I thought opposable thumbs and the ability to turn a profit was the only thing that distinguished us from the animals.
But isn't peer pressure basically what advertising is? At the heart of every ad is the command "you need to buy this, it's awesome." There is no caveat at the end of the ad that says "unless you can't afford it, in which case it's not all that awesome."
No, it's not the same, although I do see your point and the pressure is there indeed. Nike is a status symbol in many countries, for instance. So, buy Nike - or you are a nobody. It *could* become peer pressure, but, realisticly, it's not. Nobody is looked down upon because they are not wearing Nikes, although the opposite can be true if they are wearing them (a common thing in China, apparently).
But this is different. I meant the type of negative peer pressure, where people frown on you for doing something (probably a bit how smoking is now regarded in the US, while before it was a symbol of status and independence). Everybody longs to be accepted, and most people will go out of their way to make sure this happens. Frown on someone for being a pirate as a society, and he will either stop doing it or will hide that side of him as best as he can and become a 'closet pirate', hehe. Right now that is not happening, it's still 'cool' (at least among kid friends) to be a pirate and an hAXoR and get all the software they need for free.
Just because a person's emotions have been dulled to something that shocked before, doesn't mean that person is incapable of still experiencing positive emotions, like joy, love, empathy, and compassion. Trauma room doctors are exposed to blood and gore every day, and yes, they develop a callousness about it, but that doesn't make them violent monsters.
Again, not what I meant, sorry. Using your doctor's example, what I am saying is that while the sight of a person bleeding to death would probably shock a normal person, a doctor won't be half impressed. In this case it's a good thing, as it allows him to think clearly and rationally while he saves that person's life.
But now think of it this way, broadning a bit the scope of this discussion: in the name of security, you start putting cameras in every street corner. At first people are a bit shocked about the intrusion of privacy that this implies, but they are told "hey, it's for the common good, it will make us all safer". So they accept it and, eventually, it becomes "normal" and people even end up seeing it as a good thing, not realizing the danger. Then one day what was there for our "protection" becomes a tool for "control" at the flick of a switch. Have you noticed how close we are, with CCTV cameras everywhere, to George Orwell's vision in "1984"?
I'm obviously giving an extreme example, but just so you understand how insidious the process is. You are presented with what apparently is a "good thing", and, little by little, you adjust to it until you think nothing of it anymore. You don't just wake up one day and find out cameras are everywhere - nah, the whole process is very slow. And then one day we do wake up to the harsh reality and we ask ourselves "hey, how did we get here"?
We got there because we allowed it to happen, and didn't stop to think about all the possible ramifications and consequences while we still could.
Same thing with "liberalism". What apparently is a good thing, by going unchecked it might well end up destroying our basic moral values and ability to distinguish right from wrong. It's easier than you think.
I, myself, am a very liberal person, but I don't think everyone should be a liberal person. It takes a certain amount of experience, maturity, and a grasp of a person's own self (knowing who you really are inside) to balance liberal idealism with real life practice.
Which is my point exactly. Most people want freedom, for instance, but not the responsability that it implies. You have to be a mature person to understand that. Problem exists when they are allowed to get one without the other, which is what is currently happening.