Saturday, May 21, 2011

On the Limits of Secular Morality

In my most recent post Sean writes "Both religion and morality are both the result of evolution, they're genetic. The difference between religious and secular morality is superficial."

I have heard some variant of this point on countless occasions and have often wondered and asked why an adherent to the secular world view would be motivated to behave morally. After all, there is no higher authority than the government, so why not do whatever suits you so long as you don't get caught? Inevitably the response is that via our logic we conclude that, if we want to be treated well by others, we will first treat others well. The golden rule in other words. Let us for the sake of argument ignore any religious connection to the golden rule and let us assume it is simply a product of the evolution and logic of mankind.

The golden rule absent God will not work. Suppose you were in the market for a gold watch. Suddenly a man appears before you on the street with just the watch you were looking for. He offers it for $1,000, roughly 20% less than the sale price at the established jewelry store. Just cause he is a swell guy, he offers a 5 year warranty when the jewelry store offers only 3 years. According to the golden rule, if you want to be trusted you should trust others first. You should buy the watch, but you violate the golden rule instead.

Another example. You are a wealthy individual with good credit. You have just been diagnosed with an incurable cancer and have but a few weeks to live. You have no heirs to worry about. Similarly, since you are about to die, you have no concerns in the least about how others may treat you in the future that doesn't exist for you. The golden rule has been rendered pointless for you. Time to screw some people who have wronged you. So you burn down the house of an ex. You blow up a business. You buy a very expensive car or two on credit and you trash them. The golden rule was useful for a while but not anymore. Why not have some fun?

If someone can explain how the golden rule can work absent a higher authority that serves to constrain our base impulses, please have a go at it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Competing Morality

I am still scratching my head over the pronouncement, in the Racine Journal Times yesterday, by "public school officials," that school vouchers are "morally wrong."

From what moral system does this pronouncement flow? Since this is the public schools with their exquisite sensitivity about the separation of church and state, I am quite certain that this is not stemming from a traditional religious morality.

That leaves us with a secular progressive, godless based morality, and indeed, according to that system of morality, vouchers would be "morally wrong." Wrong because it weakens the state, which wants to be the ultimate authority on all issues, moral or otherwise. Wrong because it violates the belief that the state, given proper resources, will best prepare students for the future - a secularly progressive future.

Let us not kid ourselves. The public school system teaches religion all day long. It is a secular progressive religion and the state is the ultimate source of all that is good. And it doesn't want its religion having to compete against any others. Is it any wonder they thing vouchers are "morally wrong?"

Friday, May 13, 2011

News Story Feels Unfair

The Journal Times has an uncanny knack for finding the sympathetic illegal alien like Christian, who "feels" it is unfair that he won't get a tuition subsidy to UW Parkside if Republicans get their way.

I am still waiting for the article featuring a hard working American citizen from, say, Zion Illinois, who, through no fault of her own resides on the Illinois side of the border and must pay full fare at Parkside, and who "feels" that it is unfair that illegal aliens get a tuition subsidy while she does not.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Abominable Commentary

A JT editorial yesterday criticized, as boneheaded, state Representative Robin Vos' vote to do away with regional transit authorities in our area.

From the editorial: The unelected "abomination" criticism from Vos that transit authorities would spend tax money, even though those boards were not elected, feeds into the recent rise in anti-taxing frenzy - including an advisory referendum in Racine County on "new taxes" for transit or rail that was defeated by a large margin.

So we have a representative who opposes taxation without representation and who recognizes that taxes for rail or mass transit are very unpopular, all while acting in accordance with the wishes of his constituents. What an outrage!

The JT I suppose would rather our representatives dismiss the concerns of rubes, ie the public, while returning to pre-revolutionary days when taxes were foisted upon us by royalty.

I prefer Robin Vos' vision.