In Defense of Objective Morality

There are those who discredit the philosophy of objective morality, their reason being that we, by virtue of our disparate life experiences, fail to derive a homogenous concept of morality, rather a more subjective take on morality.

Over the last year I’ve come to defend the legitimacy of objective morality based on the concept of natural law among other philosophies. That is, if a benevolent action is acceptable to be performed by a group, it should hold true that the action would be seen as acceptable for the individual as well.

Conversely, if a malevolent action (as defined as a contradiction to natural law) is not acceptable to be performed by an individual, then a group performing malevolent acts shouldn’t be acceptable either.

If one looks at the world today, how many malevolent acts are being perpetrated by groups of people? Why are they being sanctioned, accepted, and even celebrated when these actions are immoral based solely on the violation of natural law?

All this is not to say that natural laws and man made laws are always in opposition. If I could whip up a Venn diagram I could show several overlapping laws covered by both ideologies. Murder, theft, rape, assault… any action which results in a victim pretty much covers it.

It’s the victimless “crimes” that fall under the purview of man made laws that concern me. These laws are the constructs of men and women with no regard to objective morality or natural law. Laws borne of a lust for power and control, not of a spirit of empathy and equity.

Without the understanding of natural law and objective morality one can become tacitly complicit in the illegitimacy of man made laws and possibly suffer the dire consequences themselves.

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Law Isn’t Violence?, Children’s Property, & Causes of Criminal Behavior (27m) – Editor’s Break 082

Editor’s Break 082 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: why the [mistaken] belief that “there should be a law” does not mean the threat of a gun to the face boggles his mind; children owning property and what rights a parent has if that property is stored in their house; the causes of criminal behavior in youth and adults alike; and more.

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Ambition, the Presidency, Types of Laws, & Indoctrination (25m) – Editor’s Break 049

Editor’s Break 049 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: the necessity of ambition in the economic realm by entry level employees, the missing silver lining from the Trump presidency, the voluntaryist perspective on politics and law, how to know what really matters to you, indoctrination in occupational training, and more.

Listen to Editor’s Break 049 (25m, mp3, 64kbps)

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Retroactively Undone and Repealed

When cops get caught planting evidence, lying under oath, etc., sometimes other pending or past cases which relied upon the testimony of that cop also get thrown out. Because hey, once the guy is a proven crook and liar, how can it be okay for anyone to be locked up based on what that slimeball claimed happened? (That happens less often than it should, but it does happen.)

Now suppose that that principle was applied to politicians. (I can dream, can’t I?) If every time a politician was caught lying, cheating, breaking the law, taking bribes, covering stuff up, etc., then everything he ever helped to “legislate” was retroactively undone and repealed, where would we be today?

Simple. We would be in anarchy (literally)!

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“The Law” is No Excuse

Statists make the absurd claim “Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” but that’s obviously nonsense. If you aren’t aware of some random, arbitrary rule made up by some ethically empty control freak, how can you be expected to act counter-intuitively and “obey” it?

Only an idiot would expect that.

Ignorance of the “law” is normal, natural, ubiquitous (even by those who worship and enforce “laws”), and it is most definitely the best excuse.

I would turn the statist’s claim around.

“The law” is no excuse to molest, kidnap, rob, and murder people. The “law” is never a justification to archate. And anyone who believes it is is a nasty goon.

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Does Action on Behalf of Another Tend Toward Abuse?

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon occurring in myself and through my actions when my wife asks me to do something concerning my children. If I desire that my children do something, or to stop doing something, I will employ peaceful means to bring about my desired state of affairs.

For example, if I want one of my children to get ready to go somewhere with me, I will express my wish and peacefully negotiate my way to my goal. I won’t yell or threaten or otherwise coerce my child to do as a I want them to do. My primary and secondary instincts are peaceful in response to any pushback I get (as they are very busy with accomplishing their own ends).

Now let us suppose it is my wife that wants one of our children to get ready to go somewhere with her. She’s busy getting ready herself, so she asks me to ask and assist the child in getting ready. I love my wife so I do her this favor. However, while my first instinct is peaceful, my second instinct, which kicks in after pushback, tends toward being less peaceful. I feel more willing to start coercing my child to get ready.

When the goal is my own, internally motivated, I will behave according to my own values for respectful and peaceful cooperation. When the goal is not my own, externally motivated, I will at first behave according to my own values, but resistance may soon have me acting contrary to those values. Why is this?

I don’t like this, and I’m finding that I have to be extra mindful and diligent in remaining respectful and peaceful when on a mission for my wife. I hope in time my second instinct in this regard mirrors my first.

What I’m very curious about, however, is what this says about behavior in larger society.

There are many types of requests given to others that are not primarily internally motivated by the requestor. Managers giving orders on behalf of department heads. Coaches giving orders on behalf of upper management. Law enforcement giving orders on behalf of superiors and legislators.

Each of these are more or less likely to meet resistance, and when they do, how are the instincts telling the requestor to behave? When a manager is on the hot seat for his job because of team performance, will his orders downward tend toward coercion? Same for a coach whose team is not performing as upper management would like it to perform to sell tickets.

And where this sort of analysis really matters, when law enforcement officers are trying to enforce laws that they don’t really believe in, but don’t want to lose their jobs, how do their instincts tell them to behave?

It seems to me that having the power and ability to inflict great harm in the pursuit of your goals, and which goals are being aimed for on behalf of others, tends toward greater and greater abuse. We see this every time law enforcement use violence in response to resistance they receive while enforcing laws against nonviolent crimes. As these sorts of “criminals” are not themselves violent, the natural first instinct is to get compliance with your requests peacefully (never mind the gun in the room). That often works, but not always. Violence may sooner or later be employed by law enforcement in these cases, and it turns out that these are the sort that get national attention when the officer or officers become abusive.

I can’t explain the psychology behind this. Perhaps someone with better credentials in that field can. Perhaps they already have. I don’t know. But what I’m more concerned about is how we can mitigate this tendency. In myself, mindfulness and diligence. In larger society, I don’t know. Maybe we train law enforcement better. Maybe we disarm law enforcement. Maybe we de-monopolize law enforcement. In any event, the first step is recognizing and accepting the problem.

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