03 October 2019

Morals are post-facto rationalizations

Thing is, the ones you got taught as a wee small child were probably rationalizations for something four generations back.

It makes it hard to think effectively.  There's a nigh-overwhelming desire to get everything into a moral frame, and aside from the difficulty of thinking effectively, this makes a couple-three things difficult.

It cripples people up with an expectation of being good; to be moral is to be good, after all.  Only good is always contextual and if you're honest you'll notice you don't know if you're good or not and then you run into the axiomatic expectation of childhood that you will be good and then you're way off somewhere in "the best lack all conviction".

People are social; people are almost eusocial, and we'll pack-bond with anything.  Only there's a numeric upper limit under a thousand somewhere.  (Probably way under; couple hundred.)  The desire to have congruent feels is antithetical to the rule of law and good public policy, because those specifically abjure congruent feels in favour of quantified measures.  There's a thought experiment; talk about your political goes in dispassionate language.  No "want", no feels language -- absolutely no references to love! -- just material results.  Explain why the material result is desirable in purely material terms.  This feels really wrong; it's amoral, it's inhuman, there's a lot of disparaging words for this one.  It's also what's required for effective public policy, because we shouldn't care about how we feel about it, we should care about what it materially accomplishes.

There's no moral way to resolve a moral impasse.  Historical efforts resulted in rivers of blood; the minimum for an effective, permanent resolution of moral disputes is something like the Albigensian Crusade.  If you want to have a functioning society, you have to notice that you need dispute resolution mechanisms that don't involve the river of blood; people have to be willing to lose sometimes.  This is where the social machinery for identifying facts comes from; you can agree on the material world, if you not your moral responses thereto.  ("Tolerance" isn't a stable approach; though it's looking like facts aren't doing all that well, either, great material benefits notwithstanding.)

1 comment:

dilbert dogbert said...

As the father of an autistic child, I have some feelings about what it is to be fully human. One concept that runs through my head is that none of us received prior, to birth, a notice of what our life would be like. We did not sign on to being handicapped.
We had no say in who our parents would be. What our position in the social pecking order would be. No say in what gender. We had no list of personal characteristics to choose from. We pop into life and have to deal with what we were given.
This makes me critical of those who won the lottery of good endowments and a lot of sympathy for those like my son who lost.