Tag Archives: cooperation

Legality and Morality: Completely opposite ethical systems

We often see law and morality, or legality and morality, as corollary, or interchangeable. However, the category of Value, speaking philosophically, known as Ethics, is not an admixture of morality and legality, but rather may contain either/or, depending on how we define the nature of reality, and from that how we define truth and falsehood (metaphysics and epistemology, respectively), but never both. Because the truth is that Legality and Morality are mutually exclusive ethical paradigms. The former is an ethical structure which exists outside of the individual at the metaphysical level and consequently is something to which the individual must be coerced by an Authority which necessarily disregards his will. The individual’s will comes from inside himself, and the ethical primary, the Law, is outside of him…he is obligated to it, irrespective of his will. That’s why its the Law, you see.

The latter, morality, is an ethical paradigm and system where the individual is the ethical standard, and individuals cooperate—which implies the use of individual will, not its rejection—in service to each other’s success and happiness. A violation of morality is a violation of the individual’s essence…his conceptualizing nature, and thus his will, and from that his choices, and from that his labor and property. Consequence for moral violations can range from a refusal to cooperate with the perpetrator of the violation, up to his destruction or restraint depending on the level of severity. This can be done cooperatively by moral people, and this cooperation does not necessitate or constitute government. Rather, it is a group of individuals who recognize their individual worth and will cooperate with each other in order to protect and promote it.

Much more can be said about morality and its practical application specifically, but I will leave it for now. I will only add that A. Morality is fundamentally a much easier ethic to define, contrary to opinions about morality being categorically subjective (Hume’s guillotine and whatnot), and much less prone the kinds of chaos and confusion and irrationality which lead to things like 2500 page bills being put to a vote in the US Congress whilst giving no conscientious representative any reasonable amount of time to read it. And B. That to reject law is NOT to reject ethics. Lawlessness does not necessarily mean the absence of ethical value. It can, and should, if we are being rational, mean that one rejects ethics via coercion and violence by an authority of the group in favor of ethics via cooperation and mutual appreciation for the individual at the root existential level. In other word, morality is through love of the individual, legality through the hatred of him. If you will permit me a slight irony, morality is the “Law of Love”.

The Law is a collectivist ethic—a set of ethical values that affirm a Collective Ideal (the Nation, the People, the Tribe, the Race, the Socialist Utopia, etc,). Because this Law is collective, the individual is disregarded for the group—conformity to the group is something not intrinsic to the individual’s nature, so he is compelled into it by the authority of the State, which acts as the incarnation of the Collectivist Ideal on earth. When I say “State”, of course, I primarily mean the Government. (For philosophical purposes, the two are usually interchangeable.) When I say “Government”, I mean any individual or set of individuals which claim authority over the group to compel the group by force into “legal obligations”. Authoritative force is corollary to Law; without this force, the law is nothing more than suggestion. “Suggestion” and “Legal Obligation” are about as synonymous as “freedom” and “slavery”, or “life” and “death”. Appeals by the State to an individual’s legal obligations, codified or merely asserted, are often couched in manipulative terms such as “collective good”, or “social contract”, etc. etc.. In realty, there is no such thing as the “collective”. Human beings are metaphysically individual. We have a single and singular conscious frame of reference. We say “I”. The group is nothing more than individuals who share a conceptual framework for reality in language, and in turn, may cooperate to achieve individual ends which, taken in aggregate, may, and usually will, benefit the group of individuals. “Collective responsibility” is an appeal to some esoteric, ethereal, utterly subjective, and utterly abstract “Collective Ideal” which no individual can ever access because their frame of reference, as an individual, is mutually exclusive of it; and yet he must somehow recognize its virtue and sacrifice himself to it. If he does not, he will be sacrificed to it by the Authority. Government officials should more realistically be considered as a mystic priest class, which claims to possess some transcendent knowledge and connection to the divine Ideal which you, the mere pew sitter, cannot possess, because, well..just because. That’s the thing, there is no explanation that you can understand because your very existence precludes this. It’s about faith, you see, not actual understanding.

The idea of a separation between church and state is a noble one, but utterly impossible to achieve. The church is the state; the state is the church. There will never be any other way.