Thursday, December 21, 2017

Responding to Imperial Energy, December 21st 2017


IMPERIAL ENERGY asks;

"On the subject of moral responsibility, what is your take on the argument made by Bruce Waller than since we do not have (libertarian) free will, moral responsibility must go by the board?

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/against-moral-responsibility"


The assertion is often made that because free will is a non-entity that moral accountability is wrong. This is paradox on multiple levels. First, how can moral accountability be "wrong" if "wrong" does not exist? This is like the liberal that says he has a right to advocate censorship. He believes that he has the right to use his freedom of speech to advocate against free speech. "You cannot censor me while I advocate censorship" is his essential assertion. Oh but we may, and the intelligent thing for a state to do is agree with the censor and kill him, (thus censoring him and giving him what he wants).

If a man is the sum of his genetics + environmental inputs then there is no rational claim that we cannot modify his inputs or even genetics. Saying "we should not hold people accountable because it is wrong," is using notions of right and wrong to support the abolishment of notions of right and wrong. It is akin to using the logic of monarchy to support democracy, so that the "divine right of kings" becomes the "equal rights of the people." It is using the logic of a prior system to support overthrowing that system, like how communists are all atheists and yet believe in the "salvation" of equality, and the "original sin" of inequality — thus practicing a kind of heretical secular crypto-Christianity, complete with notions of rapture in the form of historical destiny, while believing they are not.

If there is no free will, then we just wind up recreating all notions of accountability again as notions of inputs.

"Negative inputs" replaces "deterrence," as the logic that supports punishment. Even if the punishment does not work it is acceptable because without any system of right and wrong there is no reason NOT to give the victim, (or even the public) satisfaction, since this provides the public with positive inputs.

Similarly, we should not allow innocent people to be punished because that provides an incentive, (negative input) to disrespect the law, which generates social disorder. Thus we recreate the rule of law.

Without morality, might becomes right and the state's legitimacy goes from being one on the basis of religious logic such as divine right, or based on popular sovereignty, to one based on "because it has all the guns dummy."

Basically, we wind up doing everything we are already doing because what we are already doing works. All of the logic of "rights," "freedoms," "moral obligations," etc., simply gets recreated with pragmatism "because it works," or "because there is no moral reason not to because morality itself is a spook," or "because might makes right." The only thing that might change is that we would probably be much more willing to use genetic modification on prisoners, and eugenics in general. Bruce Waller's argument does not lead to where Bruce Waller wants it to go; it does not lead to a morally permissive utopia. It leads right back to the reality we already live in: to violence being the ultimate source of sovereignty, and to there being no reason not to.




1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the response.


    Agree with your conclusion:

    "Basically, we wind up doing everything we are already doing because what we are already doing works. All of the logic of "rights," "freedoms," "moral obligations," etc., simply gets recreated with pragmatism "because it works," or "because there is no moral reason not to because morality itself is a spook," or "because might makes right." The only thing that might change is that we would probably be much more willing to use genetic modification on prisoners, and eugenics in general. Bruce Waller's argument does not lead to where Bruce Waller wants it to go; it does not lead to a morally permissive utopia. It leads right back to the reality we already live in: to violence being the ultimate source of sovereignty, and to there being no reason not to."

    100%.

    However, we disagree with your premises.

    In following exchange, you can see, more or less, Waller's position:


    http://www.naturalism.org/resources/book-reviews/exchange-on-wallers-against-moral-responsibility

    ReplyDelete

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