Sunday, January 24, 2016

Contrasting Reactions to Grand Moral Projects

Most of my reactions to philosophical treatises on grand moral projects come in two flavors.

Flavor 1: Religious

Person A: I think on the whole it's moral to do X, and we should all strive to make sure X obtains through ways A, B and C. I believe this owing to either God or philosophy which ultimately indicates a theistic world or a world of intrinsic purposes with lasting consequences.

Me: Interesting. Tell me why you think that. What premises, what revelation, are in play here? I will try to evaluate how much credence I put in all of these, where I agree and disagree, and we can continue accordingly.


Flavor 2: Irreligious

Person B: I think on the whole it's moral to do X, and we should all strive to make sure X obtains through ways A, B and C. I reject the existence of God and think the entire universe is a purposeless machine, but if we assume certain ethical stances we...

Me: Do you have a gun?

Person B: Well, no.

Me: Are there a lot of people who believe you who have guns and a willingness to use them?

Person B: No..?

Me: Great. We're done.

Person B: But, utilitarian ethics according to Singer would indicate...

Me: Don't care. I'll do as I please. Fuck off.

2 comments:

Jakeithus said...

Whether they admit it or not, I think the point you are getting at is a prime reason why so many atheists are political leftists/progressives. The political power and the guns provided by a large leftist state is the only way to make people like you agree with their morality, so it's only natural that they will be drawn to this promise of power.

Compelling others to do what you want is the core of progressivism. It's why their go to solution is always to use the one true means of force in our society. A leftist seeks political power to force a change on society. A conservative should seek political power to ensure individuals, groups and families have the ability to enact change through the non-forceful means available to them.

Crude said...

Whether they admit it or not, I think the point you are getting at is a prime reason why so many atheists are political leftists/progressives.

I tend to blame a mix of stupidity and an inability to segregate emotion from reason, at least at the popular end of things. But on the high end, pretty much. That and the progressive utterly hates the idea of someone out there having means of self-defense that they don't control.

That said, I think there's a distinction between progressive leaders and followers. The followers tend not to think very much - even the ones who don't shut up, who constantly argue, generally don't think things through. All it takes is one of their emotional touchstones to spin to a whole new direction and, so long as the group seems to be moving the same way, they'll do so too.