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On the Nature of Absolute Morality


Vladimir
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On the Nature of Absolute Morality

This and other meanderings on my blog.

MoralImperialism2.jpg

The concepts of morality and imperialism have found themselves in a peculiar paradox on Planet Bob. Already shouts go up from the gallery, 'Morality and imperialism are mutually exclusive! The only relationship is opposition!' This is the common view from the side of moralism, but it is a superficial one: morality and imperialism, far from being mutually exclusive, are in fact two sides of the same coin. This is implicit in the attacks that some alliances now make upon the global opposition to espionage on Planet Bob -- the claim being that it is a moral view created by the New Pacific Order in its own interests, thus making the dual implications that morality is based on individual interest, and that morality goes hand in hand with imperialism. As it happens this example is incorrect, but the conclusion is isn't, and thus frames our investigation nicely.

Defining the Concept

The first question we must pose ourselves: what exactly is imperialism? At its most basic it is the dictation of another entity's actions without their consent. How and why this is done varies, but certain constants must always exist, and at the forefront of this is a code of right and wrong. Any apparatus of control necessitates certain rules along which it, and by extension everyone under it, must operate. Of course, such exists inside every alliance and every institution -- in joining any group we agree to abide by its rules, whether written in law or lying unwritten in the culture and ideology of the group. What differentiates imperialism from this is that unwilling groups are effectively forced into abiding by the rules (written or unwritten) through threats, coercion and war. It is, simply put, a demand that everyone should do as a central group demands, rather than a social contract to keep within certain limits for the mutually accepted common interest.

And so we enter onto the subject of morality. One can see that every individual, every alliance, and every bloc operates with a morality of some sort or another -- a morality simply being an accepted code of right and wrong. However, what we have seen recently is the coming to the fore of an 'international' conception of morality; that is to say, a code of right and wrong that applies to everyone whether they accept it or not, with the implication that if one does not accept it they are unworthy and should be subject to sanctions. This is a belief in an 'absolute morality' (a morality that is true everywhere always), with the caveat that the centre's morality rather than anyone else's is the correct one.

From these two facts the concepts almost seem to be one in the same. If one holds to an 'absolute morality' and demands that it is followed, then we are only one short step from outright imperialism. As the moralist develops and begins to try and push their morality, they begin to pressure, then coerce, and finally force by military means, its acceptance by the wider population. It is here that the concepts of absolute morality and imperialism cease to be different, being as it is a demand for all others in the global community to abide by rules dictated by the centre. Morality becomes de facto law, the moralist becomes judge, jury and executioner of the entire world.

Critiquing Absolute Morality

Understanding this, the cry goes out from the moralists, 'But there is an absolute morality!' It is difficult to see the rationale behind this claim. If one is to argue that an absolute morality exists, then they must be able to explain where it comes from. Nature? Nature holds no opinion separate from man. God? The closest thing we come to a god, Admin, has stated otherwise quite explicitly. Man? If this were the case, then there would be no need to enforce it, being inherent to every man as it would naturally be. Indeed, even the briefest of observations would demonstrate to the most stalwart moralist that absolute morality is a fiction. Every individual, every alliance, every bloc: all undeniably have their own unique moralities. Sometimes they overlap, but none are the same; and even where there is a lot of overlap on a certain issue, it is never universally held.

We can therefore see morality as entirely relative, changing from person to person, from group to group, and that the vision of an absolute morality is nothing more than the forced extension of one's own morality onto others. So where does morality come from? From the moralist's brief observation they should have discovered the simple answer: morality develops inside any group in order to aid in its smooth operation, and from there it is internalised by the individuals involved. That is to say, an alliance develops a moral system by codifying its interests into something that cannot be tampered with by any institution, individual or force. From this we can begin to understand the overlaps and differences: interests that are shared by different alliances, or interests that conflict.

We could go on to expand this point at great length, but there is only one important lesson for our purposes here: the pursuit of an absolute morality is not only the forced extension of an individual morality onto others, but in fact the forced extension of the individual's political interests onto others. It is thus that moral outrage always stems from those with vested interests in the downfall of the supposed perpetrator, whether from a desire for revenge over past acts or greed for their place in the international order (whether in the name of power politics or simply reshaping the world in their image). At this point absolute morality can be seen as not only overlapping with imperialism, but leading inevitably to it. Since different moralities have developed to best pursue the interests of different alliances, by negating these one is actually fettering, if not launching a direct attack upon, the political interests of other alliances. Some moralities, of course, outlive their usefulness and become fetters on the host group itself, but the origin nevertheless remains the same.

The moralist is therefore pushing for all others to live in a manner that is suited best to his own prosperity at the expense of that of all others. Moralism becomes, by its very definition, imperialism par excellence.

Looking Towards Liberation

The alternative view takes a far more libertarian stance in the international sphere. In understanding the flaws of absolute morality we can avoid the same dangerous pitfalls, instead recognising that what is best for us is not necessarily seen as best for everyone else, leading to a 'live and let live' policy that pursues one's own interests while allowing others to pursue theirs however they desire. Of course, we have already seen that morality exists in the international sphere in blocs and treaties, but these are opt-in contracts where the individuals involved have the choice to sign or not -- they are not being forced to abide by a code of right and wrong, they are finding their interests best served through partnership and compromise (usually coinciding with a moral overlap). Any actions taken by the respective alliances in this are a free transaction in pursuit of their interests as options (whatever they may be) are weighed and judged. In this way a free market of moralities and interests develops, each advancing its own interests while accepting that others will to do the same.

But, and there is always a but, while we can accept the benefits of this state of affairs existing throughout the international sphere, it must always end as soon as another's face begins -- that is to say, your right to advance your interests can never involve attacks against me. Thus while one must take a live and let live approach, they also must reserve the right to respond when their security is threatened by another -- it is not a one way street. But this caveat of self-defence exists only for the alliance's directly involved, and those uninvolved by the incident or treaty should understand that it is not their issue -- not their place to take a 'moral' (read: imperialist) stance in the international sphere.

In this way we gain a world where different viewpoints, moralities and politics can develop to their fullest and each go their own separate ways, each conflicting, but each respecting. There will always be debates and arguments over political and philosophical matters, but these remain as debates and arguments, and not as coercion led by an imperialistic conception of morality.

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Whatever :rolleyes:

If you are going to post this stuff, at least make it relevant. Like:

"Global Hegemony, How not to do it"

"Negotiating in Good Faith, an example in negative"

"Whoops!, A case study in turning your allies against you"

Edited by Bad JuJu
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If you want to have a chat about how I spend my personal time then you can find me on IRC*. If you want to discuss the subject of the thread, then you can feel free to read it first before seeing my name and copy/pasting from the Dummy's Guide to Responding to Vladimir.

*Vladimir reserves all rights to ignore you and not actually have a chat.

[Edit: it's difficult to respond it you're going to keep completely rewriting your posts]

Edited by Vladimir
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Morality comes from man. It comes from all of us. We do not ask for all people to completely agree in every thing that they do. We simply ask for human beings to treat each other with decency and respect. This credo is not difficult to follow, nor is it a chain to prevent us from realizing our full potential. Morality exists because we, as human beings, have the capacity to reason. Our logic is often tainted by our greed and our desires, but ultimately, we can share a fundamental perspective. There is right and wrong.

We, the people of Cybernations, have witnessed much that is wrong in our time here. We have been a part of the problem. There have been more communities destroyed, and more persons ostracized, then any one list can do service in naming. The majority have been complacent or complicit in these pogroms. We have watched them happen, again and again, because it was easier not to act. We have allowed the few, the malevolent and greedy few, take from the weaker, the smaller, and the timid. You argue that Morality is a chain, and that Moralists are simply eager jailers. But no matter how much you reason, or how many words you spin to your purpose, your argument always falls short. For behind the words, we hear the ring of hollow promises.

You argue against Morality because it threatens you. In a world without Morality, you are justified in any action you take. But your justifications are proof enough of your insecurity. You take from others because it is easy. You destroy those opposed to you because it is convenient. You act without regard for the humanity of others because it allows you to do as you please. In your embrasure of this "higher purpose", which amounts to nothing more than unchecked greed, you have lost everything that makes you human. Your base desires for wealth, power, and violence have trumped your sense of honor, dignity, and dedication to the truth.

I am not ashamed to be a Moralist. We are not weak. For indeed, we are made stronger by my beliefs. Our credo is simple, though it is not easy to follow. I do not do things for political expediency, or because they are easy, or because they allow me to advance myself at the cost of my fellow man. I do what I do because it is right.

Good luck in the coming struggle, for we will all bleed for our sins.

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You speak to oppose my work, but in doing so only confirm it. You speak of an absolute universal morality that everyone by nature holds, but go on to attack those who do not hold it. You speak of the need to respect and protect humanity, but deny it in those you do not like. You speak of freedom, but discuss the need to curtail it in others.

When you cut away the flowery words and self-righteous anger, you are left with the one overriding moralist slogan: Do as I say or die. You can say that this slogan represents many things, but freedom it does not. You take an absolutist stance where you can do no wrong, where your simple opinions are turned into undeniable truths, and where everyone who thinks differently from you must be destroyed.

I do not call you weak for holding certain beliefs, I call you tyrannical for wanting to force them into all others at the point of a sword.

Edited by Vladimir
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You speak to oppose my work, but in doing so only confirm it. You speak of an absolute universal morality that everyone by nature holds, but go on to attack those who do not hold it. You speak of the need to respect and protect humanity, but deny it in those you do not like. You speak of freedom, but discuss the need to curtail it in others.

When you cut away the flowery words and self-righteous anger, you are left with the one overriding moralist slogan: Do as I say or die. You can say that this slogan represents many things, but freedom it does not. You take an absolutist stance where you can do no wrong, where your simple opinions are turned into undeniable truths, and where everyone who thinks differently from you must be destroyed.

I do not call you weak for holding certain beliefs, I call you tyrannical for wanting to force them into all others at the point of a sword.

Who blitzed who? Show me the Moralist roll, or the Moralist manufactured CB, and you might have a point.

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I could go into the details of why this or that alliance has gone to war in the past, and explain to you why these wars were justified, but that is to miss the point. Active moralism has never been the leading force on Planet Bob, so it is unsurprising that it hasn't managed to complete its role; yet, even as we speak, you, seeing moralism on the ascendency, are busy manufacturing a CB against those that you do not like. You say that people must go to war to prevent "wrongs," and then proceed to define what is "wrong" however you please, assuming an infallibility hitherto reserved only for god, mangling history in the process. You do this now at the first opportunity and speak in absolutes, demonstrating that you wish to carry on this repression across the whole world indefinitely.

You ask where the imperialist ambition of moralism is demonstrated, not realising that your own words have already formed the noose around your neck.

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This and other meanderings on my blog.

I stopped reading here, because I realized that with the addition of a link in this post, as well as a link in your forum signature, as well as numerous links in your wiki, you're an attention whore. But seriously, nice article, I think?

Edited by Bralor
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I could go into the details of why this or that alliance has gone to war in the past, and explain to you why these wars were justified, but that is to miss the point. Active moralism has never been the leading force on Planet Bob, so it is unsurprising that it hasn't managed to complete its role; yet, even as we speak, you, seeing moralism on the ascendancy, are busy manufacturing a CB against those that you do not like. You say that people must go to war to prevent "wrongs," and then proceed to define what is "wrong" however you please, assuming an infallibility hitherto reserved only for god, mangling history in the process. You do this now at the first opportunity and speak in absolutes, demonstrating that you wish to carry on this repression across the whole world indefinitely.

You ask where the imperialist ambition of moralism is demonstrated, not realizing that your own words have already formed the noose around your neck.

Imperialist ambition? Have you seen the past three years?

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Yes, and I have seen it in glorious technicolour, rather than the black and white 'good vs. evil' that you have. Meanwhile you continue to go on vague attacks to avoid defending the indefensible -- that your ideology is inherently imperialist.

[You understand less than you think you understand, Bralor. But I appreciate the character attack regardless - everyone knows addressing the content of the post is for chumps when you can just spit at the poster instead.]

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Yes, and I have seen it in glorious technicolour, rather than the black and white 'good vs. evil' that you have. Meanwhile you continue to go on vague attacks to avoid defending the indefensible -- that your ideology is inherently imperialist.

[You understand less than you think you understand, Bralor. But I appreciate the character attack regardless - everyone knows addressing the content of the post is for chumps when you can just spit at the poster instead.]

The inherently imperialist show disregard for the well-being of others. The inherently imperialist see no problem in burning alliances to the ground because they pose a threat. The inherently imperialist threaten us, because we threaten their impunity to do as they wish. If that sounds like the continually disenfranchised of three years, or if it sounds like those who have argued for such basic concepts as honor, respect, and decency, then you clearly haven't been listening.

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You understand less than you think you understand, Bralor. But I appreciate the character attack regardless - everyone knows addressing the content of the post is for chumps when you can just spit at the poster instead.

I understand what I see. I see a wall of text. I don't care to read it. I've done nothing but point this out, and add my observation that you seem to enjoy people flocking to your seemingly well worded and articulate posts. Care to point out why that's a character attack?

Edited by Bralor
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Once again you are defining 'imperialist' as 'people who do not share my morality' (albeit attempting to take some of the perceived less savoury elements from your enemies (I say 'perceived' because you have a fundamental misunderstanding of said enemies)), labelling them as 'morally deficient', and then justifying their liquidation on this basis. It is no less than raising yourself to the level of infallible god and smiting those with their own opinions. It is saying that the only way someone should be allowed to act in the world is the way that you dictate. It is exactly as outlined in the original article.

[bralor, you are asking why it is a character attack to not read the post and then label the poster an 'attention whore'? That's pretty much the definition. Regardless, as I said, you understand less than you think you do. If I was seeking attention you'd know me a lot better - not least because I wouldn't post 90% of my articles in an obscure blog that no one knows about (which wouldn't be the case if I promoted it more than the bare minimum). But I have no interest in continuing this line of argument. You don't like my face and are prepared to judge political arguments on that basis. Fair enough, enjoy.]

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[bralor, you are asking why it is a character attack to not read the post and then label the poster an 'attention whore'? That's pretty much the definition. Regardless, as I said, you understand less than you think you do. If I was seeking attention you'd know me a lot better - not least because I wouldn't post 90% of my articles in an obscure blog that no one knows about (which wouldn't be the case if I promoted it more than the bare minimum). But I have no interest in continuing this line of argument. You don't like my face and are prepared to judge political arguments on that basis. Fair enough, enjoy.]

You make me sad Vladimir. :( I thought I was a realist. I could have sworn I said I call it as I see it. Also, what political argument?

Edited by Bralor
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Vox has a forum and multiple blogs, why do they continue to litter the forum here with their nonsense? Where you put a post depends on who you want to read it.

Read the original post and you might know what the political argument is, Bralor. If you don't want to read the post, and don't care about the thread, why are you here?

Edited by Vladimir
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Once again you are defining 'imperialist' as 'people who do not share my morality' (albeit attempting to take some of the perceived less savoury elements from your enemies (I say 'perceived' because you have a fundamental misunderstanding of said enemies)), labelling them as 'morally deficient', and then justifying their liquidation on this basis. It is no less than raising yourself to the level of infallible god and smiting those with their own opinions. It is saying that the only way someone should be allowed to act in the world is the way that you dictate. It is exactly as outlined in the original article.

Excuse me if your argument rings hollow considering your past. Attempting to label those attempting to dethrone you as imperialistic might be applicable if you hadn't blitzed OV. It might be possible if your entire history was defined by your propensity to destroy other alliances. You seemed perfectly fine with dictating terms to the multitudinous vanquished in your time here. You seemed absolutely content with the viceroyalty, and the roll, and the endless war.

It seems that, only now, as those who you wronged come back to haunt you, that you cry for an end to imperialism. It is far too late for you.

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This is implicit in the attacks that some alliances now make upon the global opposition to espionage on Planet Bob -- the claim being that it is a moral view created by the New Pacific Order in its own interests, thus making the dual implications that morality is based on individual interest, and that morality goes hand in hand with imperialism.

Where has this argument been made? I've never heard it.

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I disagree that our actions have been in any way imperialistic. But that is not what this thread is about - there are a thousand others for that. Why won't you address the questions posed?

Because at this point, attempting to shift the blame for years of imperialism from your shoulders to ours is completely ridiculous. This is, at best, a poor attempt to make Pacifica look like an anti-imperialist hero.

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Vox has a forum and multiple blogs, why do they continue to litter the forum here with their nonsense? Where you put a post depends on who you want to read it.

Read the original post and you might know what the political argument is, Bralor. If you don't want to read the post, and don't care about the thread, why are you here?

I don't care for their rhetoric either. I prefer to develop my own opinions. As for why I am here, I told you. I was stating my opinion. It is neither here, nor there. Right, nor wrong. It simply exists. It's not a requirement for you to acknowledge it.

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Vox has a forum and multiple blogs, why do they continue to litter the forum here with their nonsense? Where you put a post depends on who you want to read it.

You actually expect anyone here to take this seriously? You whining about the imperialism of others? How about you go back to NPO and write a grand thousand word essay on how stupid of a move it was to put Moo back in charge when you could have had Ivan right now? You've lost your way as an alliance, and you have for a long time. It's time to expel the foreigners from government and start running your own ship again. You lot have rested on your laurels for far too long and have grown far too enamored of your own words.

Edited by Electron Sponge
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