Societies have norms. When individuals and groups violate those norms society sanctions them in some manner because of their revulsion at the violation of those norms. But many modern Americans have a tendency to mask the causal factor behind this revulsion, the transgression against particular taboos or beliefs & folkways held sacred, and talk as if in reality it was some more abstract and distant ultimate principle which motivated them. For example, the extraction from children from “dangerous” parents is to allow the children to “make up their own mind” and not be “brainwashed,” because after all humans with free choice and will always make the “right” choices. So you simply turn it into a general issue of individual choice as opposed to a specific reaction to an infraction against the unwritten moral law. A more more explicit exploration and discussion of the values which “mainstream” Americans hold might be in order for our society I would think. But then, I value transparency….
To what extent are all projects of social control — conventional education, the effort to fight mental illness, the effort to inculcate bourgeois habits — an extension of “the wisdom of repugnance,” to eliminate practices and ways of life we find unfamiliar or disruptive and thus revolting?
Speaking of which, I’m very excited about Stacy Peralta’s new film on gang culture. I hope to see it soon.