A more sensible political moralism

Since the great egalitarian explosion of the last two centuries, there has been only one publicly acceptable morality. If morality were not so assumed to be universal, it would not be off our radar, and we would squeal about how oppressive it is that our society tolerates only one.

The social morality of our time is egalitarianism. This means everyone is equal, which leads to pluralism, or the idea that everyone should be able to do whatever they want and if this causes social disunity and unrest, we’ll pretend that’s a good thing. Pluralism in turn causes dysfunction, which creates a need for a police state, which makes society so scary that most people want a socialist safety net. At that point, the deconstruction of a civilization is at hand.

However, it all starts with the assumptions and underlying values that we use to interpret politics (and other things). As a wise man once said, “there are no facts, only interpretations.” However, thanks to its popularity, we have one and only only morality which we can discuss in the context of politics.

This morality contains a number of sub-headings. The first is the notion that because everyone is equal, if unequal results occur, it is through oppression. Another is the idea that we are heading toward a future Utopia through Progress. Yet another is that compassion is our highest goal, which requires us to “lift up” those “below us.” The essential ideal boils down to all of us owing every human an existence, and whatever choices that human makes should have no consequences from civilization at large.

Despite their good intentions, and who really cares about intentions when you have results to measure, the path on which this morality puts society is one that goes away from “find the right answer” and gets closer to “any answer is fine so long as you say it nicely.” The result of that is a society geared away from achievement. It is a civilization of those who do not challenge themselves.

This is not to speak an endorsement for Ayn Rand-style social Darwinism, where everyone has to work as hard as possible and earn as much money as possible and put their souls on the shelf. Our society has already tried that, and it is a result of our egalitarian morality. When society is chaos, people become desperate for money so they can buy their way out of the disaster.

I propose a different social morality: we go with what works. As part of that, we have to know what we’ve done in the past and how it turned out. That way, when someone speaks about their latest wishful thinking, we can say, “Last time, that ended in the collapse of a nation,” and then see what they say. Our new morality should not be about how we want to feel, judge or desire changes in our situation, but the consequences of those changes.

It’s a subtle shift. Most people would barely notice. But over time, it would shift society from a system of takers penalizing makers to a system where makers would be given the ability to use their powers for good. Takers, who are by definition incapable of making a systemic good, would be isolated in their own spheres of (small) influence.

The next political revolution is not going to come from policy decisions or speeches. Politicians have a job to do in keeping the system working. What can help them out is if we create a cultural change, and then send a clear message to our politicians, so that everyone in unison desires the same idea.

Much like the great shift leftward in the West during the 1960s, the result will be pervasive and silent. It will spread through oblique channels, altering attitudes, so that when those people return to questions to which they formerly knew the “answers,” they will re-interpret and end up in a radically different place.

It won’t come easy — we’re talking about altering at least 223 years of history, and probably a few centuries more. But this could stave off the inevitable disaster of social dysfunction as well as the potential disaster created by sudden or radical changes to a political system.

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22 Responses to “A more sensible political moralism”

  1. Magister Ludi says:

    You wrote “we have one and only only morality”, clearly a typo.

    You’ve hit the nail I think, it is necessary to change morality. Nietzsche called morality “God’s rotting corpse”. I think he was also referring to the egalitarian morality of liberalism which is a continuation of Christianity. Morality in general is an ideal to which a certain group of people aspire. The modern morality of everybody is equal, however we might disagree with it or criticise it is an ideal as inspiring as the Ancient Greek ideal of Eudaimonia (the blossoming of humanity, the good life) or the roman Virtus (manliness, achieving glory through manly deeds). Yet your proposal of going with what works is, in my humble opinion, too modest an ideal to inspire people. People need morality to feel good about themselves, as a compass to orient their lives. It has to be a pure and simple and yet elevated and elevating ideal. It is not necessarily something easy to achieve, as a matter of fat, neither the Greeks, nor the Romans (nor modern liberals for that matter) really achieved their moral ideals most of the time. Your most pragmatic going with what works, on the other hand is what people already have done. I do not have even the slightest idea of what could be an alternative to egalitarian model, I admit I am just one of those who criticise without offering concrete alternatives. If pressed I would venture perhaps an ideal of beauty (imagine a campaign with pictures of a beautiful blond girl or a cute redhead child only saying “aryan is beautiful” to get an idea of what I mean);or that we must love first our own and that loving everybody is the same as not loving anybody in particular, but this is too long to express and morality should be a concept easily expressed in three words.

  2. NotTheDude says:

    I said to a family member today that the alternative to the amoral rulers of today such as bankers and businessmen is a society of hierachy that has its main responsibility not to making money to be able to isolate one’s self from the consequences of that money making, but to the folk and environment it is beholden to. Nigh on immpossible to do in a Globalist commerially fascist world order but we must wake up and teach our young to shun the loathsome shopping centre [or ‘mall’ for all you Americans] culture and a lot more besides.

  3. Jason says:

    I’m still ruminating on the school shooting, but one thing that strikes me from all the debate that has raged:

    Everyone thinks they’re a wise man.

    Ever notice how everyone seems to suggest they have the right answer? It’s like nobody stops to listen to each other, and everyone is busy adding in their 2 cents and moving on. It’s like YouTube comments are an allegory for where society is heading. Everyone has an anonymous voice, and they use it constantly to put more and more static above signal.

    How can we listen to the truly wise and helpful of us, when everyone is constantly fucking talking and patting themselves on the back for their comments like:

    “LOLOLOL NOBAMA is a commie n doze not care about dead kids fuck that muslim!”

    Reading some of the replies to his memorial speech on Yahoo really highlights the “we’re all equal” idea. Everyone thinks they, and they alone, have the answer. I grew up with an Indian friend who constantly would remark “Too many Chiefs” whenever he saw a situation that was messed up, seems so appropriate for our modern lives now.

    • I had a long conversation with my husband last night which I would characterize as “you need to get a life and stop obsessing about politics.” That’s what he was saying. I was saying “get ready for bad things to happen to us personally.”

      I couldn’t sleep all night after hearing Barack suggest he’s going to “change things” in a way many people think will end one particular type of tragedy that people were feeling bad about at that time. It frightened me and still does, to hear the conviction behind his words and those of so many others. They feel good saying it while I feel frightened and desperate, exactly at the moment where I need to have courage and stand up for the rights I was born with. That my husband doesn’t see it that way is just sharpening the will I have to stand for what’s right, because others won’t. That’s how it appears to me.

      But I’m not sure if I’m seeing truly and I think the emotional suffering I went through last night was an indication that I might need to calm down and do something better than my first idea.

      To that end I thought, Is there a Pol-Anon? I’d go. I’m looking at starting one up–a twelve-steps group for people like me who obsess over something they can do very little about, when others seem like zombies for an ideology. The more they are opposed the stronger they get.

      The only answer to it is stepping out of that arena. It won’t change anything but what it can change–myself. I can start a group that listens.

      • crow says:

        Your husband has a point.
        Maybe you miss the point of Amerika?
        It is the very thing you seek: A support system for those being made crazy by the craziness. An education-medium as a rampart against the omnipresent insanity of politics-gone-mad.
        You should not allow it, or anything else, to make you a depressed and ineffective human.
        Then again: maybe I miss the point of Amerika :)

        • Jason says:

          “A support system for those being made crazy by the craziness. An education-medium as a rampart against the omnipresent insanity of politics-gone-mad.”

          That is pretty much exactly how I would describe this blog. An island of rational thought.

        • Missy says:

          That every problem contains its own solution – is that what you are saying?

          • crow says:

            What I was saying was most likely what I said.
            No need to work too hard at what it might have meant.
            But you ask an interesting question…
            My position is that there are no problems.
            That ‘problem’ is a label we might apply to an event that doesn’t suit us.
            When you dispense with the judgement of an event being a problem, or bad, and simply observe it as an event, interesting things follow.

            My chimney pipe fell down, one very snowy winter.
            Huge job. Big problem. How to tackle it? And single-handed, too, on a 45 degree metal roof.
            Well. I took half the roof off. Dreamed up a dormer roof on top of the existing roof, just to enclose most of the pipe. Did it all in six weeks, got burned to a crisp in the sun, and dehydrated, to boot.
            The result was an elegant, practical, improvement, that ensured a repetition would not occur, while adding to the aesthetics and providing huge satisfaction of a job well done.
            Was this event a problem?
            Yes, and no.
            It was an opportunity to stretch my creativity and practical problem-solving capability, while at the same time being rather dangerous, difficult, uncomfortable, time-consuming and expensive.

            Blah blah blah.
            I like problems. Because I don’t see them as problems.
            This, I maintain, is a worthwhile stance to develop, towards life.

            • Missy says:

              Yah, but what did you do for a chimney pipe in the meantime?

              Sure, there’s problems! Especially when you have children.

              • crow says:

                It was summer when I fixed it. Hence dehydration, burned to a crisp, etc…

                Q: When is a problem not a problem?
                A: When you don’t mentally label it a problem.

                Q: What can I use as a universal get-out-of-jail-free card?
                A: Mention you have children, so it’s different for you.

        • Jason says:

          In case there was any wondering how crazy Amerika’s readers are, well…


          The TV screen with the head in it, one of my art pieces inspired by this website. Everything today is a spectacle, including death, with people profiting from it through hits to their websites, upselling gore surfers to penis pills and extreme porn websites.

          The school shooting really affected me. I spent the mornings on my weekend just crying about it. I comforted a friend of mine who was equally distraught by telling her that it should only strengthen our resolve to put more good back into this world.

          • 1349 says:

            (My 2 cents / 6 shekels / 30 pieces of silver:)

            That shooting is a joke compared to what the US seem to be heading towards…

          • IS THAT YOUR HOUSE? It’s fantastic!

            I love art too but my house has a bad case of beige-itis which I combat with colorful knitted accent items. I feel pathetic! I’m going to have to expand my thoughts on what’s possible for me.

            • crow says:

              Feeling pathetic is never good. One’s ego secretly comparing itself to one’s perception of others.
              Whereas feeling insignificant is. Dispensing with one’s ego, altogether.
              The more insignificant you feel, the more content you are.
              This is what meditation is all about.

      • Jason says:

        A huge part of how much I’ve changed in my outlook on life, and how I behave, is this site and Brett’s writings.

        Ultimately, we create the society we live in. If we present people with the:

        “If X then Y” information, over time, we can expect things to get better.

        Right now, we’re doing X, and we have yet to truly discover Y. We’re all slowly waking up to it. This is a period of anomie where human society have not yet had time to catch up to the technology, information, and lifestyles introduced in our modern age.

        In the meantime, put effort in to be the person you would admire. Even for a bipolar maniac libtard with a conservative heart, I’m doing my best to help and encourage other people.

      • lost_wanderer says:

        The goal would be to act but with detachment. To care about the world and at the same time, if all goes to nothingness to remain nonchalant about it.

  4. I started a Facebook page called Pol Anon.

    Fear, anxiety, confusion and worry are fantastic control mediums.

    My goal is to utilize a decentralizing ideology to aid in people taking charge of their emotional choices.

    • gg says:

      It looks scary. To me. I like to stand for periods of time every day in different standing pole postures. A form of chi gung. The benefits are too long to list.

  5. Okay so I’m reading a book by a linguist, Lakoff. He is talking about reframing language in terms more favorable to his progress toward making us all socialists.

    For example they want none of the media to say “The top 1 percent earners” but rathers “the 1 percent rich” to marginalize the wealthy.

    That’s what’s happening in the culture. The thing is, to Lakoff there is too much of conservative language framing going on. That’s strange because I see it the other way.

    I do know that when Liberal got framed as a dirty word they changed their term for themselves to progressives. Now they’re trying to make our side a dirty word and tie it to children who were abused by their dads and now are anal retentive.

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