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Author Topic: Thoughts on Ethics and Morality  (Read 2792 times)
State-God
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« on: January 04, 2013, 06:29:07 PM »

So I've been doing a lot of thinking about what the basis of my political ideology should be. I know that most libertarians base themselves in natural rights-style morality, but it's beginning to sound more and more like bullshit to me.

Morality and Ethics in general sound more and more like bullshit. They remind me, in fact, a lot of religion. The basis of most (if not all) moral or ethical systems seems to be:

1. The morals/ethics are objective and absolute.

2. All other systems are wrong or don't have the complete answer.

3. There is little (if any) leeway out of the morality.

I find this ridiculous for the same reason I find statism ridiculous- moral and ethical systems like this are designed for a nirvana where people and their lives are uniform and simplistic, and don't allow for fluctuation for the realities of a massive, complex civilization.

I've been thinking, increasingly, that utilitarianism should be my base. To be clear, I'm defining utilitarianism as a system that calls for anything that brings the most benefit to the most people over the longest period (I added that last part to the standard phrase because just having the first part might lead one to conclude that nationalizing all property might be a good idea, for example).

Thus, I still believe in private property, self ownership and the abolition of aggression, but not on absolute moral grounds of "It's wrong!", but on the grounds that society as whole will be worse off if this was not the case.

Thoughts?

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Seth King
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 06:37:58 PM »

My world view is that it's all about me. Everything I do should be to make the world a better place for me.

Now some might misinterpret that as meaning that I would work to squash others in order for myself to gain. But that would be seeing the world as a zero sum game, which it's clearly not.

Rising tides lift all ships. The better I can make the world, the better the world is for me to live in.
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MAM
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2013, 10:34:28 PM »

Morality is bullshit if you define it as being objectively observable like magnetism. In any ethical or moral system assumptions are made.
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r3VOLutionRefugee
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2013, 12:02:51 PM »

Are you familiar with the Universally Preferable Behavior model?  It seems pretty consistent, and easily covers the big 4: murder, rape, theft and assault.
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ff42
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2013, 08:53:17 PM »

A phrase I've heard that I'm trying to wrap my head around and possibly incorporate is "There is no right or wrong, only consequences" (and I do like UPB).

A problem I have with utilitarianism is how to objectively define "brings the most benefit".     

Additionally  utilitarianism could result in crazy laws:   For sake of discussion let's assume 1) people 'waste' (i.e., not most benefit) 1/3 of the life/resources and 2) and strict enforcement of "Don't waste" costs everyone 15% of their life/resources.   This results in 18% of wasted benefit.  According to utilitarianism (the most people) the world population ought to then increase by 18% (so the benefits aren't wasted) and everyone should be forced to 'not waste'.  This logically results in the most benefit to the most people over the longest period.  Yes, I know that 'wasted resources' can also not be objectively defined, that's the irony.

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bsg1206
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2013, 10:50:16 PM »

Ethics and morals are fine when you are trying to figure your own beliefs out, but in my experience they are completely unconvincing to the average person. Any anti-state message needs to be packaged in a "how it affects you" form in order to be palatable to the masses.
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State-God
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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2013, 11:22:18 PM »

A phrase I've heard that I'm trying to wrap my head around and possibly incorporate is "There is no right or wrong, only consequences" (and I do like UPB).

A problem I have with utilitarianism is how to objectively define "brings the most benefit".     

Additionally  utilitarianism could result in crazy laws:   For sake of discussion let's assume 1) people 'waste' (i.e., not most benefit) 1/3 of the life/resources and 2) and strict enforcement of "Don't waste" costs everyone 15% of their life/resources.   This results in 18% of wasted benefit.  According to utilitarianism (the most people) the world population ought to then increase by 18% (so the benefits aren't wasted) and everyone should be forced to 'not waste'.  This logically results in the most benefit to the most people over the longest period.  Yes, I know that 'wasted resources' can also not be objectively defined, that's the irony.


That's the main reason I decided to post my thoughts on here, since I was a bit antsy with the idea as traditionally speaking utilitarianism has been the home of the socialists and statists.

@bsg That's the main reason I've been thinking about it a bit. The thing is, I think that utilitarianism is the underlying presumption of most politically-minded people. I've been thinking, increasingly, that you can't win an argument with somewhat armchair arguments (how it sounds to me, not meaning to insult people) like "Because it's a natural right!"

I think that the basis of winning an argument is showing that, with the presumptive goal between the two debators most likely being utilitarianism, your system or idea promotes the most utility for the most people.

In short, the reason I'm going for utilitarianism is because I think it's the simplest system and arguments revolving around it CAN be packaged for the average joe-schmoe.


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BobRobertson
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 09:07:50 AM »

I've found for myself that the Non-Aggression Axiom works quite well.

The usual objection is to bring up some lifeboat scenario specifically designed to utilize coercion in order to "save lives" or such, but like all fabricated scenarios it's only as good as the assumptions made in the fabrication: "Assume a trolly car."

I wrote up a short thing on this myself, if anyone is interested.

http://anarchic-order.blogspot.com/2012/05/morality-and-ethical-behavior.html
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