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Two kinds of morality

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Posted 07/08/13 - 5:34 PM:
Subject: Two kinds of morality

I am reading interesting comments about communist morality, in a book devoted to Judaism, published in 1975. The authors are two rabbis, D. Prager and J. Telushkin. A Christian theologian would probably make similar observations.

Marxists and theologians, they write, "are both motivated by the desire to perfect the world and establish a utopia on earth. ... Both promote all-encompassing worldviews. But they diametrically oppose one another in almost every other way." The authors remind us that communists rejected "all morality derived from nonhuman [i.e. God] and nonclass concepts," as stated in 1920 by Lenin. ... "Marxist morality sanctions any act so long as that act was committed in the interest of [economic and political] class struggle." Nothing that Stalin, and Mao did was immoral, according to such ideology.

Theologians, on the other hand, hold "that morality transcends economic, national, and individual interests." God's commandments are objective rather than subjective. Evil human acts are condemned, no matter what economic or political gains are derived from them. That is the essential difference. Greed in human nature, they emphasize, "may have helped create capitalism, but capitalism did not create greed in human nature."

Theologians also deplore social injustice. But they reject brutal proletarian revolutions because "the roots of evil and injustice lie not in economics or society but in man himself." This has to do with the concept of freedom. "For Marxism, which conceives of the world in materialist terms, bondage is defined solely as servitude to external sources such as slave owners, capitalist bosses, or other forms of material inequality. Freedom is liberation from such servitude." People, as stated in the Communist Manifesto, written by Marx and Engels, must get rid of economic chains binding them. Then they will automatically cease to be evil.

Theologians, on the other hand, see two kinds of liberation, from external and from internal bonds. "Once liberation from external servitude takes place, one must then liberate oneself from internal domination, the domination of one's life by passions, needs, irrationality and wants." The conflict between theologians and Marxists "is not economic, it is moral." Proletarian dictatorship was practiced in several countries; the results show that "when Marxist revolutionaries attain power they are at least as crual as their predecessors."

Philosophical differences about morality, among different kinds of theologians, are minimal, as far as I know. But attempts to impose morality are not very successful. Why is it so? What can be done to improve the situation, to bring our reality a little closer to "utopia" dreams?

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Posted 07/09/13 - 2:19 AM:

Though the concept of a utopian society seems ideal at first glance, I often wonder about how truly beneficial it would be to us as a species. Would it aid our intellectual and emotional growth? Or merely hinder it.

In any case, your question as to what would produce a reality closer to utopia differs from person to person. My answer would be acceptance, autonomy, philosophy, and love.

There are many examples of the rights of the living being championed these days. The successful filibuster in Texas concerning Planned Parenthood and the repeal of DOMA are a couple that come to mind. More and more people are beginning to accept each others differences, respect each others autonomy, and think outside the box that is society's "norms". I believe if we continue along this path we will draw closer and closer to the "ideal" society.

Due to this world being all too imperfect; hate, discrimination, greed, and corruption will likely always exist. People will be people. From what I've seen, we crave peace because our lives are full of chaos. This poses a problem when they realize that life is chaos. Existence itself is chaos even on a molecular level. It is only in non-existence that true peace can be found.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather work to change this world I live in than give up my own existence. I'm not saying I love life. I typically despise it. I do, however, recognize its potential. I hope that by refusing to be a doormat for society and a prisoner of our pasts, I can with my own awareness educate others on the potential we have... a potential that just needs to be reached.

I'm not religious. Still, I believe a sentient society can be crime free. I do not believe we can control nature. Nor do I believe we should try to. I do believe that it is possible people are capable of choosing to do good and to not do bad. Therefore, though natural disasters cannot be avoided, through some common sense combined with a lot of critical thinking, humans can choose to coexist peacefully and work together because of the differences they may have (not despite them).

This is only possible... not at all likely... but possible. Still, because it is possible, I will aim for it.

How could it happen?

Practice Acceptance - We, as a whole, would need to accept people wholly for who they are and stop trying to fit them into society's norms.

Respect Autonomy - We, as a whole, would be required to understand that every person has a right to make choices concerning their lives and not pass judgment on them for those choices.

Do Philosophy - We, as a whole, would have to think outside the box that our current society limits us to. We'd have to be prepared to ask those uncomfortable questions, not because there are answers, but because their most likely aren't.

Love Eachother - We, as a whole, would need to love eachother enough to sacrifice our personal achievements in this world in favor of collective achievements.

Again, these are only my opinions... and the odds are against them. Still, I'm clinging to that hope.
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Posted 08/19/13 - 10:38 AM:

The main problem I find with both the Marxist and the Theological views is that for them to work ideally, they require that everyone submit to them.

I know that we are talking about morality, but justice is closely tied to our conceptions of morality. To this extent, I tend to like John Rawls principles of justice:

First: each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with similar liberty for others.

Second: social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both (a) reasonably expected to be to everyone's advantage, and (b) attached to positions and offices open to all....

The utopian ideal here is about being as individually free to pursue one's own version of happiness as possible.


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Posted 12/13/13 - 12:16 PM:

A Utopian system will never come to pass in our current age - people have to love each other more than they love themselves for it to work. The good of the whole, no one left behind, my weakness hurts everyone, will be popular catch phrases in the steps leading to such a realization.
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