Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why we are fucked

Katharine Birbalsingh has been doing the media rounds recently...
Next, I’m being interviewed by a Russian journalist who is fascinated by these riots. I explain that I believe our culture of moral relativism is to blame, that no one believes in right and wrong anymore, that everything is subjective, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, that we don’t believe in an objective morality. She frowns.

“So you believe in God, then?”

I shake my head. “No. But I do believe in an objective morality.”

She nods. “Ah. So you believe in the state then?”

Because, obviously, the only way that you can derive an objective morality is to rely on the church or the state: there are absolutely no other philosophies out there, are there?

For fuck's sake.

14 comments:

johnnorman said...

So, other than "the family" as a third possibility, which I guess you would also splutter about, on what do we base objective morality? What do you base yours on?

Devil's Kitchen said...

"What do you base yours on?"

The Non-Aggression Principle.

(But no, actually, I don't have a problem with "family".)

DK

AndrewWS said...

The Soviet mentality lingers on ...

bensix said...

This is a place that's so corrupt that many of its citizens are nostalgic for communism. Which is a bit like if Tina Turner had remarried and despised her new husband so much she started to pine for Ike.

Chalcedon said...

Whatever you might think of The Church (notably the Roman Catholic Church) it does not bend in the wind when it come to morality. It is pretty hot on right and wrong. and sin of course. You may not agree with this but does not subscribe to moral relativism.

Tony Lorusso said...

"Because, obviously, the only way that you can derive an objective morality is to rely on the church or the state: there are absolutely no other philosophies out there, are there?

For fuck's sake. "

I'm guessing from your followup comment the question is rhetorical. These people can't be arsed to find out. Primarily because the two institutions who run the most schools between them these days (church and state), don't ever want the kiddies to find out how ridiculous they are, so they are't taught to think critically. Or even to be mildly curious about other ideas.

For the curious here's one philosopher's proof for a non-state non-religious objective morality, very similar to the non aggression principle DK referenced.

http://www.freedomainradio.com/FreeBooks.aspx#upb

Tony Lorusso said...

Chalcedon.

The Catholic Church has no problem with God's Egyptian mass infanticide but says abortion is murder.

Sounds like moral relativism to me.

Nightwatchstate said...

There is no morality and everyone should do what they want to.

Anonymous said...

There is no morality and everyone should do what they want to.

I think you mean: there is morality but it is different for everyone.

Beavis said...

"There is no morality and everyone should do what they want to."

An interesting declaration. But one that depends, ironically, on the existence of morality (and the rule of law). After all, it's easy to make such statements when you live a safe, peaceful life in a safe, peaceful environment, shielded from harm and harsh reality by the very thing you denigrate. You could call it 'ivory tower syndrome'.

Sadly, being a baseless, phoney, I-didn't-actually-expect-to-get-called-on-this-myself 'belief', it disappears like smoke in a tornado the minute reality puts it to the test.

Or maybe I'm wrong and you would be perfectly fine if I keyed your car. Or if a local teenager shot your cat dead with a crossbow. Or if a random passer-by kneed you in the groin on a whim.

Roger Thornhill said...

The problem with using words like "morality" is that it tends to involve collective coercion on others when those others are doing no harm to third parties.

Rule of Law, ethics, yes. Morality? meh.

Tony Lorusso said...

The problem with using words like "Rule Of Law" is that it tends to involve collective coercion on others when those others are doing no harm to third parties.

What umbrella term you use to describe actions is not relevant, the real question is:

Are you thinking for yourself about what is right/moral/ethical and wrong/immoral/unethical?

The "Rule of Law" or indeed any moral/ethical rulebook, formal or informal, is about obedience to others. And it is under that way of thinking that the evil people do their worst work.

The worst serial killer in the world cannot hold a candle to what the Hitlers, Cult leaders and Religious Leaders of this world have been allowed to do, and persuaded others to do evil on a mass scale, by people who let other people think for them, and blindly follow "the rules".

Imagine 6+ billion people making their own damned mind up about things. Now try to imagine any one person or group, persuading a sufficiently large number of such people to tip the power balance to enact the regional, national and international horrors of yesteryear and of tomorrow - and get away with it.

Will there still be evil people, who will think for themselves wouldn't it be "great" if I robbed/murdered/raped? Sure. But their evil will be limited (compared to the immoral collectivism of today) in a sea of people thinking for themselves ...

Beavis said...

Discussing semantics and theoretical states where no codified rules exist is all well and good, but it's an academic exercise that belongs in an ivory tower.

I agree that it would be better if everyone thought for themselves and did no harm as a result of their own reasoning, rather than because some Authority Said So. But we are where we are, in a real and physical world, where some people are intent on doing harm to others. The 'others' to whom these people seek to do harm to should be protected, hence the need for laws and cops and Thou Shalt Not Kill. It's a last line of defence.

That institutions such as government and the judiciary can become corrupt is a separate issue and one that doesn't negate the above principle.

Maybe we'll get from point A to point B at some point. If we do, it will be as the result of a natural, slow process. Societal evolution, I imagine this is called. But we can't speed the process up by suddenly and prematurely declaring all laws null and void and telling the cops not to bother.

Tony Lorusso said...

Beavis.

Good and Evil is Semantics? Academic? Ivory Tower?

We are truly fucked.

The massive scale of the evil committed by Governments, especially compared to the rest of society is very real and are outside the ivory towers of government.

Cops stop hardly any evil from happening, and inflict evil. Start thinking of the Government like they are the Mafia. It's a racket, not justice or defense, and that's before we get to immoral rules.

Slow progress? We're not even headed in the right direction right now and haven't for at least a century, and the small minority of us that are even looking in the right direction are, apparently, semantic ivory tower academics.