This was posted on Reddit.co/r/askphilisophy/ on 28 April 2022. From past experience my Reddit posts have either been rejected by the moderator (usually wrong sub Reddit) or gotten lost in the morass of Redit hourly Reddit Posts. So I have posted it here in the hope that you can find it.;
Tail wagging the dog
Philosophers of reddit, how can the prevailing philosophy of our time be modified to reduce the increasing prevalence of “The tail wagging the dog”.
Recently in conversation with a fellow train passenger he expressed exasperation following a recent incident. He introduced a talk by saying “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls”. One person complained that it did not include them because they were non binary. He retorted that he would like to be addressed as “Bastard”, but was told this is not possible as it would be offensive to some.
I’ve had several of these conversations recently. We agreed that it was yet another case of “The tail wagging the dog”. By which we mean that the less than 1% of the tails of the standard normal distribution is being used to dictate governmental and social policy. The noisiest is right. It seems only one person has to object and we all have to change our language, attitudes, behaviour or beliefs in order to accommodate them. This can sometimes be to the detriment of society and human evolution.
One of the reasons I dislike some of the media is because they often use examples of the less than 1% of the normal distribution to demand changes in policy and laws from government. They cause fear and outrage amoungst the populace. During the last 2 Labour Governments in England, some newspapers printed several “The tail wagging the dog” stories. I was particularly abhorrent of one about a family abusing the benefits / social security system because they had over 14 children and were receiving large amounts of cash benefits, despite not working. I think this led to changes in the benefits system that not only made it more bureaucratic but also harder for the deserving and needy to access benefits they were entitled to. If that was the case it negatively impacted the lives and well-being of thousands.
My flippant answer in many such cases where I think “The tail is wagging the dog” is my sister’s crushing answer to some of my statements “AND?”
I’m unsure of how my favourite philosophy of the social contract can be adapted to prevent “The tail wagging the dog”. For those whose favourite philosophy is the superior Kant <i>categorical imperative</i>, what should the categorical imperative be to reduce “The tail wagging the dog”. For those who more understand the prevailing (moral) philosophy of our times, how can it be adjusted to reduce or prevent “The tail wagging the dog”. I am confident that logic dictates that it is an impossibility to be able to cater for everyone’s views, wants, desires because some will be direct unreconcilable opposites.
So please philosophers give us an easy to understand and philosophicaly consistent way of preventing “The tail wagging the dog”; while maintaining peace, harmony, cooperation, our liberties, positive future footprints and the positive advancement of humanity.