Tag Archives: Ethics

Hume’s Guillotine Has No Blade (Part THREE): The difference between ethics and morality, why ethics and morality cannot be avoided, and why this is an insurmountable problem for advocates of Hume’s Law

Before we go any future on the specifics of the “is-ought” dichotomy, it is crucial that we understand the distinction between ethics and morality. Anyone not able to clearly articulate the differences between these two philosophical ideas and how they specifically relate has no business discussing Hume’s law, or any other ethical or moral question, for that matter…because they can have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Understanding Hume’s is-ought dilemma and, more importantly, its complete rational, not to mention ethical, failure is predicated upon knowing the difference and the relationship between morality and ethics. Thankfully, it is quite simple.

“Ethics” is the broad philosophical category. Morality is a type of ethics—an ethical system based upon a specific epistemology, and this rooted in a specific metaphysical description of realty…a metaphysical primary. Moral behavior can be ethical behavior, but only if the ethics being implied are rooted in an epistemology which implies morality, and that rooted in a metaphysics which implies the epistemology which implies the moral ethics.

Not all ethics, therefore, are moral. Legality, for example, is a completely different type of ethics, because legality is rooted in fundamentally different epistemology and metaphysics. Thus, there is for example no such thing as a “moral law”…this is a complete fallacy. “Moral law” is a contradiction in terms, because morality and legality presume completely different epistemology and metaphysics (a comprehensive discussion of this can be found in many previous articles on this blog). Speaking of “moral law”, a third example of ethics might be a hybrid of legality-morality that one might find in western liberal democracies, where the law is said to exist in service to moral truths. This hybrid is fundamentally irrational and observably false, because governments dictate, they do not suggest, and you cannot dictate morality. Morality is rooted in choice. One only acts morally IF they are able to exercise choice. Legality is rooted in authority, and authority is force. And forced behavior is by definition behavior which is compelled, and thus is irrespective of choice.

So, whenever morality is discussed, such as in Hume’s Law, it is important to remember that we are dealing with a specific kind of ethics—morality—and these are rooted in specific epistemology and specific metaphysics. Hume’s Law would be anathema to legality, other than perhaps a tangential affirmation of it, because legality cannot accommodate any “ought”—categorical, hypothetical, or otherwise. Legality tells us what ethical behavior one WILL DO—or else suffer punishment from the external authority in charge—not what one ought do—or else suffer consequences that one has brought on himself.

Hume’s Law only addresses morality, and specifically, it is the explicit assertion that morality is an irrational type of ethics, and thus is not objective, and thus does not actually exist, and thus is utterly inefficacious and irrelevant to reality and truth. Proponents of Hume’s Law are NOT—and this is crucial to understand—denying that objective ethics exist even if they think they are (and I submit that likely most of them do). They are merely denying that objective moral ethics exist.

But the declaration of the utter spuriousness of morality MUST be based upon preconceived epistemological and metaphysical assumptions. In other words, ethical conclusions are an unavoidable outcome and consequence of epistemological and metaphysical foundations and assumptions, and are derived directly from them. That is, those foundations inexorably and inevitably lead to ethical conclusions, and thus cannot lead to NO ethics. They may not lead to no MORAL ethics, but they will lead to some type of ethics.

Therefore, the question which should be routinely posed to proponents of Hume’s Law and advocates of the is-ought contraction is: What are your ethics? What is your definition good and the evil if not in terms of morality? And if they have no answer, or their answer is incomplete, then they can have no real argument against morality. Because it means that their metaphysics and epistemology have lead them either to NO ethical conclusions, which means that they have NO understanding of nature of reality (metaphysics) and NO understanding of what constitutes truth (epistemology), OR their metaphysics and epistemology are false and/or insufficient. In either case, they can make no rational claim against morality, since one can only disprove a given ethics—in this case morality— by providing more logical and consistent ethics, and this by holding a more logical and consistent epistemology and metaphysics.

And this, I submit, is impossible…moral ethics are in fact the MOST rational ethics possible. In my experience, without moral ethics one is left inevitably defending either the idea of “no ethics”, which is impossible because any ethical assertion, even the conclusion that there are no ethics, is based upon metaphysical and epistemological conclusions that MUST and NECESSARILY lead to specific ethics (the conclusion that there is no ethics implies that there is no epistemology and no metaphysics, which means that they cannot assert anything about ethics including that they do not exist; in fact, they cannot assert anything about anything at all), OR they are left defending legal ethics, which are rooted in rationally bankrupt metaphysics.

Just quick word on that:

The metaphysics of legality are unavoidably determinist, which makes them inexorably a zero sum proposition. The assertion of determinism is the assertion of nothing at all. Any determining force must itself be determined, since all of its outcomes, according to the very nature and definition of determinism, could at no time, ever, have been theoretical, hypothetical, unknown, or non-existent—in other words, the determinist force at no time could NOT have determined the outcomes it determined, making the outcomes of determinism as infinite and absolute as determinism itself. This leaves no distinction between the determinist force and the outcomes it has determined. This makes determinism an infinite regression to itself, concluding at nothing but itself, and proceeding from nowhere but itself. Determinism—determinist metaphysics, the metaphysics of legal ethics—is a self nullifying proposition

But enough of that. On to part four.

END part Three

Coronavirus Conundrum: The futility of ethics by means of mathematics

In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, there is a scene where Spock tells Kirk, who is struggling with an ethical dilemma, that “Logic dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one”.

For many years this never sat well with me, for reasons that I could not quite articulate. I was unsettled. I had a suspicion that the claim was not logical at all. I mean, I suppose it was logical mathematically, but still something seemed off.

Years later I realized the specific problem. Spock is confusing ethical consistency with mathematical logic. Ethics are not mathematics, and the logic which governs the premises and conclusions of the two isn’t necessarily interchangeable. Philosophical logic, or what is better termed “rational consistency”, or “reason”, does not assert mathematical logic as axiomatic. This is because mathematics is wholly abstract, where philosophy is meta, incorporating both the abstract and the concrete. Philosophy, of which ethics is a major category, concerns the nature of existence, itself, not merely the abstract measurement and categorization of it.

Since the dilemma facing Kirk is an ethical one, and ethics are not mathematics, Spock’s claim that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one” is entirely meaningless with respect to the problem at hand. It was a pointless and decidedly ILLOGICAL waste of time and breath. Ethically, the needs of the many DO NOT outweigh the needs of the few or the one. This is because there is no rational ethical comparison between “many” and “one” when considering individual human beings. Each person is an utterly singular observer. There is no such thing as deriving an objective “us” or “we” or “many” from an absolutely singular conscious agent. There is SELF, and there is OTHER, where both are singular agents, fundamentally, but the combination of SElf and OTHER into “we” or “us” or “many” is an entirely abstract notion. “We” does not exist, fundamentally, at all. “We” is an abstract concept which combines individuals for purely practical, mutable purposes, never for root ETHICAL ones. Therefore, it is a failure of reason to claim that it is somehow better for, say, one to die than one million. The individual, at the level of SELF, is absolute…he or she IS THE OBSERVER, and he or she is CONSTANT. This is why the individual is so ineluctably necessary to existence and reality. Axiomatically, absent the frame of reference of one’s singular and constant absolute SELF, no claim can be made about anything…nothing known, nothing claimed, nothing verified, and thus nothing can exist, because an existence which cannot be known and thus cannot be valued and thus serve no purpose is a categorically IRRELEVANT existence. And irrelevant existence cannot actually exist, because it can never meaningfully DO anything, including EXIST.

So, that in mind, Spock is really attempting to assert that the needs of the many ABSOLUTES outweigh the needs of a few or one ABSOLUTE. Do you see the paucity of logic here? Spock implies that the death of one person is better than the death of a million, but there is no such thing as a comparison between a single Absolute, and a million Absolutes. “A million absolutes” is no more a quantity of absolutes than a single absolute. There is no AMOUNT of absolute SELF. There is ONLY SELF. Any quantification of individuals then is purely abstract. It is of practical use, but NOT of ethical use. When God says “thou shalt not kill” he doesn’t qualify that command by quantifying it. One death is as equally tragic as a million.

Moving on to the cornonvirus. Today I saw a Vox headline from April 1 which read “The Coronavirus is NOT the FLu. It’s Worse.” I didn’t read the article, because I didn’t have to. The title alone told me that reading the article would be a waste of time, because as far as I was concerned, this isn’t and never has been the issue. Comparisons between the coronavirus and the flu are not the fundamental point anyone should be making.

First of all, the title itself is massively subjective, as “worse” can be defined in multiple ways, and easily manipulated to bolster one’s own personal opinion, no matter what that opinion is. And even if we go with the ostensible meaning of the word—that by “worse” we mean “more dangerous, and with a higher mortality rate”—a month later from when the article was written, incidence testing around the world has proved that the coronavirus is NOT worse than the flu, and may in fact be LESS dangerous.

But who cares about this…this is incidental to anything involving the coronavirus insofar as society and public health is concerned. It’s not about how dangerous the coronavirus is or is not relative to the flu, or any other virus. We live in a context where, under the auspices of State Authority, we exist first and foremost as members of a collective. This makes any crisis, even a pandemic, not an ethical problem, but an examination of probability, and this implies the enumeration of the people. The people become numbers, and these numbers are then plugged into a much larger and more fundamental equation, which is this: What course of action best promotes and preserves the position and power of the State? And this is why government can react so differently to similar crises (eg swine flu vs coronavirus), and why its methods and actions are often so incongruent with emprical data (eg the ongoing lockdown despite evidence that the coronavirus is not a significant threat to the nation). The crises are similar, but the policies which best promote State power can widely vary from situation to situation.

And it is here were we get to the root of it all.

The biggest mistake we who are suspicious and critical of government interference make with respect to interpreting government response to crisis is that we confuse government, which is an institution of object violence, with an ethical entity…and more precisely, a MORALLY ethical entity. It is not. Its only purpose is to compel the collective masses into a particular abstract ideological standard that it alone legitimizes, no matter what appeals are made to individual rights or freedom, etc. Government, itself, not you or me or our neighbors, our businesses, our money, our health, our jobs…nothing matters besides that which affirms the State, and promotes the collective Ideal which legitimizes it (in the case of the US, where I am, this Ideal is the very nebulous “the People”). The government IS the nation…to save the government IS to save YOU and ME, so the “logic” goes. We are the State, the State is us. There is no individual to consider in the equation, and THIS is why the coronavirus is not a true ethical dilemma.

Those who are decrying the government’s draconian measures to control the virus are citing the numbers in an attempt to win the ethical debate. They are claiming that many, many more people will die in the long run from the severe economic catastrophe that the unconstitutional lockdown orders are inflicting. I, myself, have asserted this, and will continue to do so. After all the truth is the truth—if you look at the data gathered by highly competent and established epidemiologists and virologists there is simply no way a rational person can conclude that this virus is paticularly dangerous for the VAST majority of human beings, And if you look at the economic data, there is no way a rational person can deny that the measures taken to control the pandemic will kill many more people than the virus ever will. However, as this is not a specifically ethical argument, it will fail thus when employed as one. ETHICALLY, those who would rather doom a billion people via the government’s orders to lockdown society in order to save a few thousand people who might otherwise die from the virus are NOT wrong. It is NOT ETHICALLY (specifically, it is not not morally) wrong to suggest that the smaller number of lives saved by government are EQUALLY and possibly MORE important than the billions who will be destroyed by the ongoing lockdown. Why? Because, as I said, this is NOT an ethical dillema. You cannot make an ethical comparison of the importance of one life over another, so to persist in the fallacious idea that you can possess moral and rational superiority by simply appealing to the math is ludicrous. IF the government wants to kill a billion in order to save a few thousand, an ethical argument about the value of this many lives versus that many is NOT an effective argument because the situational context has nothing to do with the value of individual life.

But, you might say, why not then simply appeal to the mathematical logic? You might say that it doesn’t make sense, numerically, for the governemnt to doom a billion to save a few thousand. Surely it is in the best interest of the State to rule over many than a few, right?

The answer, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, is: not necessarily. It might, but it might not. The bottom line is that IF the State feels that it is in its best interest to destroy the many in order to save the few then this is the course of action it WILL pursue. If you think that the power and position of those in goverment are not the supreme consideration in dealing with any and all issues related to a nation, be it a pandemic or any other thing, then you simply do not understand the true and root nature of the State and the nature of your position under its authority. And there is no ethical argument you can bring to bear which will alter the course of government action. You can quote numbers all day long, and conflate mathematics with ethics all day long, but it will do you no good. It is an exercise in futility and will only serve to exasperate, frustrate, and disappoint you. The only way you will ever get the State to change its course is to somehow convince it, or hope that it will at some point be convinced, that it is in ITS, not YOUR, best interest to choose a different direction.

And here we DO actually get a glimps of the ethics of government. What is “good” for the State is technically an ethical question. Yet we must make a distinction between MORAL ethics and LEGAL ethics. In this article, for semantic’s sake, I used “ethical” as a synonym for “moral”, which I’m sure you understood. After all, any discussion of ethics as it involves human beings may typically be seen as a discussion of morality. But moral ethics are not the same as legal ethics, and I have several articles on this blog where I deal specifically with the difference, so I will not do that here. The point I want to make is that in order to convince the government to change its course, one must convince it that such a change is first and foremost GOOD for the STATE. What is good for the person, for you and me, for the individual, for the human being, is entirely irrelevant, and will never prove efficacious in persuading the government to do anything.


The Conflicting Realites of State and Individual Citizen: The ethics difference

All governments by nature and implicit definition are founded upon collectivist, not individualist, metaphysics; and I have discussed the differences between these two metaphysical constructs many times on this blog. Government represents an Ideal, which is simply an abstract archetype for Reality, itself…a superstructure, or meta-structure, if you like, but it is completely subjective. Government is is tasked with organizing the existence of both humanity and its environment into this grand, overarching ideal, which, being subjective, could be anything at all: a Worker’s Utopia; We the People; the Aryan Nation; Society of Social Justice (i.e. Marxist Communism); God’s Chosen People; the Diversity Paradise; the King’s Land…you get the idea. In order to do this, government must first interpret Reality in a collective sense…that is, it must assume that all that is seen is a direct and absolute function of the Ideal, and government’s job is to subdue the ostensibly disparate components of Reality, including humanity, and organize them into a cooperative system which works collectively to singularly serve the interest of the Ideal…which functionally means serving the governemnt—the State—which is the material incarnation of the Ideal, containing the sum and substance of the Ideal’s entitled power of practical utility. To the individual citizen, this power, as it inevitably becomes more and more overt and comprehensive, looks like tyranny; he sees soaring tax rates and expanding government interference in commerce and free market value exchange as theft; he sees the subterfuge, doublespeak, hypocrisy, artifice, racketeering, and general political corruption as bearing false witness; he sees the warmongering, empire building, law-enforcement excess and brutality, the facilitation or outright commission of foreign and domestic political coups, false flag crises, and the insatiable military industrial complex as murder. In other words, the individual, particularly one living in a western reprentative democracy, which is founded upon the illusionary and completely contradictory-to-government notions of individual right to life and liberty…yes, the individual is operating on a different set of ethics, and this is because he is, even subconsciously, operating likewise from a different metaphysical interpretation of reality (usually…I’m speaking in general terms). You see, the individual assumes that he exists as himself, a singular agent and agency, a Self qua Self, with a singular and efficacious and actual Volition, which exists of and for and to HImself, and therefore possesses a innate and inherent right to own himself. And this means that the role of the State—though impossible, representing the very denial of government entirely—is to protect and promote his body, which he owns, and thus the product of his body’s labor, and thus to promote free association and uncoerced value exchange as a means of social, politcal, and economic association. From this Individualist principle the Individual thus assumes that coercive State policy (threats of punishment to achieve political ends) constitutes implicit (and often explicit) murder; contradiction, hypocrisy, pandering, doublespeak, subterfuge, exagerration, and propaganda is lying; taxes (at least in some forms…in reality, however, all forms), debt, economic meddling, coporate and special interest bribery, and subsidization (at least in some forms…in reality, all forms) is theft. The individual feels this way because the ethics to which he subscribes—the ethics of morality, as opposed to legality—demand that he do so. Moral ethics establish the Individual as the Standard of Universal Good and Truth. And since the Individual is defined according to the metaphysics as Singualar, Conscious, Conceptualizing, and therefore fully Volitional/Willfull, then uncoerced value exchange (i.e. trade/contract in all of its various forms, both formal and informal) represents the only ethical means by which the metaphysics can be applied rationally to Reality. The forced removal of ones property, or theft, becomes evil; violations of one’s body become murder; interpreting or rendering reality in ways which violate the Individual’s ability to properly ascertain and thus organize it (hypocrisy, false witness, deception, etc.) becomes lying. Murder, theft, lying…these are all evil according to the ethics of morality; and morality is entirely and only a function of Individualist metaphysics. And morality is NOT legality, and thus, it has nothing to do with the State. And what’s more, murder, theft, and lying only exist as a function of moral ethics. They are not and cannot be meaningful to  legal ethics. In other words, as far as the State is concerned, the lying to, and the murder and theft of the individual do not exist. And this is because the Indivdual, from the frame of reference of the collectivist metaphysics from which the State operates, does not exist. You cannot take from one who does not own himself; cannot lie to one who does not know himself; cannot murder he who is not himself.

And here we begin to see the conflict…the mutually exclusive frames of reference between the Individual Citizen and the State Official is the singular foundation of all social choas, in all forms both public and private I submit, and is implied and necessarily animated and catalyzed by the State, with increasingly authoritarian consequences. The establishment of the State creates a society where individualist and collectivist metaphysics collide. The implicit and natural awareness of the moral right of the individual to own himself is disasterously combined with the implicit legal right of the State to coerce by force the indivdual into a collective reality. The friction begins as a small festering sore which is aggravated by ever increasing government despotism against which the individual rebels in whatever way he can that will not run him afoul of the law, to no avail, as he is hopelessly outgunned by the money and violent power of the State, and marginalized and demagoged by powerful and powerfully dogmatic explicit and implicit collectivist institutions and philosophies which overtly and inadvertently promote collectivist metaphysics, like the media and the scientific and religious determinists. Thus, as more and more individuals wallow in the misery of a marginalized and meaningless existence in an ever-increasing insane asylum of collectivist disciples run by an almost unfathomably powerful and rich ruling class, and as more collectivist polices are inacted to “help” those who suffer from polices designed to destroy them by denying their existence altogether, the moral and psychological foundations crumble. The ruling class implements more and more draconian strategies to deliever on the collectivist “Eden” promised to “the People”, many of the ruling class unaware that they are the only ones who can ever possibly live in it because they are it.  All of these strategies fail, of course, because they necessarily must, because the logical presumption of collectivist metaphysics, whether a given politician knows it or not, is that the eradication of individuals is the ethical Good, and the arrant achievement of the Good is the whole damn point of of the metaphysics in the first place. Through the socialization of just about everything—from healthcare to food to education to transportation to employment to childcare to leisure—indolence is affirmed, promoted, and perpetuated. This subsidized indolence leads necessarily to the irrelevance and forsaking of one’s mind, which leads to the forsaking—implicit or explicit— of one’s Self. Eventually, no longer able to extract any more meat or leather from the tax cattle, and no longer able to pay its foreign and domestic creditors, and collapsing under the weight of debt and infighting and external pressures and threats, and thus with no one left to functionally rule and thus no one left to compel into the Collective Ideal, the ruling class collapses or dissipates or scatters or infiltrates other societies/social networks and so goes the nation. This unavoidable end is often bloody and ferocious and apocalyptic, but sometimes it fizzles with a whimper. Either way, end it shall, and there are always mass graves of some sort or another left behind to remind us of the failure of collectivist metaphysics. Not that anyone really notices because, like the Matrix, it always starts all over again eventually.

You will never convince the State that it is tyrannical, no matter how egregious its excesses or atrocious and self-serving its transgressions, because it simply possesses no frame of reference for its own tyranny. It certainly sees itself as the Authority of the land, but you must understand that it holds to a fundamentally different interpretation of the concept. To the individual citizen (and to the individualist it is explicit and obvious), State authority is simply force—government coercing via violence and threats of violence its citizens out of their life and property. In other words, though they perhaps expect the State to act morally, they comply with the State’s legality. That is, they understand that the way the State operates is to take from the individual against his will, considering will as irrelvant with respect to legal obligation, in the interest of the “greater”, or “common good”. The individual operates from a place of uncomfortable cognitive dissonance for much of the lifespan of the nation, accepting a weird and ultimately unworkable amalgamation of legal ethics and moral ethics. Eventually the people begin to notice the stark shift of social norms in the direction of the legal end of the ethical “spectrum”; this is inevitable, as the whole point of the State is to eventually subsume all vestiges of individualism into collectivist “reality”. There is greater reliance on government violence and coercion to “solve” problems, compromise or cooperation become more and more unlikely as the polarization between individualist and collectivist ideology becomes a “cold civil war”; voters are bribed with government promises to subsidize their concerns away, which inevitably requires higher taxes and even higher national debt, polarizing the nation even more as concerns about the solvency of the economy and the legitimacy of the system on the whole begin to send waves of anxiety and anger throughout the populace. Citizens are distracted from the obvious political corruption and mendacity through the bromide of political circuses, vapid entertainment heavily submerged in socialist ideology, and the corporate and political encouragement to engaged in all forms of hedonism, specifically gluttony and sexual promiscuity, with the destruction of the nuclear family and the epidemc of abortion and single motherhood further destroying social cohesion and trust, promoting even more anger and fear, all of which is naturally exploited by the ruling class towards the achievement of even more power and wealth. The citizenry is also distracted by the wanton and widespread legal double standards which excuse the political and celebrity and corporate classes from everything from child sex trafficking to open murder, whilst the middle class is terrorized by threats of being ostracized, or worse, and called insane conspiracy wackos  for merely pointing this out; and accused of all forms of bigotry for not accepting its “responsibility” to “pay its fair share”, which is simply code for accepting and embracing neo-Marxist ideology and in particular socialist economics. The lower class, whilst being imprisoned in massive numbers for the slightest and most anodyne of infractions, and imprisoned in general in ghettos of institutionalized poverty and nihilism, is used to threaten the middle class…the ruling class will have no choice, you see, but to unleash the hordes of lower/working class “victims” who are just itching to exact revenge upon their middle class slavemasters—the middle class being the bourgeoisie root of all “evil” in the world according to the Marxist collectivists who increasingly own the narrative, and this as the media becomes little more than a State Ministry of Propaganda . Borders are purposefully left porous, as a tacit lower class invasion is permitted by the State, terrorizing the middle class into greater submission. The celebrity, corporate, and political classes are of course safe and sound behind the thick, high walls, bristling with guns, of their ivory towers, so such threats and invasions against the middle class come often and easy, as those who wield power rest imminently secure. After all, worst case scenario, they can always flee to Costa Rica or some other foreign haven, and access their tax-free offshore accounts to finance their lavish lifestyles until kingdom come.

But understand, again, that because the State functions entirely from the ethics of legality and not morality, it does not acknowledge that tyranny is possible for it; it does not accept that its Authority can ever be authoritarian. For the State, theft, murder, and false witness do not exist. It cannot steal from, kill, or lie to that which it owns according to the metaphysical principles upon which it established. Remember, according to the State’s collectivist metaphysics, all of Reality is to be brought into accordance with the Collective Ideal, which is the absolute source of Reality, and the means of doing this and thus the practical (material) incarnation of this Ideal is the State. In other words, the collective Ideal is Reality, and the State’s job is to organize it so that it reflects this Ideal aesthetically. And the “perfect” aesthetics are achieved by making a “perfect” Reality, epistemologically, ethically, and politcally, all beginning with the metaphysics.

The State machinations of this undertaking may to us look like murder, theft, deception, incompetence, and corruption…and in fact they are (for the metaphysics of individualism are perfectly rational, and never contradict, which makes them True and Good; Collectivist metaphysics are thus necessarily False and Evil…and their near infinite rational inconsistency on every level bears this out). But to the State—the ruling class and their corporate/celebrity bedfellows—murder, theft, et al is merely the necessary discharging of its collectivist obligation; the perfunctory disposing of its own naturally-entitled property. Why do you think Eichmann was so blasé about his complicity in the mass extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany? Because as far as he was concerned, it was merely an administrative task…like filing records, date entry, and keeping the books. He said as much himself.  And, to be frank, he was being entirely consistent with the metaphysics which he accepted as absolute and irreducibly true. The State technically owned the Jews and everyone else, in his mind…and therefore it can’t be murder then. After all, the State has a right to do what it wants with what it rightly owns.

And by the by, all of this is true for the Church, which defines God implicitly as a Collective Ideal which it exists to discharge upon the earth by force and threats of hell and torment and excommunication. God cannot sin, you see, not fundametally becaue he is wholly rational and considers all men to be their own agents, entitled to their own lives and property and choice…in other words, not because He is moral. But because He is the Collective Ideal…He IS everything, and therefore owns everything. Thus, there is no such thing as murder, theft, et al for God. It’s all His legal right to exercise the legal ownership of His property. And the Church is His Presence on earth. So to those of you who think they shall find refuge in a some kind of “moral theocracy”, think again. “Moral theocracy” is a contradiction in terms.


(Part Two: Why UPB Self-Nullifies) The Multitudinous Problems with Secular Ethics: A critique of Universally Preferable Behavior

[I apologize in advance for the tedious and highly technical nature of the following article. Bear with me. There really isn’t an easy way to do this. Thanks.]

1. If UPB is simply a set of possible choices, but does NOT reference an absolute moral Standard which makes compliance with UPB not simply preferable, but necessary in order to avoid some kind of irreparable existential contradiction, which thus implies and necessitates some irreparable existential injury (however that is defined…if it even needs to be defined at all), then UPB cannot claim to be either universal nor preferable, since there is no fundamental existential difference between compliance and non-compliance. In which case, UPB self-nullifies.

2. If UPB IS considered an inexorable natural law–referencing itself as its own absolute moral Standard–to which the individual is obligated or face some form of irreparable existential injury (however that is defined…if it even needs to be defined at all) then UPB is not preferable, but necessary, and perfunctory, and it self-nullifies.

3. If UPB is a legal (as opposed to ethical or moral) Standard–that is, Law as defined by a legal Authority, like the State–then by definition the individual is legally obligated to comply, and non-compliance results in punishment which, though legal, is, for all practical purposes, existential in its effect, since the manifestation of the ownership of oneself–i.e. free will/choice–while under State sanction is impossible. And therefore, UPB is not preferable and therefore self-nullifies.

Now, to expand upon point number two; and the reason is because this argument is, as I observe, the primary argument utilized by apologists for secular ethics:

If UPB is considered merely a de facto parameter of (one’s) Existence–that is, the perfunctory behavior of (one’s) Existence which affirms that (one’s) Existence actually exists, then UPB is nullified. Meaning, if we use the argument that because we observe that species or the individuals of that species behave in ways which are consistent with survival and reproduction and then claim that this behavior is actually preferable…we’ve contradicted ourselves and shown that such behavior cannot possibly be preferable, let alone ethical, and is only universal in that it is simply a de facto function of Existence qua Existence. In other words, if we remove choice–moral agency–from ethics entirely, or make it purely a function of the laws of nature, then a choice is never actually chosen. However, removing choice contradict ethics as meaningful in any rational or practical way, because amoral ethics imply behavior which doesn’t make a distinction between good behavior or bad behavior. So…why would any given behavior be preferable? It wouldn’t.

Also, notice how in scientific terms, which are the secularist’s terms of epistemology, ALL action is merely “behavior”…”choice” as a vehicle is sophistically smuggled in later–a bromide meant for and used by the small minority of non-communist atheists as a nod to the non-aggression principle; but UPB pairs with the NAP like salad pairs with Guinness.

If we accept Existence as the Metaphysical Primary, and therefore objective (empirical) reality and natural law as its practical Ethical and Epistemological derivatives , then we must admit that one cannot act via his Existencee in a way which contradicts his Existence…so regardless of what one does, and therefore what one chooses, one must necessarily always be acting ethically. To claim that one can somehow violate the terms of his or someone else’s (absolute) Existence by Existence, itself, is a contradiction in terms. Therefore, if UPB is said to be an Ethic derived from Existence, it is impossible for one to violate it, since one cannot violate the very thing that makes all behavior–like the “violation” itself– ultimately possible.

On the other hand, if we were to place UPB outside of (one’s) Existence and then argue that, as an Ethic outside of Existence (which is its own giant fallacy, given that Existence is the Metaphysical Primary for all apologists for UPB, I think), failure to follow UPB somehow amounts to an Ethical, and therefore moral, violation, and therefore is evil, and therefore obliges men to “prefer” UPB,  then the individual–as a rank existant–could neither be the source nor the reference for UPB, which makes whatever the individual prefers, and thus ultimately chooses, entirely besides the point…since his choice and preference are a function of himself. This again, as I asserted above in point 3., relegates UPB to the status of a Legal Code–the Legal Law–which means that coercion by a legal Authority, not preference, is the only legitimate and rational means of fulfilling the Law.

Now, if we claim that (one’s) existence is not in fact absolute, but somehow transient–an effect and not a cause, as it were, or a function of some Absolute Cause outside of (one’s) existence, then we would have no logical reason to conclude that behavior which promotes one’s existence is preferable to behavior which does not. For (one’s) existence, being non-absolute, is no more valid a state of nature than is his non-existence. Non-existence, because existence is not absolute, does not violate the Absolute Cause (that of which (one’s) existence AND non-existence is a direct effect), and therefore it can be no more rationally nor morally preferable to behave in ways that promote existence–of either oneself or others–than to behave in ways that do not. And therefore by what basis can we argue that UPB is actually preferable at all? No basis.

Interestingly, I have noticed that those who promote Existence as the Metaphysical Primarily DO, irrationally, make the distinction between Existence, the Primary, and one’s individual existence–because they understand that individual existence necessarily incorporates consciousness, and therefore they reject it as having anything to do with Existence qua Existence, because consciousness they assert is not objective, because it’s not empirical. But you see as soon as one makes the distinction between conscious existence (consciousness) and Existence the Primary, then whatever the individual consciously prefers--and all preference is conscious by definition–is beside the point. When you reject consciousness as fundamental to Existence you necessarily reject choice. Which means that you reject choice as fundamentally meaningful, which not only wrecks UPB but wrecks morality entirely, and makes any discussion of Ethics pointless.  I submit, however, that if we oblige consciousness to rational consistency, which is entirely logical (and a separate article), then reason alone serves as a perfect and categorical guide to Ethical behavior, because it makes Truth actually and objectively possible.

Part three very soon.

(Part One: Introduction and Ironic Metaphysical Roots) The Multitudinous Problems with Secular Ethics: A critique of Universally Preferable Behavior

There’s no short way of doing this. At least not one that I prefer (see what I did there?), so I will just get to it. A while ago I was introduced to something called Universally Preferable Behavior (UPB). This, I understand, is more or less a formal apologetic of what is termed “secular ethics”. Which really is simply an Ethic derived from the metaphysics of Atheism (which are the metaphysics more or less of Aristotle…more on that later). There is no God to declare what is good behavior and what is evil behavior. Without such an arbiter of morality, it is assumed, there is no anchor for moral behavior.   Enter UPB stage left. UPB purports to fill the role of Arbiter, and hence the term “universal”. Which is an odd term when coupled with “preferable”. I understand that in the handbook of UPB some attempt is made to address this oxymoron, but the explanation left me pretty unsatisfied. It qualifies itself by claiming that behavior is only universal once a given objective has been defined. Like, IF I want to get to work on time, it is preferable that I drive, not walk. And within that context, it is universally preferable to drive and not walk. Of course the inconsistency is clear. Since the preferable behavior is contextual, it isn’t universal. It is only contextually universal…which is a contradiction in terms.

Here are some links that you can examine to give you some reference for this article. The first is the handbook for UPB (you may have to copy and paste this link into your search bar), by Stefan Molyneux, who purports to be the progenitor of UPB…I have some doubt about this, however. I think most of his apologetic for secular ethics has been around for some time. I could be wrong, and ultimately I don’t really care. Perhaps he coined the phrase and then added his own spin. Whatever. He can have the credit. It’s okay by me. The second source is a very condensed version of the basic assertions and conclusions of UPB. It gives you a good summary of what secular ethics is all about.

Click to access Universally_Preferable_Behaviour_UPB_by_Stefan_Molyneux_PDF.pdf


I was tempted to ask my readers if they could spot the big problem right off the bat, but the more I examined UPB the more I realized that it was so terribly fraught with inconsistencies that this amounted to a trick question. It also makes it difficult, at least for my scatter-brain, to know where or how to begin, so I apologize in advance if this article seems somewhate disconnected. The more I wrote, the more I had to go back and add things to the margins of my notebook. So…I’m going to start and hope that some semblance of order reveals itself. In any case, all my points will here, somewhere. 🙂


One of the first problems I noticed with UPB was that it doesn’t explain why preferential behavior is good behavior. That is, it doesn’t provide a convenient moral reference. This is a troubling and stark omission for a behavioral code which claims to be a universal Ethic. But I think I understand why the omission is there. A. Because it presumes “Objective Reality” as an ipso facto epistemological primary (that empiricism is proof of itself…which is a contradiction); and B. Because to include it highlights some serious inconsistencies with “Objective Reality”, which atheists and others, like those with Objectivist sympathies, don’t want to discuss (though they love to rant) and never resolve. Ever. And C. Because Atheism simply has no place for Good. It has an Ethic, but this is not the same thing. Behaving ethically does not necessarily equal behaving morally. And that’s the whole disaster of secular ethics in a nutshell. Not that religious ethics are any better. It’s just that they aren’t worse.

We understand that an Ethic gets its moral value from its foundational Metaphysic–metaphysics being the nature of what exists, and ethics being behavior that is ultimately consistent with the metaphysical primary, what I simply call the Metaphysic…and in between them is epistemology, which answers the question “What is Truth?” where Truth must be a necessary and ipso facto derivative of the the given Metaphysic. For example, Aristotelian philosophy essentially assumes that the Metaphysic is Existence, and its Epistemology thus is Objective Reality; it’s Ethic then is behavior which affirms the existence of Objective Reality–and of course one very common behavior is known as “being atheist”…and “being smug” is usually a corollary to this.  Unfortunately Aristotelian philosophy implies that Objective Reality is utterly empirical, which it’s not, and cannot be–which is why I respectfully reject Aristotle’s philosophy–and this presents a big problem for UPB because it implicitly relies upon the Aristotelian Metaphysic for its apologetics.

UPB seems pretty clearly to imply that the individual is the moral reference. That is, that UPB is “good”, or really, ethical, because it serves and affirms the individual. Unfortunately, while this sounds “so far so good”, this is as far as any semblance of rational consistency goes…at least for anyone who then has the intellectual foresight to ask the question thus begged: What is the individual? Or asked another way, what is the root nature of an individual’s “individual–ness”? (What is the nature of “I”?) This question naturally brings us to metaphysics, where atheism–remember, UPB’s roots are fundamentally atheistic–relies upon “Objective Reality”, which itself relies upon Scientific Determinism…which ends up being what is really meant by “Existence”. Scientific Determinism is the causal Platonic offspring of Science…the “why” to science’s “how”. Which is pretty ironic given how atheists love to name drop Aristotle as the philosophical father of their ideology. Ever since science decided to masquerade as philosophy and people decided to worship at the feet of lab-coated priests, we’ve gotten Scientific Deteminism as the Great Transcedant Cause in the Sky. Which is exactly like Divine Determinism. Oh, how the rivers of irony flow deep and thick and wide ’round here.

Part two real soon.


Why Authority (Violence as the Primary Means of Achieving Objectives) is a Direct Function of Determinism

The primary ethic and politic of determinism is authoritarianism. That is, once individual Will becomes merely an inexorable effect of a Singularity of Cause which decides all purpose, be it God, or Natural Law/Scientific Empiricism, Existence (what “is” as its own end, where “Existence” must necessarily subordinate all other definitions of all objects, rendering their distinctions moot), or Social/Cultural Construction, or any other garden variety ideal like the Common Good, the Underprivileged, etcetera etcetera, then man cannot by definition act purposefully, on his own, to any relevant, rational, or moral objective, regardless of how this objective may be defined. Thus, all knowledge and purpose can only be ascribed to some kind of transcendent (and rationally impossible) revelation according to those who proclaim themselves the ecclesiastical (ruling according to “spiritual” mandate) recipients of the “Wisdom” or “Truth” of the Great Cause (the Singularity of Cause).  Examples of this can be found in religious leaders who claim divine rulership according to “God’s Calling”, the Representatives of States who claim to act on behalf of the “People” or the “Common Good”, or Intellectual elites who claim natural insight or acumen with respect to the “language of the Universe”, where the universe speaks in the arcane vernacular of mathematics, statistical analysis, genetic and evolutionary processes, various research methodologies, etcetera, etcetera. In all of these cases, Truth, and thus necessarily all that Is, is a function of an abstract ideal which causes absolutely, and therefore categorically determines all that man does, and thus, by definition, all that man thinks. Man then can only be compelled and controlled by force (violence), since he possesses no real capacity for self-awareness and therefore no capacity for self-control. He cannot think, therefore he cannot choose. And therefore he must be ruled–and absolutely so, by those who DO think, and DO know: those, again, who are the self-proclaimed extensions of the Determining (Singularity of) Cause. In other words, they rule you, because they are, as far as you are concerned,  indistinguishable from that which determines you.