A blog on objective thought in today's irrational, subjective world tackling some of the hardest questions of existence using reason and logic.
, all that is left is Winning, winning, winning
Published on December 9, 2007 By John Galt In Ethics
--Excellent Don Henley song that really conveys a meaning. Have a listen, it’s called “Garden of Allah”.

And he’s right. Because of subjectivism, we’ve taken any objective standard to right and wrong, good and evil, moral and immoral and thrown it out the window. The result is that all that matters is winning your argument, not being right because right doesn’t exist. We’re all in competition to see who can make whom supplicate to their will. It’s like a battle of wills and influence (or “pull” as Rand called it) to see who can enslave whom into their ideals which are based on absolutely nothing other than WANT.

American politics is a perfect example. Constantly attacking each other, putting spin, arguing over nothing. John Stewart has an entire TV program devoted to making fun of it, but it’s everywhere and we’ve done it to ourselves.

There is wrong and there is right. There is good and there is evil, and it exists outside of your perspective. I just finished reading a really great book (sorry I lent it out and don’t have the title with me) that is 136 pages and gets to the heart of the mater. (to paraphrase another Henley song)

There is always been what’s called the “Is/Ought Dichotomy”. The argument in ethics states that logic can tell you what is. But it can’t tell you what you ought to do, because there is no absolute to base values on. Thus you must have some other supreme, fundamental that dictates morality. For religion that is God. For socialism that is Society. Of course this is ridiculous and is the fundamental problem with both socialism and theology. The result is that people can do whatever they want, so long as they can cook up some excuse in the bible (easy to do it’s so contradictory) as to why their actions are the “will of God” or convince enough people to go along with them that “society dictates” and volia, you have morality! It is a poison that is slowly killing us. The first and most obvious result is a complete lack of freedom. Everything is becoming illegal for no other purpose than “it offends me” (or some other arbitrary group that has some PULL.)

There is an absolute that logic can tell you about and does allow you to dictate your morality independent of your perspective: YOUR LIFE. Life is the only thing that can be destroyed in the universe. Yes the constituent parts continue as does the energy, but the entity, the uniqueness that life is out of the minerals and carbon etc. can be destroyed. This is called death. The most fundamental principle that can and MUST guide any living being is to value their LIFE. To do otherwise, results in death and thus morality would not matter anymore. Thus, by definition YOUR LIFE is the core value that everything else must be based upon. Notice I say “YOUR” a lot, there is a reason for it.

All other values must be based on enlightened self-interest. That is, if your life is your fundamental value, then all other values must be based up on it and you must act in such a way that ensures that others will not act against you. The surest way to do so, is to not initiate force against another or their property. You are then ensured the right to defend yourself and your life without contradiction (see previous blog article about non-contradiction).

Religion calls for the sacrifice of your life to God. But the contradiction is that to if you sacrifice your life to God, you’ll be dead! -- Or a hypocrite because you didn’t take it literally and thus took half measures to ensure that you will continue to live while sacrificing. Oh and then you get the people that say “well you’ll go to heaven and heaven will be eternity of happiness”. How? By what means? Where? How will you be happy in heaven? Will simply existing in heaven make you happy? If there was a God he created causality for a reason. It means that you have to act to be happy. You can’t just exist. Any God I can conceive of is not going to waive this wonderfully simply requirement simply because you’re in heaven. And wait a second! If you believe this, then this world is only for misery and hardship in exchange for eternity later that’s great. I have an idea for people like this (i.e. terrorists): We’ll help send you there more quickly so that you get this whole suffering and hardship thing over with sooner. Apparently there is no minimum existence requirement to get it, so why not do it right away? Branch Dividian had it right! Quick! Everyone come up with a way that we can assist these poor suffering fools quickly and efficiently... oh wait! We’ve already done so: Iraq and Afganistan! Quick send these nut jobs over there to fight and die.

Socialism calls for the sacrifice of your life to society. But the contradiction is that society requires individuals for society to exist. So you’re either dead, and with it society (and ironically the ones that are sacrificed first are the ones that are most valuable to the continued existence of society), or you’re a hypocrite because you didn’t take it literally and saved some small part of you for yourself.

But then you get the “let’s not go to extremes” BS where you’re supposed to submit to a “reasonable” level of slavery, but not completely. Excuse me, but I have a right to live my life however I see fit. You don’t have a right to dictate what I can and cannot do unless I physically harm another. If I want to voluntarily give to charity because I determine that it will improve my life and make me happier, then great, I will do so. But you don’t have the right to FORCE me to do so. If I want to believe in God and act a Christian, then I will do so. But you don’t have the right to FORCE me to act like a Christian. The only person you get to act upon is yourself, no one else unless they give you permission. This is what I meant by YOUR life. You have control over you; no one else. As soon as you think you do have control or the right to control others without their permission, you’re a dictator and evil because you cannot possibly do a better job of managing another’s life than they can. That is their fundamental right and their fundamental responsibility NOT YOURS.
It is time that we got back to “WHAT IS” based on logic: These are the facts, they aren’t subject to spin or perspective. And discovered “WHAT OUGHT” based on logic: Your life is your highest value, act upon it with care and intelligence always choosing the path that will improve your life, and increase your happiness LONG TERM without physically harming another or their property.

This is the fundamental basis for a truly moral life. Not slavery to God or Society. Not allowing others to rule over your existence simply because they have more PULL than you do.

It isn’t coincidence that the people most likely to harm you and ultimately betray you are Born Agains (religion or socialist or new age or otherwise, it doesn’t matter). The reason is that their fragile and will use their fanaticism to justify anything. God, society, reincarnation, they all provide an excuse for any action you wish to take and place the blame on someone else or give an out that you will be forgiven by someone else so long as you repent and say a few hail marys.

When you live your life and take responsibility for your life, then there is only one person to answer to. The consequences are simple and absolute. The reality is absolute. The choices are clear and will always be done to act upon the improvement of the person’s life. I’ve seen this time and time again. The Atheist in the room is always by far the most moral, the most beneficial to do business with, and the most likely to act in such a way that improves their lives and yours in the process. While the born again is the most likely to destroy everything you’re working for and harm you greatly if you give them the opportunity. This isn’t coincidence, there is a logical reason for it and it is consistent.

It’s ironic that people scream that atheists can’t possibly be moral people because they don’t believe in anything, while the exact opposite is true: They believe in their lives. In happiness. In improving their existence, and with it, the existence of others. They live their lives, for LIFE, not for death, or some promised afterlife. And as a result, they are the most moral people there are.

Comments
on Dec 30, 2007
Your life is your highest value, act upon it with care and intelligence always choosing the path that will improve your life, and increase your happiness LONG TERM without physically harming another or their property.


How do you reconcile this with the life in the womb, a position that you and I were once in and allowed to come to term by our mothers?
on Dec 30, 2007
There is wrong and there is right. There is good and there is evil....


I agree. I navigate my life's path according to the Ten Commandments and the teachings of the Catholic Church which are taken from Scripture and Apostolic Tradition.

The Atheist in the room is always by far the most moral, the most beneficial to do business with, and the most likely to act in such a way that improves their lives and yours in the process.


So where does the Atheist get his moral standards and ethical codes of conduct and principles of causality from? For example, the athiest in the room would not steal for...so for the atheist why is stealing is wrong
on Dec 30, 2007
This is the fundamental basis for a truly moral life.


If not from God and His Laws, where does this fundamental basis for a truly moral life come from?
on Dec 30, 2007
Religion calls for the sacrifice of your life to God. But the contradiction is that to if you sacrifice your life to God, you’ll be dead! -- Or a hypocrite because you didn’t take it literally and thus took half measures to ensure that you will continue to live while sacrificing


So you’re either dead, and with it society (and ironically the ones that are sacrificed first are the ones that are most valuable to the continued existence of society), or you’re a hypocrite because you didn’t take it literally and saved some small part of you for yourself.


You reach that kind of conclusion when you concentrate totally on self. You become self-obsessed and self-absorbed. You dont think about what is around you.

That is why you misrepresent what both God and Society say. Neither God nor Society ask people to "Sacrifice Themselves". Both ask that people act and behave according to certain moral codes. Death is not up to the individual. It is like Birth. The If and the When for both are not determined by the self. God determines that. The proofs of this simple fact are all around you, but self-obsession makes it impossible for you to see.

A Woman can take all the best fool-proof birth-control measures that exist and still she gets pregnant and give birth to a human being. And people get tossed in the ocean by a sinking ship or exploding aircraft and still some live and some die for no obvious reasons whatsoever. In fact some of the dead are much better swimmers and more healthy than some of the survivors.

If Science is a realible source of information, and I believe it is, then Societies as we currently know them developed out of a state very similar to what you are recommending. They were living with "their lives" as the only Value to be preserved .... well, according to science that wasn't very conducive to self-progress or self-preservation and by trial and error (or evolution if you will) they came up with Co-operation and living for more than one-self. the group's value proved more beneficial for the self and again it progressed to tribes then to societies with rules of conduct and a way of living with the sense of partnership with others for the benefit of self and of ALL.

Regardless of the origin of the moral codes guiding the development of those rules of conduct (i.e. is it God or trial/error/eveolution) is not important. what is important is that those moral codes exist for the benefit of both self and of All. without them, the ancient ancestors found that both of the self and the society get hurt and disappear. none of the moral codes of any society or religion say "self" is the only Value to be cherished.

Going back tens of thousands of years is not really a good idea at all. Is it?

we dont have to reinvent the wheel. do we? what a shame that some would like to try that. But it is their life after all ... they better watch for their "self" though. that road back is not in its best interest.



on Jan 02, 2008
John Galt writes:
The Atheist in the room is always by far the most moral, the most beneficial to do business with, and the most likely to act in such a way that improves their lives and yours in the process.


lula posts:
If not from God and His Laws, where does this fundamental basis for a truly moral life come from?


ASAXYGIRL POSTS:
Rational thinking. Logic. The atheist wouldn't steal because stealing is wrong. Period. To take from another, to cause harm to another is wrong. We are cognizant, thinking beings...well, some of us are. I do not need a book, written by men to tell me what is right and wrong. If you do, have at it. I choose to think.


No, the fundamental basis for a truly moral life doesn't come from rational thinking or logic. Even the thief while he is planning and committing the theft is rationally thinking. His logic is that he will get away with it.

How/on what does the atheist base the notion of right from wrong?

John Galt writes:
It’s ironic that people scream that atheists can’t possibly be moral people because they don’t believe in anything, while the exact opposite is true: They believe in their lives. In happiness. In improving their existence, and with it, the existence of others. They live their lives, for LIFE, not for death, or some promised afterlife. And as a result, they are the most moral people there are.



What is the meaning of life? Why are we here in the world?



on Jan 20, 2008
Now, why do you need a god to tell what is right, and what is wrong?

Especially your version of god (what ever version that is)

Society (you and I) determins what is right and wrong.

Right/wrong changes drastically over very short periods of time. Slavery, womens rights, etc....

Ten years ago, who would have ever thought that an american president would publically advocate ANYTHING that could be considered torture?

God didn't change his mind on any of the above did he?

What about the people in the americas, before the europeans visited, did they have rules? Sure, there were societies that were violent, but don't call the kettle black....we managed to nearly kill them all.

Right and Wrong?????? Why is it the standard chirstian response of Invade,Bomb,Kill,Kill,Kill is considered right?

I have seen this argument (needing god to determine right/wrong) several times, it just makes my stomach turn. Religion, how evil can it get?
on Jan 22, 2008
Now, why do you need a god to tell what is right, and what is wrong?


For true freedom and to prevent chaos in our life.

on Jan 22, 2008
Especially your version of god (what ever version that is)


Yes, wasn't one of the Enlightenment's icons, Voltaire, who said something to the effect that in a good discussion, defining one's terms is important.

By God, I mean the Creator of all things, man included as well as the Maker of the laws that are manifest in nature and the moral (Natural Law) that is written upon man's heart that man is obligated to obey. God exists of Himself, and is Infinite in all Perfections. God had no beginning, He always was and always will be.

There's more, but you must get the idea by now.
on Jan 22, 2008
Society (you and I) determins what is right and wrong.


Yes, this is true...but what IS right and wrong is based upon God's absolute law. God is the Creator and He gets to decide what is right and what is wrong. We are the created ones and we get to obey or reap the consequences.



on Jan 22, 2008
Religion, how evil can it get?


Again, let's define religion. By religion I mean that act of justice by which we render to God both privately as individuals and publicly as social beings the honor, gratitude, and obedience due Him and in the way prescribed by Him. There is only one true religion revealed by God...it started as Biblical Judaism and was fulfilled by Christ who established His Church and practice of Christianity. All the rest are knock-offs, heretical versions that mix truth and error.

Christianity itself isn't evil...but there are some evil people who call themselves Christians.

on Feb 18, 2008
Lula, Evil is a subjective notion of the majority of the tribe who sees the survival of an individual (a thief) as endangering the the survival of the group. Good is the same thing the other way around. It is the subjective notion of individuals of the group mentality that the good of the group individual only comes about by each individual's willingness to be a part of the survival of the whole group.

"Evil" would get bred out of most species because most species aren't nearly as flexible as humans. We have lots of survival tools, and most animals have relatively few. But for humans, "evil" is as useful a method of an individual surviving as "good" is for a group surviving.

In public, the majority writes the law and the history, and the group holds this power by force. Meaning, where an individual may get away with stealing, he'll never get away with sneaking in and rewriting the history books. Group agenda created religion to keep these non-group individuals at bay and to try to encourage, some through love and some through fear, not to go the individual route.

At this point, so far along in the history of the species, much of what we see as good and evil is merely indoctrinated. This is why we have the cliche "The apple never falls far from the tree." "All for one" people breed other "all for one" people (for the greater part) and "me me me" people indoctrinate other "me me me" people (again for the most part - there are outliers on both sides.)

Mathematically, groups have a far better chance of survival than individuals. The human species as a whole would have a FAR better chance of survival if it would see itself as one group, but as you know it doesn't. It doesn't because long ago this "one big group" was scattered all over into lots of smaller groups, and each of those groups have used their survival methods for years and will not give them up for the sake of becoming a part of a bigger group. That's where religion divides the Earth Group and indoctrination perpetuates it. It is rare (but not impossible due to outliers) to find a Christian indoctrinated child suddenly become an adherent of some other religion. In American society, it is easier for these outliers to occur, however, because America has become a "melting pot" which is another way of saying "many smaller groups becoming one bigger group." Finding a fundamentalist Muslim who suddenly decides to be Christian is, while still possible, less likely, because their group is not a melting pot and so the indoctrination is far less varied.

A group's collective decision of what makes survival of the group more likely is the source of religion. Religion was also a part of the survival of the human species because those groups which adopted an "all powerful figure" to keep the individuals in line (or give them a reason to be put to death or banished) maintained greater group integrity through the use of force or coercion.

Today the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Whether the human species survives its own continual growth in size will be determined by whether or not we can ever see all of us as one group - The Earth Group. The thing that is most responsible for keeping that from happening is organized religion.

I find it ironic, and almost pleasurable, that zealotry is now the "individual" and tolerance of differences a necessity.
on Mar 06, 2008
OCK POSTS:
Lula, Evil is a subjective notion of the majority of the tribe who sees the survival of an individual (a thief) as endangering the the survival of the group. Good is the same thing the other way around. It is the subjective notion of individuals of the group mentality that the good of the group individual only comes about by each individual's willingness to be a part of the survival of the whole group.

Hi Ock,

"Evil" would get bred out of most species because most species aren't nearly as flexible as humans. We have lots of survival tools, and most animals have relatively few. But for humans, "evil" is as useful a method of an individual surviving as "good" is for a group surviving.


These comments about the nature of evil are very interesting. Evil is a mystery that has long puzzled mankind...and various belief systems have proposed different ideas about it. This is the first time I've read an explanation that it originatedin the evolutionary struggle for existence. It won't surprise you that I disagree.

Christianity, paticularly Catholicism, offers a clearer understanding of evil, sin, suffering and death. To me, evil is always a lack of something, the absence of due good. Evil has no positive existence...it's a privation of good. We know from revelation that Evil is a reality. We also know that God never permits physical evil unless some good can come from it...this indeed is a mystery to our very limited human comprehension.

On evil one of the best books I'veever read is by a Jesuit, Fr. Benedetto, Fundamentals in the Philosophy of God. He draws an important division with respect to evil...moral evil is sin that is a deliberate violation of God's moral law...it's defined as the absence or lack of conformity that should be present between human conduct and the rule of norm of what that conduct ought to be. Physical evil is a defect or privation of a perfection in a beingmarring its natural integrity or in the exerciseof its normal activities or in both. Physical evil consists in the pain (suffering) bodily or mental.

Sin and not suffering is the prime analog of evil. Sin or moral evil isthe only real total evil in the universe. Sin can never be willed positively, not even as a means to a good end. Physical evil can be positively willed by God as a morally good means to a good end.
on Mar 06, 2008
Group agenda created religion to keep these non-group individuals at bay and to try to encourage, some through love and some through fear, not to go the individual route.


Christianity, specifically Catholicism, the fulfillment of Biblical Judaism, is the only revealed religion by God. I would agree that all the others are man-made. As far as going the individual route, each person's life journey on earth is an individual endeavor. It's a time of testing, of probation. We have freedom to reject God's wisdom, but there is a price to pay. Yes, no man is an island. We mustbe a part of the rest of humanity and in all we do work in this regard for the greater good. God has provided three spheres of authority of which He is to be the Head, Christ the King and Lord of Lords....the family, the Church and the government.

Today the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Whether the human species survives its own continual growth in size will be determined by whether or not we can ever see all of us as one group - The Earth Group. The thing that is most responsible for keeping that from happening is organized religion.


WEll we are all part of the human race...and as such we are on this earth for a very short time considering we are eternal souls with eternal destinies. It's not so much that we all become one group it's more that we are able to get along with one another...for that to happen we will have to change our tune and love one another...It's love that makes the world keep going round. That's a tough order as is transforming the world because we are all affected by the Fall. It's not impossible though...for the grace of God is available to everyone toenable him to transcend the "spirit of the world". Our view in this life is that of the rear of a tapestry. The view from the front is yet to be seen by us.

In the experiences of life thrugh which each individual passes, one can observe that there are indeed moral values which exist. A set of objective principles is therefore essential, to enable human beings to discern truth. The late Pope John Paul difined love as being a disposition toward goodness, thus truth and love are inseperable realities. Man can only fully realize himself by seeking to conform to absolute principles. In this way the person becomestruly free to love his fellow man.
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