Moralism

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Revision as of 11:26, 14 October 2009 by Woozle (talk | contribs) (some additional thoughts... the "in other words" sections need to be re-contextualized; they're more like logical consequences than rephrasings)

Overview

Moralitarianism, a.k.a. morality-based thinking or moral authoritarianism, is the belief that a community must assign blame or innocence in ways which reinforce the community's existing morals, rather than based on objective evidence. It is firmly in opposition to the central premise of science, which is that truth can only be determined by the careful study of impartial observations (sometimes referred to disparagingly as "reality-based thinking" by moralitarians).

In other words: Moralitarianism holds that, regardless of what the evidence may show, people whose morals we agree with must never be held accountable for their bad actions because that is damaging to our credibility, while assigning blame to someone whose morals we disagree with is always acceptable.

Put yet another way: Moralitarianism is the belief that good is derived from adherence to a set of moral rules (and bad derived from violating those rules). The results of one's actions are instead viewed as rewards for following the rules (or punishments for breaking them) dispensed by some authoritative metaphysical agent, rather than being due to the execution of natural laws.

This is in sharp contrast to the rationalist view that good or bad derive from the results of one's actions, rising from the impartial execution of natural laws, and that moral codes are nothing more than approximate guidelines for maximizing good results -- a map, not the territory.

Conservatism

This belief seems to form the core of contemporary American conservatism and explains the seemingly shameless tendency among its adherents to rationalize their position using whatever arguments seem to support their case at the moment (cherry-picking), disregarding consistency between one argument and the next and ignoring or dismissing the need for factual accuracy.

Examples

  • the conservative insistence on blaming Clinton for the 2008 mortgage crisis when in fact there is no real reason to do so and there are many much stronger reasons to blame George W. Bush for causing it, if any one person is to be held responsible

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