Saturday, March 05, 2011

Morality vs Ethics- the definitions

I don't mean the same thing when I use the words "morality" and "ethics". I do not consider those words to be interchangeable, but to have discrete meanings, at least when I use them now.

Ethics = objective right and wrong.
Morality = subjective right and wrong; "situational ethics".

More detailed version:
When I think of "morality" I think of what the majority believes is right, here, now, in this situation. Usually it is a religious majority, but not always. Often, today, it is a collectivist statist majority (which, actually, is still a religious system).

This belief can (and usually does) change over time. It can be founded upon actual right and wrong, but only incidentally. It is usually very subjective, even though those who base their opinions upon it claim vehemently otherwise. Murder is objectively wrong and can be considered immoral, but so can silly things like smoking pot or having sex with certain consenting individuals. And murder can also be considered "moral" in some cases, if The State or a religion says it is OK. Morality can be based upon whatever is "legal" or criminalized. In this case, an act may be "moral" one day, and "immoral" the next. This is absurd to the extreme!

(Note: I have been told that what I am calling "morality" is actually "mores". So, to clarify this point, because I'd rather be right than be stubborn, I looked up the word "mores", and I got this definition:
"the essential or characteristic customs and conventions of a community". No, that's not what I am talking about. Customs and characteristics of a community might partly encompass morals and ethics, but seems separate from both.)

Ethics are what I think of as objective right and wrong. Unchangeable regardless of the prevailing culture. Based upon the Zero Archation Principle, and the recognition that such acts are never within your rights-- no matter what pretty names you give them, and no matter which "authority" claims in this instance they are OK. Ethics stay rooted in place.

Added: I just saw the best explanation ever, from "The Wrath of Khan", concerning the difference between the two:

"Ethics stem from the objective and reciprocal claims to self and property ownership. 
Morals stem from the subjective value judgments of self and property worth. 
Ethics exclusively concern rights and violations thereof. Morals concern values and violations thereof. Force can only be used when rights are violated. Social pressure when societal norms are violated."


"Thank you for your service"?

I read something in the weekly local paper that really pissed me off. It's probably better to vent a little here than to send another letter to the editor. This paper has no website, so I can't link to the original, unfortunately.

It was about some poor young deluded State pawn who was injured while in the military.

While committing the evil act of occupying a foreign country (Iraq) for "his" government, he was injured by a roadside bomb set by the locals. Of course, those defending their own territory were referred to as "terrorists" in the article. Sorry, but the invaders are the terrorists, not those using violence* to kill the invaders. But, The State's tools will never face that reality since it would require them to accept that they are the bad guys who would not get injured or killed in Iraq if they stopped doing the wrong thing.

The misguided kid then spoke of how anxious he is to get back to Iraq so he can continue killing people for the US government. He repeated the common hypnotic chant "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here" as his justification for getting his rocks off murdering people. No, you poor idiot; you fight them over there and give them a reason to come over here and fight. For generations yet to come. You are endangering your family, your yet-to-be-born children, your friends, and your neighbors by your acts of aggression and your total lack of ethics. And you are endangering me and those I love, too. Inexcusable!

Then, the columnist got all philosophic about how young fools, pardon- "heroes", like this are shouldering the burden of defending America. He wrote of the sacrifices they make, and how their families never know when they could be sent overseas, or whether they will ever come home. He is so proud of them. I could gag.

You are NOT "defending your nation"; you are propping up a corrupt global empire. Good job.

So, yeah, "Thank you for your service" in killing innocent people who are no threat to anyone who isn't being an aggressive invader.

Better yet, learn what Liberty really means, and STOP supporting those who are destroying it. Choose the right side to support against those who are the real threat. You won't even need to travel very far, and certainly won't need to cross any oceans.

*A bomb is indiscriminate, and could have injured innocent people as well, so I don't think this is an acceptable way to defend yourself or your home in most cases. "Collateral damage" is NEVER acceptable; not at any level. Yet, when the invaders are so technologically superior, sometimes you may feel forced to do things that are wrong and face the consequences, while recognizing you are stepping beyond what you have a right to do. I can't state categorically if this is the case in this instance.