Further Reflections On “What Do We Do With Jeffrey Previte?’

The reason I posted the Ethics Quiz about the consulting company CEO caught on a security camera beating a small dog is that I genuinely do not know what society is supposed to do with people like that. The conduct is sick and evil, and as I noted in the post, Previte’s comments showed that he neither regretted his actions nor understood what people were upset about. The poll was included to get a sense of the assembled, and it has been one-sided:

It is the esteemed veteran ethics warrior Michael West who focused on the question from a practical viewpoint, and, after all, this is a practical ethics blog. In a series of comments he wrote,

I voted for the apology route because there’s no choice between apology and appropriate punishment that incorporates aspects of both. His conduct is gross and indicative of his character, but our society is getting to a point where we don’t allow for any rehabilitation ever. And that’s not a good development.

I had posited to another commenter a public official caught on camera terrorizing his family to counter the argument that it was unfair for this conduct to be made public, and Michael countered,

I think psychologically terrorizing family combined with being a public official changes the scope of invested parties and certainly justifies a larger body of people interested in knowing about the behavior. In this case, while not absolving him of being scrutinized and shunned by an appropriate section of society, “it’s just a dog” does guide the level of this man’s infamy as compared to your hypothetical. But yes, once the video is out the video is out. But, if, after appropriate demonstrations of genuine remorse, repentance and change of character and appropriate consequences are leveled against this man and…such as reduction to mere data entry job…I don’t think I would “take my business elsewhere” if I discovered he happened to be the man entering the data I need entered.

I mean at some point the “shunned by society” is clearly disproportionate…should grocery stores refuse his ability to buy food?

I disagree regarding the public official terrorizing his family. Not because Michael isn’t correct that abusing humans is a greater offense than abusing animals, but because both represent a level of debased character that society cannot forgive or tolerate. Ultimately, that’s a #22 argument (From the rationalizations list: “There are worse things”) because abusing a dog is bad enough to trigger absolute forfeiture of trust. Both the human abuser and the animal abuser’s ethics alarms are sufficiently absent that neither is an acceptable partner, employee, neighbor, friend…or elected official.

If I’m hiring a hit man, maybe..

I ended that exchange by pointing out that I don’t have to trust someone to sell them food, and reiterating the position that an individual with such damaged ethics alarms is not sufficiently trustworthy to be accepted into a neighborhood. I also wrote that I don’t believe that Michael’s “demonstrations of genuine remorse, repentance and change of character“scenario is realistic, though we like to say so and think so.

Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick went to prison for running a dog-fighting ring, and was allowed back into football after professing remorse, giving money to animal rescue operations, and ostentatiously showing that he now “got it.” Well, he had millions of dollars as potential income to motivate that pose, and it worked, but I see no reason to believe he was sincere. Nope: watch films of abused pit bulls used in dog-fighting, and tell me that you would believe someone who could do that to animals—for entertainment!— could suddenly discover compassion and caring. We want to believe in contrition and repentance, and confirmation bias makes us see it where it isn’t most of the time. Trust, meanwhile, is not a matter of playing the odds. If I trust you, it’s because I regard the chances of your violating my trust as close to zero. 25% isn’t good enough.

Michael responded this time,

And if the “never” in “And there can never be genuine remorse ”  is true, then he should be locked away for life…or maybe executed. Likely a better solution than a de facto exile in one’s own community….

So he can’t live anywhere.

So incarceration for life it is then.

Which brings us back to the original question. I won’t hold Michael to the incarceration and execution statements, which are examples of the straw man and false dichotomy logical fallacies he employs to emphasize the problem, which is “Now what?” If a Jeffrey Previte is as irredeemable as I think he is (and a majority of the readers here seem to think he is), what is the most ethical way for society to deal with him?

Here are six  questions and associated polls, not to decide the issue, for ethics is not based  on majorities, but to further refine the problem.

  • Do you believe shunning is a legitimate tool of social control and the establishment of community standards?
  • Would you be comfortable with a sister or daughter announcing that she wanted to marry Previte after he announced that he was remorseful and had donated large amounts to Animal Rescue organizations?
  • If Previte moved next door, would you welcome him like any other new neighbor?
  • If you were aware that a friend or relative was involved with Previte as an employee, partner, neighbor or friend and was not aware of the video, would you feel obligated to inform them?
  • Would you avoid a business that employed Jeffrey Previte?
  • Do you think someone can treat a dog as Previte does in the video  (here) can otherwise be a good, kind, trustworthy neighbor, member of the community, citizen and human being?


9 thoughts on “Further Reflections On “What Do We Do With Jeffrey Previte?’

  1. …would you feel obligated to inform them?

    That wouldn’t be the first question to come up. I would check first (anywhere other than social media) for solid information on any follow-up, particularly legal and especially if there were some pertinent personal information available, such as whether he had been known to abuse animals previously or had a history of assault. If either of the latter were true, I would probably talk to relative or friend. I would be further concerned if there were elderly or frail people or small children liable to come into contact with him in private situations not only because of the possibility of child but also for the problem of a child “modeling” the action of an adult. I’m not a “better safe than sorry” person; I’d need something more than the video, bad as it was. I might, however, let him know that I had seen the video, done the research and left a letter with a psychiatrist friend of mine. After all, the other endangered category of people who fall prey to animal abusers are the elderly.

    There’s a lot of evidence that:

    Acts of animal abuse that continue without intervention often escalate to more severe violence against humans…. ~Arluke A, Levin J, Luke C, et al. The relationship of animal abuse to violence and other forms of antisocial behavior. Journal if Interpersonal Violence. 1999;14(9):963‒975.

    Children who witness animal cruelty are 3-8 times more likely to abuse animals.” ~Kaufman KL, Hilliker DR, Daleiden EL. Subgroup differences in the modus operandi of adolescent sexual offenders. Child Maltreatment. 1996;1:17–24.

    [T]he link between animal cruelty, intimate partner violence, and child abuse suggests that everyone in the offender’s lives is potentially at risk for being abused or assaulted as well. ~Petersen ML, Farrington DP. Cruelty to animals and violence to people. Victims & Offenders. 2007;2(1):21‒43.

  2. Are we wanting change? Is shunning for the purpose of shaming? Shame does not work well for changing, maybe redirecting but not healthy change.

    Most of my answers to the questions above lean toward the avoid interaction or involvement for depersonalized situations. However, if he were to move next door to me, he would be my neighbor.

    Knowing his character as evidenced by how he responded to getting caught allows for my informed consent and risk for any involvement I do have with him next door.

    Being so clearly my neighbor would require me to be neighborly. And part of that is welcoming him. After all, nothing prevents me from having a sincere discussion with him about my reservations about his character…. Simply shunning him via the internet as informant is a cowards form of cancelation.

    Though, I suspect he does have an angnger management problem to watch out for, and if he moved into my neighborhood he would either be trying to hide or couldn’t afford anything else, so he might need something of a friend.

  3. The conduct is sick and evil, and as I noted in the post, Previte’s comments showed that he neither regretted his actions nor understood what people were upset about.

    This is hardly true at all. It is in no sense necessarily *sick* and it definitely is not *evil*. He had no reason to *regret* his actions because in truth the very minor punishment he gave to his dog is not something anyone should really be concerned that much about. And the fact that people are concerned, and that they show themselves so inclined to find a way to do the man some harm, that is where the sickness and the evil are.

    He showed somewhat rough treatment, sure. But definitely not one warranting any sort of punishment nor the unleashing of the Twitter mobs.

    Do you think someone can treat a dog as Previte does in the video (here) can otherwise be a good, kind, trustworthy neighbor, member of the community, citizen and human being?

    Yes, beyond any shadow of a doubt. And obviously so. To imagine otherwise is to *project* one’s own subjective emotional material into a situation. He simply treated the dog a bit roughly In a video-clip that lasted 10 seconds. Nothing more. It has no other implication (necessarily).

    Would you avoid a business that employed Jeffrey Previte?

    I would avoid a business the caved in to the Twitter mobs.

    If you were aware that a friend or relative was involved with Previte as an employee, partner, neighbor or friend and was not aware of the video, would you feel obligated to inform them?

    If I did that. I would be behaving similarly to the Twitter mob. I would be falling into a form of mass-hysteria. He only was slightly rough with the dog. There is no crime there to report. What needs to be *reported* is the psychology behind a sick nation that is losing its grip in so many different areas. The reasons why this is happening need to be examined and (better) understood.

    If Previte moved next door, would you welcome him like any other new neighbor?

    Depends. Does he espouse Dissident Right values? Is he properly *identitarian*? Is he aware of the Anti-White movement? Does he oppose it with his whole mind & heart? Does he stand up like a man for his people and for what is important? Does he watch Daughter of Albion videos on BitChute? 😉

    The reference here — unabashedly — is to a sick white American culture that is having its existence undermined and cannot develop the awareness and the consciousness to *see* what is going on. So, the question is What is proper ethical concern? To what should I direct my moral attention?

    Would you be comfortable with a sister or daughter announcing that she wanted to marry Previte after he announced that he was remorseful and had donated large amounts to Animal Rescue organizations?

    Wait, isn’t there some *eligible bachelors* here on the blog?

    If he ‘announced he was remorseful’ and if he donated any money at all to a rescue organization as a way to appease the Twitter Mobs in the American Hysterical Present, I would lose all respect and therefore not even recommend a marriage (a ménage à trois As it turns out) with an elibible bachelor and no woman of course. But this connects to my notion that men have lost their bearing as to how to act properly in a present that demands coercive surrender . . .

  4. I answered before I viewed the video. I am ashamed that I did so.

    As near as I could tell from the video he slapped the dog once and picked him up and held him by the scruff of his neck.

    Does this make him a monster? With only one image of evidence I have to say no.

    I cannot determine whether his handling that appeared very rough inflicted any pain or suffering to the dog. Animals learn by associating x with y. They do not comprehend what you mean when you say no. It is the amplitude and sharpness of the command along with any positive reinforcement that they associate with their own behavior. The video has no audio so I have no idea what he said or how he said it. Nonetheless, many animal’s behaviors are trained with mild physical coercion, or with cats, a water gun. He may have overdone the coercion part but that could be a learned act on his part instead of a character defect. How many people grew up seeing dogs smacked with a rolled up newspaper or cats being shooed with a broom?

    I routinely pick up my cats by the scruff of the neck when placing them in carriers. This area of the animal is where the loose skin permits the mother to pick them up to move them and as mature cats it prevents them from inflicting wounds on the handler from claws or teeth. I would challenge anyone to ask my neighbors about me being cruel to an animal.

    Research does show that young people with a proclivity to mistreat animals often are abusers of people later in life but aside from this one episode we are drawing conclusions that at best are pure conjecture.

    Upon reflection I would need more evidence of a pattern of continued abuse to render an opinion on the man’s character.

    I am going to also give him the benefit of the doubt regarding his initial response that the concierge was trying to extort money. He probably was and such attempts would exacerbate or reignite any residual anger. None of us have a press officer to ensure we don’t say something that will be used to confirm our bias.

    I allowed confirmation bias to immediately hang the guy without thinking.

    • Yikes. That’s a violent manner of treating a dog. Whether it was actually harmed or not is irrelevant, except perhaps to the “it’s legal” claim. I’m genuinely surprised you, or anyone, could think that his actions were ambiguous.

  5. Is it not also useful to ask:

    1) Can an individual who does this do anything to regain trust or properly demonstrate a recognition of wrongdoing and a commitment towards self-discipline?

    And I say “commitment to self-discipline” because I’ll agree a man that old, who does such a thing, probably has something inside of him either an short fuse is missing an inhibition or compassion or proportionality…which, at his age, are likely hard things to *completely* fix. It’s doable but it’s much more likely that he’d have to enter into a commitment to practice a disciple that *counteracts* whatever triggers episodes like that.

    Certainly much of what we carry into adulthood is received during childhood.

    2) After that question is asked, I wonder if we shouldn’t follow on: IF an individual like that can demonstrate an actual commitment to modifying his internal flaw that leads to that conduct, is it appropriate to cease community-level consequences such as “shunning” or is it ethical to continue “punishment” in that way?

    3) Also I think it should be asked, in addition to (and likely before) the individual engages in conduct that answers question 1, it should be asked, is there any specific act before commitment to a life-change, that the individual can engage in that at least compensates for the offensive act?

  6. I might be thinking a little like Michael West here. I think shunning without any opportunity for redemption, ever, is simply cruelty. That conviction coexists with my conviction that there are times when a literal death penalty is justified. Ironic? I don’t know. Hypocritical? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

    I don’t know what to call it, about “utilitarian shunning.” I am not even sure about that expression in quotes – whether it captures what I think of shunning.

    The term that keeps coming to me – and this is not to mock anything about ethical analysis – is “The Jesus Incompleteness Principle.” I can’t believe that Jesus would prescribe “comprehensive and lifelong societal arrest” (akin to “house arrest,” but allowing the shun-ee to roam “free,” while all other persons would be expected to shun for all time), without some opening, some opportunity, for the shun-ee to qualify himself for consideration by others as “healed,” repaired, reconciled, or “restored” sufficiently to once again be included in the society at large.

    I do not believe the dog-abuser committed a crime deserving of life-long lock-up or unqualified distrust. He did do something to deserve not being trusted, and to deserve the larger society’s expectation of long-term distrust, pending sufficient trust-restoring actions. But written-off, dismissed, “de-platformed” for life? No.

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