma so it should be removed' and not 'stigma is a bad thing therefore it should be removed from X'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No rob, then it would just be necessary to argue that the activity is OK: the stigma part would not have to be mentioned.

      Delete
    2. I think it is still good to keep in mind the effects a stigma has on those it is applied.

      Delete
  2. It's true that stigma can serve salutary purposes, but it seems incorrect to suggest that we can infer that something is immoral merely by the fact that it has social stigma attached to it. You say that "if the activity isn't immoral, then it shouldn't have any social stigma attached to it." Yet surely there are some conditions which are stigmatized *unjustly* due to widespread ignorance. We need not look to historical examples of stigmas attached to race or sex. Even today, it is still acceptable to stigmatize people who suffer from serious mental health disorders as "crazy." For many, to admit to suffering from such conditions would cause their peers to judge them unfavorably, as if the person who is ill possesses unusually weak character or fortitude. Unfortunately, this stigma contributes to deterring people from recognizing that they need help and seeking treatment, often to devastating effect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "but it seems incorrect to suggest that we can infer that something is immoral merely by the fact that it has social stigma attached to it"

      Good thing I said nothing remotely like that!

      Delete
  3. Sounds like we should remove the stigma on stigmas.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There is a good case to make in regards to trans gender people to remove the stigma where the stigma has much worse effects on the well being of that person.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Central Planning Works!

Fair's fair!

Well, So What?