Good by nature? Bad by nature?

It seems to me that Americans, and maybe other people, are divided on a fundamental question.

Are people good until corrupted by society? Or does society tame our immoral (or amoral) natures?

Here’s an example of what I mean:

Some people say that racism is learned. It’s society and her institutions that teaches people to discriminate against people who look different.

Other people say that racism is innate: people fear people who look different, but society teaches us not to be racists. (Imperfectly, of course.)

So: where are you on this question?

How does your viewpoint affect your actions?

Is one outlook inherently immoral?

26 Sep 2002

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