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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ethics vs. Morality

I'm always working on this dichotomy, which is meaningless in most philosophical systems but very important in mine. I was told recently (see previous posts) that Christianity and naturalistic ethics cannot coexist peacefully.

The logical conclusion is that Christians will be persecuted or persecutors until the end of time. The pacifists would stay in the first category, which is preferable according to Seneca.

My opinion is

1) A peaceful society needs an agreed-upon standard of ethics.

2) Personal morality must be stricter than public ethics.

The reason for this second is that a looser morality means that you are being persecuted. Logically, then, public ethics should be as loose and inclusive as possible to avoid rebellion. Even if some Christian sect overthrows the Libertarian regime in the name of morality, and imposes their strict behavioral codes on the rest of the population, there will be unrest until the other factions are dead or converted.

Having a legal system where almost anything goes won't result in a perfect world, but it still allows the individual to conform to a stricter code and to proselytize that code. The greater the acceptance of a strict standard of behavior, the less necessary laws become.

Logically, then, Christians (or any other group that wants everyone to obey certain moral principles) should seek spiritual power by conversion, not temporal power by conquest. This is the old principle of ideological might; when a regime loses ideological power, it falls. Democracy is a way to ensure that the government always follows ideological power, thus reducing the chance of revolution.

A regime, whether democratic or not, gains ideological power by being more lenient and allowing all groups to enjoy the status quo. If we use the U.S. as an example, it worked fairly well in preventing the religious warfare that plagued Europe. Over time, the structure of goverment was an unstable system for whatever reason and has become encrusted with more and more laws. Generally, the relaxation of standards has increased support of the government and the tightening of standards has reduced support.

Example 1: Gay people enjoy getting married more than it irritates everyone else. Legalizing it reduces protests, stupid parades, and the tendency of the queer community to dress and act like freaks. It also recognizes homosexuality as ethically acceptable, which is bad according to many moralists.

The solution is not to ban gay marriage. That would just create unrest without diminishing the amount of sodomy that takes place. The solution is to strengthen the Church, guilt Gays into being celibate or marrying Lesbians, and then reduce the dysfunction of the next generation by providing appropriate gender role models. Alternatively, you can pretend homosexuals don't exist by cancelling your cable TV subscription.

Example 2: Everything else. Smokers are mad, people that hate seatbelts are mad, parents with unruly children are at risk of going to prison for hitting them. The level of discontent in this country is pretty high, and it would be higher if we weren't rich, fat and happy in the material realm.

Anyway, you may prefer a more regulated country, but no matter how authoritarian it is, you'll still be in trouble if it is stricter than your own personal morality. You'll inevitably break the law. Of course, being arrested is a result of making enemies or acting strangely in the presence of the police, not breaking the law, but habitual law-breaking will still put you at risk.


Blogger Duke of Earl said...

I feel similarly.

1:37 AM  

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