Welcome back to the Scuttlebutt, the bar is open, if you could be so kind as to pour me a Four Roses Single Barrel while you’re at it?
Let’s talk about morality. I chose the word “morality” on purpose. I could have used ethics instead for most of this discussion, but I want to make several points here.
The Cambridge dictionary defines morality as: a personal or social set of standards for good or bad behavior and character, or the quality of being right and honest.
That’s pretty close to the original definition that I was taught back in the days when rocks were soft. Lately morality has gotten a bad name, and we’re told that “well, situational morality or situational ethics is more realistic…” We’re told that it matters what the “context” is, before we determine what’s right and what’s wrong. Oh, and “wrong” is so “judgmental” we should instead say “less appropriate.”
Look here you, morality does change slightly over time: For example, take divorce; once, it was a reason to excommunicate you, to shun you from polite society. Unless you were King, it was actually a reason to imprison or kill you. (it’s worth noting that at that time, and yes, I’m talking the end of the Middle Ages here, it was seen as moral to kill people for sinning.) That set of values went the way of the dodo thankfully. Yet it lingered on way into the 20th century, to the point that the king of England was forced to abdicate, for marrying a divorcée. (If you’re not familiar with this, look it up, then go slap your high school history teacher for failing to teach you history.)
But the point here is that it changes slowly, and only when all of society agrees that what was considered RIGHT is in fact WRONG, and what was considered WRONG, is in fact, not that big of a deal. Often the change is related to economics and power (which are as much the same thing as morality and ethics is.) For example, divorce was wrong-double-evil-bad-un-good because at the time, men held all the reins of power in western (and the vast majority of non-western) society. Marriage was as much a political and economic contract as it was an instrument of “love.”
For that matter, it still is in many ways. If you doubt it, examine the concept of “Pre-nuptial agreements,” tax laws, and how marriage & divorce affects them, as well as custody arrangements, etc. et al. Then go look at the last five decades of celebrity divorces.
Marriage was a contract that “I, the person with money/power, agree to take care of you financially and politically. You, agree to join your power to mine, for the good of us both, and our progeny.” Breaking that contract, left the woman “spoiled” and basically in ruin. The kids may or may not get screwed over at the same time. In short, breaking that contract HURT people, and may well have killed them due to starvation and exposure.
In time, as women’s power and economic freedoms gained ascension, this became less of a thing, and as a result, morality changed. The point here is that morality lags reality, it does not, nor should it, precede reality.
Note: We are not discussing “Judeo-Christian” morality here!
ALL Societies have a morality. Yes, even those that are not human. If you don’t believe me, go do some studying on wolf pack dynamics and their non-verbals. I have more than a little expertise at this, I have to, because I have a wolf hybrid that we rescued. Most of the morality in the wolf pack is hard-wired in. For example: when a wolf who’s not alpha, screws up, and gets “yelled at” by the alpha, they will go “belly up” or roll on to their back. This may be for taking something from the alpha’s den (in the wild) or from going into the kitchen and swiping the butter (in my house.) When a wolf gets called on it, it will do one of two things. Either go belly up, which is Wolf for “I am SO SORRY, kill me if you want to, look I am defenseless.” Or, they will decide that “You’re no longer the boss of me!” in which case you have a dominance fight, and the loser (in the wild) is exiled or killed.
So, where does morality come in? Once the wolf has gone belly up, morality (wolf style) says “it’s done, walk away.” To continue to berate or attack the miscreant is immoral, and will get the rest of the pack to turn on you. See you just harmed the pack by taking out a hunter that helps feed the pack for no reason. Failure to go belly up, when the pack’s rules are broken, will probably not get you pack leadership, as the rest of the pack will side with the Alpha, because you have shown that you can not live within the rules of the pack, so what sort of leader would you be?
In short, what we call morality, is really the mechanism by which the human (or wolf, or baboon, or…) machine called society, works. At base, it’s a way of ensuring that what you do, does not harm your society or other people. Failure to follow it creates chaos and real harm. In Henry the 8th’s case, it caused a war. In fact, there have been MANY wars over the years started by some group’s failure to honor the agreed morality, or by the clash of one society’s morality with another’s.
Much like friction, it can get in the way. Boy, if you could get rid of friction entirely, you would increase the efficiency of the spinning parts by about 500%!
BUT the machine won’t WORK without friction either. Take for example an automobile engine. Frictionless bearings?
BUT the engine won’t run without the friction between the crankshaft pulley, the belt, and the alternator pulley. It won’t provide power without the friction of the clutch, or the fluid friction in the automatic transmission and torque converter. It can’t get fuel without the friction in the fuel pump between the impeller and the fuel.
SO, while friction creates some problems, on the whole, we need it! Well, the same thing is true for morality.
Now, I talked about all that, so I could talk about this:
Morality at the national level is no different from at the personal level, in my not so humble opinion. There is nothing that it is moral for a government to do, either to an individual or another government, that it is immoral for an individual to do to another individual and vice versa.
Let’s take the most gross possible case, the taking of a life. In almost every moral model existent, there are times when it IS moral to take a life. For example, in self-defense or the defense of another. It’s less moral, but still acceptable in most models for you to take a life completely by accident, when that accident can not be reasonably foreseen, and what you did was reasonable… For example, you’re driving down the street at 25 MPH in a 25 zone, and a kid darts out between two parked cars right in front of you. You slam on the brakes but hit him anyway. He dies. Sad, horrible, but not criminal (immoral.)
Likewise, it is, I believe, moral for a government to take a life in the defense of itself or another, such as when a psychopath has killed and will kill again. Or when another nation attacks it. And in this case (nation on nation) everyone involved in the attack becomes fair game. You’re building war machines for the attack? Yeah, if you catch a bomb, too damn bad. You as an individual decide to declare war on the state by trying to blow up and kill members of the state? Self-defense by the state rules, your life is forfeit.
Along with that, there’s the “tragic accident” part. You live somewhere where your next-door neighbor is the head of a terrorist organization? Dude, sucks to be you, especially if said neighbor blows the building up to try to take his attackers with him. Frankly, even if the attacking nation blows you up, well, damn shame, but there’s no way you didn’t know that he was the head of ISIS. We’ll try to keep from killing you, but if you insist on running out into the street when a car is coming…
Now let’s look at immoral behavior: Someone accuses you of assault, so you lock them up, take away their right to speak, travel, earn a living… Yeah, not exactly moral behavior there. Yet that’s what’s happening to Peng Shuai.
It seems that the tennis star who accused the former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault, has now “announced that she is retiring from tennis forever” again recanting the claims, and saying that she will be exiting public life. This means that as soon as it is convenient, China will be executing her, or putting her in a reeducation camp for life, for the sin of accusing a member of the people’s party of doing something against the peoples.
Ridiculously, the western media is by and large, not calling them on this shit.
Is it moral for a person to require others to do something that they themselves refuse to do? Well, not since the “divine right of kings” went away. Yet we keep seeing politicians, the very same ones that demand we all wear masks all the time, caught refusing to wear a mask themselves. The list includes Stacey Abrams (the “I didn’t lose, you cheated, but the rest of the election was perfectly legit!” Loser that ran, and is running again for Governor of GA.) Obama, who just got caught scowling and maskless while yelling at the people who are building his new mansion in HI (not to be confused with his other mansion in Martha’s Vineyard) Alexandria Occasional-Cortex, Eric Swalwell, Governor Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer, and of course the President and his wife. In addition, of course, there’s that never to be sufficiently sneered at, little fuck Trudeau.
Another piece of moral failure is the way the whole “Freedom Convoy” thing has gone down. First off, we have the government of Canada using force, in the form of RCMP riot squads, not just arresting truckers for the sin of honking their horn (when they stood by for BLM protests and arrested no one.) But then using those same squads to arrest people for bringing food and fuel to people living in their trucks in sub-zero weather. Ask yourself if it would be legal for a company to do the same thing (send armed men to break up a protest outside that company’s front gates…) Let’s say for example that a union was picketing outside the gates of The Royal Bank of Canada. (The largest company in Canada.) Would it be legal and moral for the RBC to send people with guns and batons to lock the picketing workers up in their vaults? If it’s not moral and legal for a company, it’s not moral and legal for a government.
On top of that,, we have the way “GoFundMe” took in millions of dollars, for that convoy, then refused to give it to the organizers because “they’re protestors” Especially when they have given tens of millions of dollars to BLM… What, is it different when the protestor is black? If so, WHY? Further, why do you think the drivers in the freedom convoy are “white?” Here’s a hint for you, the VAST majority of truck drivers in Canada are Asian (for Pakistani and Indian values of Asian.) Oh, wait, I get it, “we all look alike to you.” The only nice thing about this is that several states are looking into this, and I suspect that some severe legal hammers are going to be swung. When this is all done, I wonder if GoFundMe will still exist. (I rather hope not.)
While we are discussing “failures of morality,” I need to ping once again on Caryn Elaine Johnson. Oh, you don’t know who that is? Let’s try her stage name: Whoopi Goldberg.” She has gotten off with a two-week suspension for saying “the holocaust wasn’t about racism, not like racism in America is, it was just two white groups hating on each other.” And we are again at “do we all look alike to you?” Try to imagine if, oh say, Bill Maher was to say, “you know, racism in America is no big deal, I mean it’s not like the holocaust or something important…” Not only would he be fired and “never work in this town again,” he would be lucky to LIVE. I mean I’m talking lynch mobs and firebombing his house levels of violence.
And then, of course, there’s the whole Ukraine (and by extension, Taiwan) thing. Totalitarian regimes, and I list both China and Russia under that category, do not believe in the sort of “what is moral for the individual is moral for the state and vice versa” philosophy that I hold to.
(If you want to believe that they are democracies, as they claim they are, you do you, but I have a bridge to talk to you about.) They believe, and historically have always believed, in a morality that says “I have the moral right to do anything I am strong enough to get away with.”
The key here is that if one gets away with it, the other will expect to as well. We can not afford to allow that to happen. If you think the supply chain issues are painful now, imagine what it would look like if Taiwan, with 40% plus of the world’s semiconductor production were suddenly to come under China’s control, or as is more likely, imagine what it would look like if the plants were destroyed in the attack, and subsequent war. Here’s a hint, the best guess I’ve heard for how long to recreate that plant is 5 years. That’s just to build it, not to get it running at the speed and efficiency it currently has. Extrapolate out how long to catch up to current production times, and deal with the backlog, you’re looking at a decade without a reasonable supply of microchips. Imagine for a second what that will do to our industry.
Morally this comes under that “protect your life or the life of another” piece. Yes, I know, we can’t be the world’s policemen. BUT we must look out for our own vital interests. I think this fits in that category.
Take care, watch your six,
Until next time I remain,
Yours in service.