So, against my better judgment I have been engaging in a comment war with a real moron on a friend’s blog. A moron and a troll. What really pisses me off about this useless f!@# is that he is the kind of prick who likes to use big words, Latin phrases where the English would actually be more appropriate, and quote obscure philosophers to make himself sound really smart when he clearly knows nothing. You know, the kind of ass who likes to ask questions of subjectivity and postmodern philosophy that makes even intellectual people in college want to just punch repeatedly because he clearly isn’t mentally qualified to engage in the actual conversation at hand but wants to sound like he knows more than you. I know I shouldn’t have argued with him, there is nothing to be gained from arguing with idiots, because you can’t even humiliate them because sarcasm and insults are beyond their feeble little minds, ( I know this because irony, wit, and blatant petty mocking actually went right over his head…it was sad actually, made me feel like I was making fun of a retarded kid) but I had a couple of glasses of wine in me and my intellect was not at its peak (still well above the moron’s, but not at its peak).
But what really pisses me off is this idiot keeps referencing ideas and philosophers of deontological and utilitarian ethics as sources and people to challenge. And this really pisses me off.
But let me go back a step because I realize most people aren’t familiar with these philosophies (although they are far too often in practice). I myself do not read much from these philosophers because the I am familiar enough with their bullshit beliefs to not only know that they don’t meet even a prima facie case, but that when you get into the depths of these philosophies there is nothing of value to them. But let me give you the short and simple summaries of why both belief systems are beyond stupid.
Utilitarian philosophy might actually be familiar to most educated people. It’s the idea that the ends justify the means. It states that so long as you usually come out with a good end (usually for the most amount of people) then whatever you have to do to get there is justified. It’s stupid for both theoretical and pragmatic reasons. It’s stupid for theoretical reasons because it views people as merely tools to an end. Need economic growth then using people as a cheaply paid slave class is justified because it leads to growth (as China will more than testify to). Need a better class of people in your country, just kill all the inferior people (yeah, we know how well that one goes). Any and every major evil of the 20th century is justified by this belief. Because anything can be justified if you say that you’re doing it for the public, for the people, for the state, for the race. Ironically since any justification based on utilitarian principles has never resulted in anything but genocide, economic disaster, tyranny and suffering, utilitarian ethics would demand that utilitarian beliefs never be used. You cannot have any ethical beliefs without believing the basic inherent value of human life and the human soul, and that immediately throws out the basic premise of utilitarian beliefs that helping the many justifies hurting the few. If classical liberalism is correct, and human beings inherently have value by virtue of being human, then nothing can be justified by the principles of utilitarianism which demands that humans have no value in and of themselves, only in the respect that more is better than few. But that hasn’t it stopped this abhorrent belief system from being used time and time and time again.
There is probably only one evil worse than utilitarianism…and that’s the philosophy of deontological ethics. If utilitarian’s believe that the ends justify the means, then the deontological school believes the equally, if not more, evil idea that the means justify the ends.
Deontological beliefs were never really championed seriously until the advent of Immanuel Kant (please read “the most obscenely immoral person in the history of human civilization–If he had been given the power to do so he would have made Hitler, Genghis, Mao, Attila, Stalin, and Pol Pot put together look like choir boys.”). I do not believe in the Devil or the existence of absolute evil…but the existence of Kant makes me constantly question that belief. If there were ever books that deserved to be burned, they would have the name Immanuel Kant on them (not that I advocate book burning, but Kant comes damn close). As you can guess, I hate Kant…and the fucking excuses for human beings who follow him. Why do I hate him so much, well first because his entire philosophy is based on the idea that the purpose of human life is not to be happy but rather to fulfill our duty. I’ll come back to this in a minute, but for now just accept the fact that it allows a justification for causing human misery. Second because his rule, while a favorite of academics and the root for all post-modernist’s bullshit, is not only immoral but blatantly illogical and preposterous…but since he put it in such impossible to understand terms idiots who like to think themselves smart glorified it because the rule of a moron is
“if I can’t understand it, it must be smart.” Here is Kant’s entire basis for ethics and the grounding for all of his philosophy that followed:
“Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction.”—Immanuel Kant, The Groundings for the Metaphysics of Morals
In human terms that means do something only if you want everyone to do that thing at every opportunity. Don’t lie unless you want every person to tell a lie at every single time they speak and/or write. The classic example for this is you’re living in 1930’s Germany, an S.S. officer comes knocking and asks if you have Jews hidden in your basement, which you do. Do you lie? According to Kant you are an evil human being if you lie. You must tell the S.S. officer that you are hiding Jews and condemn them and yourself to death. According to Kant that is the only way to be an ethical human being. (One wonders how this sick little excuse for a human ever survived to be able to write such filth…oh wait he wrote in Prussia, a country not historically known for its morals.) For me, there is only one ethical way to not lie to the S.S. officer, and that is to get him to come inside the house long enough to shove a knife into the base of his neck. Again Kant would say that killing a Nazi is morally wrong. Human beings on the other hand view the cold blooded murder of any Nazi not so much as wrong, but more under the category of “DUH.” But ignoring the obvious Evil (yes the capital E is intentional) of this so-called ethical idea, is how it’s actually quite useless. What if, when the S.S. officer is standing there, I don’t ask “Should I lie?” but instead ask “Should I support tyranny?” “Should I betray the innocent?” “Should I follow the law?” “Should I follow an unjust law?” It’s useless as a rule (and further utterly pointless as the basis of a philosophy) if it yields different answers depending on how I formulate the question. If something is a rule it should tell me what to do in a given circumstance, the categorical imperative can’t do that because most actions involve multiple levels of action (lying, helping tyranny, following the law, and protecting the innocent). Still, given the fact that those who would believe in the categorical imperative can’t even see this obvious problem I can’t expect them to formulate the right question. But the worst is, like utilitarianism, it denies the value of human life. This is only concerned with the actions, not with how those actions affect something of value. Every person can be sacrificed if the categorical imperative says that to do otherwise would be wrong. There is no question of justice, of value, or right…only of duty to a poorly formulated idea from an immoral autistic soulless Prussian.
You see the problem is that most of ethical philosophy was settled back around 400 B.C.E. in Athens. Plato and Aristotle pretty much came up with the core basis for all ethics back then and realized quite correctly that happiness was the end and goal of human existence. Christ added a little humanity to the cold rationalism, and Aquinas made sure those two branches worked together. Yes there were still a lot of political and economic philosophical questions to be answered, but for the most part ethics was a complete philosophy with only the minutia to be debated and obvious errors to be corrected–for instance if Aristotle had just applied his own logic to his culture’s racism and misogynism he would have seen them to be wrong, but it’s unfair to blame a man who was centuries ahead of everyone else in a myriad of ways for not being ahead of his time in every way. After all what beliefs do you hold now that 2,000 years from now you’ll be laughed at for believing? (Hint if you believe in Kant, you should be laughed at right now). However, rather than take this rather well versed theories you had what the Renaissance laughably referred to as philosophy (starting with Descartes) had the idea that instead of refining the existing philosophy they should completely ignore all the previous learning and start from scratch. Now this can be helpful strategy to test existing beliefs and come at something from a new angle, but only when you compare what you come up with against the old ideas and see which one is more convincing (which modern philosophy has never done, because if it had it would have abandoned so much of the tripe that has been stated in the last five hundred years). And rather than building on ideas based on reason and truth modern philosophy first centered around the false dichotomy of empiricism vs. rationalism, then went to the insanity of Kant, and to call anything after that philosophy is an insult to the word. Useless academics spent the last five hundred years more worried about saying something new than saying something true. Part of this is because nothing in modern philosophy (with the exception of Locke, but he more or less drew the idea from Aquinas) has given any credence to the value and worth of the human soul.
And this is probably why even deists and believers who doubted the divinity of Christ (i.e. Jefferson, Adam, and Franklin) who did not subscribe to any particular denomination of belief, along with the rest of the Founding Fathers, believed that America (or any nation) could not survive unless it has some kind of spiritual belief. (“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”—John Adams). Without a belief in God and the soul, there is no value to humanity and thus nothing to stop institutionalized misery and evil. Atheists will try to say that statement is wrong (but I dare you to find any kind of atheistic regime in the whole of history that has not quickly degenerated into madness and destruction. Religious civilizations are 50/50 for being evil. Atheists have a 100% evil track record. Hmm tough call.)
I bring this last point up only as a tangential explanation of both utilitarianism and deontology are grievously wrong. However because I dismiss these so-called philosophers because they’re based on such a preposterous idea, one certainly would assume I’m some kind of philistine as if I don’t understand the genius of these philosophies. I reject them because I do understand their idiocy and evil.
And why else are they completely wrong (and arguably rather interchangeable since they’re both 100% wrong) is because they only focus on half the picture. One looks at means the other ends. Both are an incomplete picture. One must look at both to act ethically and rationally. Some means are wrong, like lying. But lying to save an innocent isn’t wrong. Murder is wrong, but it’s the height of ethics to murder a tyrant—its fact, it’s actually a moral imperative if you don’t have the ability to imprison them. (As I know that I occasionally have readers in Iran get to this blog…take a hint.) On the flip side sacrificing the rights of the innocent is never justified no matter how good the end you intend. However it would be foolish to say that those rights can never be violated, as sometimes the alternative is far worse even for the innocent (which is why the necessary evil of limited government is ethical. Very limited). Now this can only be achieved in Classically Liberal Democratic Republics that rely almost exclusively on capitalism (liberals out there capitalism requires laws and government, it’s not anarchy, but it doesn’t require a lot either).
Now, as it is pointed out in my favorite book, Republicans and Reincarnation, the best you’re going to get in the highly dependent on circumstances and surrounds for a calculus of ethics is the following five questions:
1. Is the action leading to a positive, neutral, or negative end?
2. Is the action unethical or ethical?
3. Is the benefit this action provides removing a material or spiritual obstacle, or both?
4. Is this a long-term benefit or short-term benefit?
5. Is the action benefiting a large number of people or a small number?
(Notice that this is the other reason you have to believe in the soul to be ethical, because if there is a soul then there is a difference between what is good in the material sense and what is good in the spiritual sense. To not make this distinction will always lead to unethical and unproductive behavior.) And the basic way to interpret the these five questions is (again from the book, there was a 3 page justification for these conclusions, but I fear I’m boring you already as this is a blog not a book):
No negative ends, even if it means unethical means. (Such as war to end tyranny)
No negative spiritual ends, even if it means negative material ends. (Quitting your job rather than violating your principles)
Unethical means only to prevent a negative end.
Long-term goals over short term. (The needs of the minority must never be sacrificed for the wants of the majority.)
The needs of the minority must never be sacrificed for the wants of the majority.
You’ll notice how both the foolish ideals of utilitarianism and deontology violate almost every one of those points, which is why they are wrong, which is why they must be opposed, which is why I dismiss the fools who originally formulated them and why I have no respect for the idiots who continue to follow them.
There, now I have something in writing that I can send to people every time they make such ridiculous arguments. If you also run into such an idiot send them this way. They probably won’t learn, but you can now mock them for their further lack of understanding.