Saturday, May 27, 2017

Retail Sophistry

Link: The (Stoopid) Case For Evil

The author of the piece, witty or insightful on any number of issues at times, is entirely right: one should rationally choose to be evil.

Provided one accepts two tiny but disastrously stupid premises:
1. That you'll get away with it here and now.
2. That here and now is all there is, infallibly, and human existence ends at death.

Because if, and only if, those are both infallibly certain, being evil is a no-brainer.

Maybe - just maybe - life isn't like that, neither here, nor hereafter.
Maybe, by not being the World's Greatest Asshole, you'll avoid untold numbers of fat lips and black eyes.
Maybe, by not f**king someone else's cheating wife, you won't get blown in two by a pissed off husband with a shotgun. Even if you pass up the pussy someone else will get.
And hey, maybe she has gonosyphiherpaloids, because she's already f***ed twenty other guys, and by passing on the offering, your dick doesn't fall off.
Maybe by not f**king over everyone you can, you won't get tied to a cinder block and dropped in a lake, or have your house set on fire by a mob, or get dragged off to prison forever for breaking every law writ by God and man.
Just for starters.

Secondly, let's bear well in mind that raw capitalism is just as fallaciously stupid as raw communism: both assume that material wealth and well-being on earth is all that matters in life.
As expressed in "He who dies with the most toys, wins  dies. (There, FIFY.)

So if such materialism were true, why are so many rich people so neurotically unhappy?
Why are so many people of lower to middling wealth vastly more satisfied with their lives?
Are you really stupid if you're the latter?
Are you smart if you choose a lifetime of attempted wealth, with the associated level of misery?
And how does any system of economics value a horde of intangibles: doing something worthwhile, helping others, raising your children safe, free, and better off than you, or hundreds of other things which are beyond any  valuation in economic terms?
We have a name for people who don't feel any of those pulls of intangible virtue: sociopath.

And speaking of sociopaths, if man and life here and now is the only thing there is, how can anyone stand in judgment of anyone, e.g., Charles Manson? How can anyone who thinks evil is rational call anyone evil or wrong, except from self-serving tautology?
The nihilism of such an outlook ends, as always, on the rocks of reality.

And lastly, who can tell you - authoritatively - that this life is all there's ever going to be, and it ends at your death?
(Except, of course, someone choosing evil "rationally".)
Who's ever been there and come back to tell us convincingly that there's nothing there?

What of Pascal's Wager:
If God doesn't exist, and I don't serve him, I lose nothing.
If God doesn't exist, and I do serve him, I lose little.
If God does exist, and I don't serve him I lose everything.
If God does exist, and I do serve him, I gain everything.
The rational bet is not to choose evil, but rather the opposite.

The very existence of evil argues for a deity.
Everyone knows what is evil, particularly when it is done to them, with or without any teaching of same. Even a dog - lacking any moral instruction whatsoever - knows instinctively the difference between someone accidentally stepping on its tail, and being maliciously kicked.
Everyone understands a standard of good exists. And they all know they don't meet it (however much one may attempt to rationalize that reality).

And only taking that rationalization beyond sanity could allow someone to argue the existence of both good and evil, and suggest with the slightest whit of seriousness to aspire to the latter.

It's sheer madness and idiocy.
The sophistry referenced in the link is philosophy for the mentally and morally retarded.

The prior practitioners are to be found in cemeteries and prisons throughout the land, or the local skid row: go, please, and ask of them what riches their lifestyle and choices have provided them.

There is far more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in the referenced petty silly philosophy.


Retired Spook said...

I've condensed my Rules for Living down to three things. One came from an Army Sergeant in Mogadishu, one from a former soldier/explorer/hunter/naturalist/president, and one from a really dumb movie. Your list may be different, you may think I'm an idiot for using this list, but I'm the one who has to shave in the morning, and I'd like to be able to look in the mirror when I do it.

1. Do what you know is right. (SSgt Keni Thomas, Charlie Co., 2nd Batt, 75th Rangers)
2. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. (Theodore Roosevelt)
3. Be excellent to each other! (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure)

Jim Scrummy said...

Retired Spook, great list!

As I stated at Cappy's bleg, I can't give into evil. I understand the arguments to doing so, but it's not part of my DNA. I've been tempted a few times in my life to give in to it, but couldn't. Besides I like fighting the good fight that never ends.

Congrats on your "one million served" Aesop! Great stuff!

Wendy Stringer said...

Saw your response in the WRSA Captain Capitalism: The Good, The Bad, And The Stupid thread and came here to read it and thought I would respond.

Not to say you are not right. Just that other people may not be as high-minded as you.

I believe that Captain Capitalism is saying something that needs to be said. I also believe that he is speaking in his "professional consulting" persona. On his consulting page at page he explains: "Hello, I’m Aaron Clarey and I’m an asshole."

I think what he is describing is simply what many people will do in a world where the rich and powerful (and the "protectors" of society) don't get punished, the stupid get rewarded for their stupid behavior, and the smart, morally upstanding and hard working people get to pay for it all, and get punished to the full extent of the law if they break any of the rules.
The "Golden Rule" holds true across all faiths, but enough injustice and corruption and many people will lose faith and say "What's the use?".

On the various blogs on the preservation of our people and Western Civilization it is discussed the importance of marriage and having and raising children. However, in a world where women can turn on their husbands and use the legal system against him (even willing to lie about his being abusive) to get the kids, the house, the car and child support and he is left to pay for it all and find another place to live and survive on what little he may have left, is "civilization" worth saving?

In that case many marriageable men are going to go their own way and not take the risk.
I think it is funny that the apparent long term result - at current course and direction - of western feminism will be a future generation of girls and women living in a world world where the Muslim standards of treating women will prevail.

In a world where the wicked are not punished for their evil behavior (to try to use the Bibical line of thought here I think), the common good people, at least some of them, perhaps many of them, are going to get discouraged and cop the "me first and screw everyone else attitude".

You do (or at least I did) over time get to the point establishing limits and boundaries to protect yourself against stupid people who would happily drain you of all you have. Hopefully by that time you haven't lost too much or become too bitter and can still live life in some balance of being able to be kind where kindness is called for but still being careful and protective of what you have to protect for yourself.

Yes, I see your point of fighting the good fight and persevering to the end. As we get older we see the value of things better, see that some people can be trusted (and if we were lucky we picked a good life partner and have a long term marriage) and we realize that we will not live forever and have to decide how we will live the rest of our lives and how we will go out.

Just some of my thoughts.

Now off to do something preparedness related as my way of honoring those who fought and were wounded or who died fighting to preserve our freedom this Memorial Day.

Anonymous said...

The thing about Philosophy, as currently taught, is that it's a closed system. Philosophy professors were (surprise), Philosophy majors who got their BA, MA and PhD in Philosophy without ever having to put their ideas into action in the real world. (Incidentally, I had one Engineering professor who did the same, we called him Dr Asshole). You can tell your average 18-22 year old college student anything, and they'll look at you like it was the most profound thing they'd ever heard, they lack the experience, and perhaps the intelligence, to know the difference. I recall my own Philosophy prof telling us "An acorn has no choice but to grow into an oak tree, but a human can grow into anything he or she wants". We swallowed it whole because we couldn't tell horseshit from peanut butter.

Gone are the days when logic was an integral part of philosophy education (having been moved to the math department and called "boolean algebra"). Instead you get existentialist horse squeeze. And the one thing one must NEVER ask about a philosophy is "Does it work?". Note the contrast to Pascal's Wager, where outcome plays a major role.

All that said, I think a big part of what's happening in our society now is not that people are IMmoral, but Amoral. The wolf that comes into your yard and takes your child isn't being immoral, it's what wolves DO, they see prey, they kill prey, they eat prey. Morality isn't a question for them. Some humans, raised without a moral compass, are now acting the same way. Perhaps the solution is the same as for the wolves, i.e. bullets.

Mark D