A secular moral code or any morality defines what bad behavior is or should be. Without a secular moral code or some form of morality there is no way to define bad behavior and it results in chaos or anarchy where no behavior is considered bad behavior. So with a consensus on morality there is bad behavior and without morality no one knows what bad behavior is.
With widely accepted ethical principles which is what morality is you have structure and order in society. Without an indoctrination and enforcement of these ethical principles or morality there is no order possible in society.
That said the hardest thing to do is to gain consensus or agreement on what those ethical principles or morality should be to optimize social cohesion. A consensus morality results in mostly peaceful interactions in society among its members. I have come up with my own version of what a universal secular moral code should be and feel that the world would be a more peaceful place if impressionable young minds were indoctrinated with this secular moral code.
Once you have a stated morality then you can proceed to define what bad behavior is in detail by analyzing the implications of those general moral or ethical principles.
A secular moral code which can guide your decisions about human behavior is- in nonemergency situations- don’t destroy biodiversity, don’t lie, don’t be inefficient, don’t steal, don’t commit adultery if married, and don’t murder.
A serious verbal assault is often considered bad behavior. A verbal assault is not a physical assault or forced assault on someone but it can feel similar to a physical assault if done in a loud, angry, hateful, intense voice designed to make you feel defensive and perhaps bad about yourself.
Verbal assaults can be considered to be a form of STEALING – verbally willfully trying to take away something of value from an individual or group. A verbal assault is either punishment for some bad behavior or a verbal assault is trying to minimally steal something usually of some value such as one’s pride, dignity, reputation, self-esteem, happiness, sense of security, etc.
Verbally and willfully trying to take away something of value does not mean that the taking away will be successful, especially if the verbal assault attempt is ignored or doesn’t significantly mentally affect the intended victim. The victim of the verbal assault may be highly immoral and not feel that he or she has done anything bad or wrong so they remain unaffected by the verbal assault.
You can for example insult a human in an attacking or assaulting way and say- “You have the brain of an insect!” thus hoping to make someone feel inferior and trying to take away a sense of pride or selfworth in oneself. The victim of the assault may feel defensive and counter with an insult of their own but often such an insult is merely ignored and one’s sense of pride or selfworth in oneself is not mentally diminished in the least.
The attempted stealing by insult is minimal stealing but it really is consciously or unconsciously trying to steal or take away a little bit of your pride, dignity, reputation, self-esteem, happiness, etc. Realistically most humans will react to an insult by ignoring it and the insult really doesn’t permanently affect their pride, dignity, reputation, self-esteem, or happiness that much and is not considered a case or example of gross immorality such as a slanderous or libelous remark made in public or in print.
I have defined some forms of verbal assault below:
Insult: v. to rudely communicate and/or behave intending to (upset and/or to offend) and/or (to harm mentally and/or to rarely distress) and sometimes the intention is to make you feel inferior
Rude: adj. showing unintentional and/or intentional minimum consideration for a human(s)’ sensing and it is frequently done by showing shameless disrespect and unacceptable social etiquette
Ridicule: v. to use communication intended to shame and/or to cause contemptuous laughter
Humiliation: n. causing a human to sense shame and/or decreasing the pride of a human for duration
Belittle: v. to communicate that a human is less important than one senses and/or is
(There is minimal difference in meaning between a put down and belittle)
Name call: v. to use an abusive and/or offensive word to describe and/or shame a human
Notice that most of the verbal assaults often have the intention of shaming a human and making them feel guilty about something such as a personal inadequacy. Obviously if a human does not have shame for a bad behavior then the verbal assaults will have no permanent good effect on the victim. That is why there is an old saying that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” An immoral human would probably say-“sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never shame me.”
A morally confident human with integrity will also not be shamed by these verbal assaults because they know with certainty that they have not done anything bad or wrong and do not feel guilty. Yes, a moral human may make a mistake once in a while and do something bad but they will usually apologize for the mistake and go on with their lives.
Shame: n. sensing displeasure caused by (guilt and/or unworthiness) and/or (disrepute and/or powerlessness) to achieve a goal(s))
Repeated insults no matter how ineffective can have a cumulative effect on one’s psyche. If enough similar insults come from a wide range of humans and especially some humans which you respect then your sense of pride in yourself, your dignity, your self-esteem, etc. can be somewhat diminished or can decrease over time if you are basically a moral human.
Sometimes you may feel that insults are justified as in the case of a braggadocious buffoon filled with excessive unjustified pride in oneself. Trying to take away some of that excessive pride is probably desirable but an insult is not the moral way to do it. Instead factual statements designed to point out the undesirability of the excessive pride are preferable. “Nobody is right all the time and you seem to be in error this time”, “Other humans have different valid viewpoints on that topic”, and “What you did was adequate but not exceptional”, etc. are examples of factual statements and not verbal assaults which in the long duration may have an impact and reduce someone’s excessive pride to some extent.
Verbal assaults can be made on bad and even good behavior which can be changed and sometimes they are done on things which you can’t change or can only change with great effort on your part.
For example, you can be assaulted for being ugly, ignorant, uncoordinated, poor, or mentally handicapped. These are all things where genetics may play a major role in your status in life and can’t be changed very much if at all.
Insults and many other verbal assaults use exaggerated truths which are effectively lies so they are slightly or grossly immoral. Saying to someone that they are the “ugliest human in the world” is an exaggeration because there are probably many more humans in the world who are uglier. The exaggerated partial truth or lie is what often offends humans and rightly so because they feel that you have lied to them with your exaggerations.
The major things which usually are verbally assaulted are your looks, your brain power, your financial status, and humans that you interact with, especially offspring, spouse, and friends. You can be insulting or you can make factual statements which are usually not that insulting and I will give a few examples of this. The insult first, followed by a factual statement in most cases.
When commenting on body looks that can’t be easily changed it is best not to say anything at all and avoid embarrassing someone. When it comes to insults about clothing which can be changed then rather than saying- “You look like a whore in that dress” it is best to say something like “You would look better in a less sexy outfit”. When asked for an opinion on an outfit you can respond to an ugly outfit by saying it’s ok but it’s not my favorite pattern, color, color combination, fabric, style, etc.
You can also be more honest and say that the outfit is too busy, too shiny, the colors don’t blend together well, too tight, too lose, etc. However, don’t go to extremes and say that an outfit is very ugly or lie and say that an outfit which seems ugly is beautiful.
“Do you wanna lose ten pounds of ugly fat? Cut off your head!” or “Losing about 50 pounds could improve your health”,
Here are some looks insults without a factual alternative statement:
“I would only wear that dress to a Halloween party.”
“You are wearing so much jewelry it is beginning to blind me.”
“Did you buy those cookies in a pet store?”
“You look like you survived a botched face lift.”
“Hey, you have something on your chin… no, the 3rd one down.”
“Looks like you traded in your neck for an extra chin!”
“I love what you’ve done with your hair. How do you get it to come out of your nostrils like that?”
“I may be fat, but you’re ugly, and I can lose weight.” (a counter insult, not recommended, if you are accused of being fat)
“I’m not saying she’s ugly, but if she was cast as Lady Godiva, the horse would steal the show.”
“I’ve known sheep that could outwit you.” or “You are not as smart as you think you are.”
“Your brain is so minute it would lose in a biggest pea contest.” or “You are not very smart or intelligent.”
“You’re so dumb you think that lions lay eggs”, “You’re an idiot”, “You’re so dense, light bends around you”, “If you were twice as smart you would still be stupid”, or “You did something stupid and made a mistake”
“You are about as much use as a condom machine in the Vatican.” or “You are incompetent in what you do.”,
“You’re as useless as a screen door on a submarine.” or “You are not very competent.”
“You’re as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle.” or “It doesn’t look like you can help me.”
“I desire that we be better strangers.” or “I’d like to have to interact with you much less than now.”
“With a friend like you I don’t need enemies.” or “Don’t lie behind my back.”
“Look, we all have something to bring to this discussion. But I think from now on the thing you should bring is silence.” or “You talk too much, try to do so a little less.”
“Your accent could kill roaches.” or “Your accent makes it hard to understand you.”
“Copernicus just called. You are not the center of the universe.” or “You are trying too hard to be the center of attention.”
“I like small balloons but your pride is the size of a hot air balloon.” or “Your pride is often too excessive.”
“You’re a pain in the butt.” or “Try to be a little less annoying.”
“Watching you work with others is water torture.” or “I look at the way you work and it annoys me.”
“Allow me to congratulate you. You have the most closed mind that I have ever met.” or “You are not very open minded.”
“You change partners like a rooster.” or “You are promiscuous.”
“Your family tree must be a cactus because everybody on it is a prick.” or “Your family tree has some notoriety.”
“Please tell me you don’t home-school your kids.” or “Your kids don’t seem to be learning enough.”
“I’m not saying you’re lazy, but you should try out for “American Idle.”” or “Try to do a little more for mutual benefit.”
“You would lose a speed contest with a slug.” or “Speed up your work a little.”
Verbal assaults on an individual or group are made with an insult, name calling, a put down or belittlement, ridicule, and humiliation. None of these verbal assaults are well defined in the dictionary and most humans often can’t tell the difference between one and the other. It is often hard to categorize which kind of verbal assault something really is because a verbal assault depending on the individual can have multiple effects on a human who might feel insulted, belittled, ridiculed, and humiliated all at the same time! In effect an attack on personal dignity, pride, selfesteem, reputation, and even happiness is something which does and would offend any normal moral human on many levels.
A verbal assault can be considered to be STEALING or taking away something of value without a probable cause or reason or stealing or taking away something of value with a probable cause or reason.
If there is no probable cause or reason for verbal aggression then it can be considered to be the STEALING of or an assault on one’s dignity, reputation, pride, self-esteem, happiness, sense of security, etc. even though the wrong justification may be the use of free speech rather than moral free speech. Free speech has no boundaries so it can be moral or immoral, just or slanderous and/or libelous.
Free speech is theoretically protected in the constitution of the United States but the reality is that it should have been written as moral free speech since freedom of expression can get out of hand and can be used to unjustly slander someone in private and slander can have devastating results when done in public or in the printed media.
Trump and the establishment media is a perfect example where free speech can get out of hand and verbal assaults on individuals are tolerated much to the detriment of civil responsible discussion. Reputations are smeared and sometimes destroyed with slander, guilt by association, statements taken out of context, and verbal assaults sometimes justified but often over exaggerated and harmful and therefore immoral. When free speech degenerates into lies and deceptions in public and the press, the very foundations of a Democratic Republic are in danger of being destroyed with malicious propaganda. Verbal warfare without moral rules to guide it is an ugly divisive destructive public display.
If there is a probable cause or a reason for the verbal aggression then there is still the attempt at STEALING a little bit of one’s dignity or stealing or violating the right to be treated with dignity. Just because there is a reason or probable cause, verbal aggression is not the best way to deal with bad behavior because it is still slightly immoral. Verbal aggression should be replaced with verbal discipline in the form of a just factual verbal punishment followed by actual punishment for the bad or wrong behavior.
Not trying to ruin or verbally STEAL or take away a person’s good reputation can also be a justification for not putting up with verbal assaults, especially if the insult, belittlement, ridicule, name calling, or humiliation is done in public with other humans present. Verbal assaults done in private are not as serious a transgression as verbal assaults done in public which can seriously negatively affect your reputation.
Stealing something of value from someone can to some extent be considered a form of injury. Thus you could also say that you are slightly injuring a human’s pride, dignity, reputation, self-esteem, happiness, sense of security, etc. with a verbal assault. Stealing dignity or injuring dignity effectively means the same thing and is bad behavior.
Injury: n. stealing health intentionally and if the injury is selfinflicted you are stealing your own health intentionally and/or ((personal and/or group) rights violation(s)) and/or (financial damage(s) and/or emotional trauma)
You could argue that you are minimally injuring the mental health of someone with a verbal assault on their pride, dignity, reputation, self-esteem, happiness, sense of security, etc. However, there are degrees of emotional trauma caused by verbal assaults with mostly minimal emotional trauma. In some cases major emotional trauma is possible by being verbally assaulted in public thus perhaps causing irreparable damage to one’s reputation.
Name calling by calling someone four eyes, mental midget, butt head, dick head, ignoramus, asshole, etc. is usually a partial truth exaggerated and becomes mostly a LIE that offends the victim and is often used as a form of bullying. If you exaggerate and call someone stupid and they are not stupid even though they may occasionally do some stupid things, then you are really mostly lying and that can be called slightly immoral.
Not all name calling is inaccurate or a lie so if you call someone smart who is not that smart and this is an attempt at praise then this is not considered a verbal assault and is considered good or positive behavior by some psychologists. However, it is still an exaggerated partial truth and can be considered to be a lie. This is why exaggerated ongoing praise for a child does not often bring good end results because you have really lied to him or her and given them a false sense of confidence or an inflated ego. Positive or negative name calling are both slightly immoral because they are mostly lies or exaggerated partial truths.
Name calling usually has a bad connotation, especially when used to bully kids. The reason is that it is either an exaggerated partial truth thus becoming a lie which can be considered to be slightly immoral OR the name calling is a verbal attempt at stealing a little bit of one’s dignity or self-esteem which should also be considered to be slightly immoral.
Verbal punishment is just if it is done with a probable cause of willful bad behavior. Unfortunately verbal aggression or verbal assaults are often used to try and punish a punishment deserving human. However, verbal assaults are not verbal moral punishments if they are not done in a dignified or polite manner. Also verbal assaults are not moral punishments if you erroneously verbally punish for good behavior.
Ridicule is really laughing at someone’s inappropriate behavior or persona and ridicule is a more subtle form of verbal aggression or assault sometimes designed to punish an individual or group for bad or inappropriate behavior. Merely laughing at something funny is not slightly immoral unless it is willfully done as an assault on one’s human dignity. Tone of voice, bad or inappropriate behavior, and circumstances under which the behavior occurs all determine whether it is serious ridicule or more flippant in nature and not to be taken seriously.
Judging from comedians jokes we can laugh at almost anything so it is important to differentiate between a human laughing at bad, stupid, or tragic behavior in general and laughing at a specific human involved in bad, stupid, or tragic behavior, belittling him or her for the behavior, and potentially offending him or her with the ridicule OR punishing with condescending laughing.
Can ridicule really be minimally immoral? Yes, it is a little bit immoral if it is a brutal verbal assault on the dignity or reputation of someone. Yes, ridicule is often merely a form of enjoyable banter without malicious intent between close friends who don’t get offended by the jovial ridicule. Even insults, name calling, put downs or belittlement, and humiliation are tolerated with the proper tone of voice among close friends. This is slightly tragic but unfortunately a fact of real life these days.
Yes, there is a difference between angry or hateful ridicule and seemingly innocent ridicule done in a mild tone of voice and done for minimally bad, stupid, or tragic behavior.
You can also ridicule someone without a probable cause or reason so this and other verbal assaults can also often be considered mean behavior. The meanness can sometimes just be attributed to a mean personality. He or she is mean just because they enjoy being mean or are habitually mean without an underlying reason or probable cause!
Humiliation is often used to make someone feel guilty about some bad, wrong, or inappropriate behavior. Humiliation done in a gentle tone of voice, in private, and for minor bad or wrong behavior is not as serious a moral transgression as is humiliation done in an angry tone of voice and in public where your reputation can be severely affected and thus the humiliation is much more than just slightly immoral.
Some may argue that my approach to verbal assaults is a form of moral relativism which is determined by tone of voice, type of bad behavior, closeness of the relationship, private or public verbal assault, and type of personality. Yes, to some extent I am a moral relativist in the sense that I believe that there are degrees of immorality from very minimal degrees to severe degrees of immorality.
Most can tolerate minimal degrees of immorality because that is just how real life is currently lived but very few of us will tolerate for long severe degrees of immorality with willful malicious verbal assaults which can potentially ruin our reputation publically for example or adversely affect our mental health with great emotional trauma which can lead to depression, desperation, and other dysfunctions which are socially undesirable.
Moral relativists often argue that the end justifies the means and that if a severe verbal assault ends bad behavior then it is justified. I believe that all verbal assaults are immoral but vary in degree of immoral severity. I don’t believe that verbal assaults really end some bad behavior but mere postpone the bad behavior for another time and place in many instances.
I have shown that verbal assaults have degrees of immorality and breaking many laws also can be considered to be degrees of immorality in many instances. For example, playing loud music after 11 PM can be considered as disturbing the peace or taking away the right of others to peaceful rest after 11 PM. Stealing or taking away the right of others to peaceful rest after 11 PM could be considered to be slightly immoral.
Yes, there are some exceptions to the law such as the 4th of July when private fireworks go off often past 12 PM but in general such a law is valid throughout most of the year and violating the law can be considered to be slightly immoral. This principle can be extended to other laws, some just and others not so just but I will leave this discussion to another article at a later date.
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