Moral Chaos

Something Rush Limbaugh said recently:

I just spoke eloquently, I think, too, about the lack of any moral authority in our culture. There isn’t anybody with any moral authority. Nobody’s allowed to have any. That has been one of the objectives of the left, is to destroy any sense that anybody can define morality. Morality doesn’t exist. What you want to do is what being an American means. And there is no limit to it, and anybody that tries to limit you is a bigot or is prejudiced or is racist or is homophobic or is whatever else. There is no morality. Nobody gets to define what’s right and wrong, because the left knows that if anybody’s able to do that other than them, they’re gonna be on the wrong side much more than they’re gonna be on the right side. And they don’t want that. They hate judgmentalism. They despise it. And that’s what they think of morality. Hence, that’s why we have the culture war. Some simple concepts as right and wrong.

“You don’t get to determine that,” they tell us. That’s not up to you, and it’s not up to anybody, and it’s not up to the Bible, ’cause they don’t believe in the Bible. The Bible is a bunch of phony baloney, plastic banana, good-time rock ‘n’ rollism. Not the Bible. The Bible is a bunch of gunk. God didn’t exist. That’s just made up by a bunch of people to give them authority and power. They don’t want to think about it. That’s why the environment is God or any other inanimate object becomes the deity, because there is no learned morality that descends from it. Nobody’s allowed to have any. That has been one of the objectives of the left, is to destroy any sense that anybody can define morality.

What he’s pointing out is the decline of Christian moral authority in the face of a cultural attack that seeks to up-end all morality. But I’m not sure that the aim is to allow people to do whatever they want to do. I think that the aim is to replace Christian moral authorities with secular ones – and have scientists and doctors and experts become as unquestionable authorities as bishops and archbishops used to be.

Because that’s what’s actually happening.  Contemporary healthism is a moral crusade against smoking, drinking, and eating. Smoking bans enforce an antismoking morality. The healthist goal of living as long as possible is a simplistic moral goal. Global warming is all about having faith in climate scientists, and doing whatever they say needs to be done.. The people behind it have very strong ideas about what’s right and wrong, although they like to pretend to be impartial scientists.

We’re living in a very dangerous time, when an ancient ethical code – Christianity – is in seemingly terminal decline, and is being superseded by rival ethical codes. Islam – or Islamic fundamentalism – is one. So also Green/environmentalism. And globalism. And all of them are as authoritarian as Christianity ever was. All of them believe that people must be bullied, blackmailed, and scared into conformity.

It’s a world in which absolutely anything can be upturned at any moment. Gay marriage and transgender bathrooms: did anyone see those coming? In fact, did anyone see smoking bans and soda bans and sugar bans and salt bans coming either?

Nor does there seem to be any rationale behind any of these changes. There just seems to be some sort of consensus that is somehow reached,  perhaps in a show of hands in some think tank that I’m not a member of. Gay marriage? Please raise your hands if you’re in favour. Good, we’re all agreed on that one. Transgender bathrooms?

We’re entering a period of moral chaos, as ancient ethical codes are replaced by a rapid succession of contradictory new ones. If you think the world has already been turned upside down,  you ain’t seen nothing yet.

One result of this is likely to be that people will start to begin to think hard about ethics in ways that they have hitherto been disinclined to, because they didn’t need to, because they shared the same values as pretty much everyone else, and didn’t need to defend them. But in a world in which hitherto unquestionable values are being tossed on the bonfire, and replaced with hideous new ones, such complacency will no longer be tenable.

My own belief is that we need to discover the rationality that underlies our ordinary everyday behaviour. I notice that when I go from A to B, I usually adopt the shortest route between the two. In more or less everything I do – whether it’s cooking or cleaning or shaving or shopping  – I’m almost always trying to get it done as quickly as possible. Before I enter a supermarket, I usually have my path through it planned, optimised to collect everything in as short as possible time. I hate it when I suddenly remember something that’s right up the other end, where I’ve just been. And we are continually doing this, all day every day, right down to where we position our cups of tea or coffee, and our knives and forks, and our discarded bedroom slippers. We all seem to share an ethics of Least Action. It’s not often that, instead of showing people short-cuts in doing something, we show them how to do it much more slowly.

Such small concerns may seem trivial by comparison to the pressing ethical questions of the day – abortion, capital punishment, etc -. But perhaps in ethics we might find that if we look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves. And we should start with the least pressing and simplest ethical puzzles, and gradually work up in stages to the more difficult ones – like whether to step into a busy road to let an old man pass, or make him do it instead.

But that’s just a suggestion. I don’t wish to pretend to be any sort of moral authority or expert. Because I’m not. And have no wish to be one.

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About Frank Davis

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27 Responses to Moral Chaos

  1. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Funny those of us here already know right from wrong and nobody can tell us diferent. We are the enemy the Nazis most hate for we are the generation that knows the moral rights and wrongs and it’s not us who will undo their dirty work but the fact moral codes come not religion but 1000s of years in communal living as humans. These are natural laws and customs that define our human existence so we can live together!

    Anyone not knowing this already has failed basic humanity.

    We can always improve but it must be because society decided to not because of a new government mandated cultural revolution like Mao or Stalin did. Trust me today’s globalist progressives are just as dirty as any communist with their objectives as they’d soon shoot us or imprison us if we don’t comply aka criminal laws like smoking bans per set or seatbelt road stops etc etc!

    • Rose says:

      These are natural laws and customs that define our human existence so we can live together

      Do as you would be done by.

      • west2 says:

        The Golden Rule? Except it seems this can lead to the problems we are seeing. A group of people want to treat others as they treat themselves.

        I just want to be left alone to get on with things with the fewest restrictions. Live and Let live. If others want to do something different that’s fine by me as long as they do not insist they treat me like they want to be treated. Which is exactly not what is happening today. ‘They’ insist through laws etc that I conform to their ways.

        I understand the sentiment behind the phrase, unfortunately in use, especially by a moralist, it becomes repressive.

        Perhaps the rule is do unto others as they want to be done by?

        On going from A to B. Some people adopt the shortest route however there are many criteria that could be used i.e shortest, quickest, scenic, simplest. Some, on reflection, might decide that point B is not worth going to after all and decide to go somewhere else instead.

        If everyone is at point A should everyone go to point B? Equality of opportunity or equality of outcome? Is the new ‘morality’ based on the faulty assumption that everyone wants to go to point B and everything has to be done to achieve this? The film – Harrison Bergeron (1995) – explores this.

        • Rose says:

          A group of people want to treat others as they treat themselves

          I’ve yet to see a group of people who want to ban and tax themselves into oblivion.

        • Clicky says:

        • Frank Davis says:

          On going from A to B.

          An hour or so ago, A was the position of my car in a Tesco car park, and B was the Tesco supermarket itself. I had to navigate around numerous parked cars to go from A to B, as well as several moving ones. I think I did a fairly good job of going from A to B (and also, a few minutes later, from B to A).

          The scenic route might have taken me all round the car park. In the process I might have discovered a bottle bank. As it was, I had no interest in any scenic route. I adopted my usual shortest route.

          Neither did I decide that point B was not worth going to. I had, after all, just driven all the way there to acquire the basic essentials of life: tea, milk, and whisky.

          Nor did I think that point B was a place where everyone should visit, as if it were a place of pilgrimage, at least once in their lives. I don’t go to to Tesco to wander around it worshipping the array of products in its aisles. I lack the necessary piety.

        • west2 says:

          @Rose
          “I’ve yet to see a group of people who want to ban and tax themselves into oblivion.”
          Don’t some groups vote in governments to do that for them? Venezuela springs to mind.

          @Frank
          “I think I did a fairly good job of going from A to B”
          An individual set of circumstances and choices that worked well for you. If you were disabled the choices may have been different, including the initial decision to go to Tesco, where to park or even to go somewhere else after not be able to find a space close enough to the entrance. Also, group choices do not always coincide with individual choices, if you were going with a group would you insist you all go to Tesco? I was, of course, generalising into the question I was asking about morality, you knew that though (I hope). Anyways I thought you didn’t plan.

        • Frank Davis says:

          I thought you didn’t plan.

          I don’t make long term plans. But trips to supermarkets will be planned in outline. And the plan quickly abandoned if necessary (i.e. if it’s shut)

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          I’ve yet to see a group of people who want to ban and tax themselves into oblivion. Or vote for laws that criminalize themselves!

        • Tony says:

          “I’ve yet to see a group of people who want to ban and tax themselves into oblivion.”

          I’d suggest that several religious cults do or have done that. Not always total oblivion like Jonestown or Waco but renouncement of all individuality including all possessions, pleasures and desires is very common.

        • west2 says:

          @harleyrider1978
          A group would vote to treat themselves with the way they want and potentially criminalise ‘others’ who do not treat them that way. Both Rose and Harley make the same point.

          For example:
          A group of anti-smokers vote for a smoking ban. They then expect everyone to follow what they want. A group of smokers would not vote for a smoking ban.

          If you go where there is a ban would you light up? You expect respect for what you want as much as you would respect their position. No compromise is possible though as they can enforce their way. If you do not light up, what rule are you following?

          ‘Do as you would be done by’ tells you a lot about about yourself. ‘Treat people as they wish to be treated themselves’ tells you a lot about other people. I am suggesting both are needed. Only the one rule would be needed if, in general, the two rules coincided. This seems to have been the case in the past as Franks blog and Harley’s earlier post suggests.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    Turkey’s president says all he wants is same powers as Hitler

    In a world first, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan uses Hitler’s Germany as a positive role model for his constitutional reforms

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/12077703/Turkeys-president-says-all-he-wants-is-same-powers-as-Hitler.html

    telegraph.co.uk

    .

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Turkey’s controversial President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sparked mockery and condemnation by defending new powers he wants to give himself as being similar to Adolf Hitler’s.

      In a statement that surprised even his critics, Mr Erdogan responded to arguments that putting political power in the hands of the presidency would not work in a “unitary state”.

      He said there were other examples of its being successful. “There are already examples in the world,” he said.

      “You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany. There are later examples in various other countries.”

      The Turkish presidency at present is largely ceremonial, with most powers in the hands of the prime minister. However, when he was prevented constitutionally from standing as prime minister for a fourth election last year, Mr Erdogan stood for the presidency instead, and has used the position to continue his aggressive Islamist agenda.

      In the meantime, he has been trying to change the constitution to formalise the situation.

      Local critics used his words to argue he was becoming dictatorial, but in Israel they will be seen as another example of political insensitivity. Mr Erdogan has clashed with Israel on a number of occasions over his perceived support for Islamist, anti-Israel groups.

      Online, Turks, bloggers and Middle East analysts all took to Twitter to express their astonishment.

      Eliot Higgins, who has achieved celebrity status for his analysis of weapons usage in the Syrian war, said Mr Erdogan had achieved a first by managing to “Godwin” himself. “Godwin’s Law” is a joke rule of the internet which states that anyone who compares someone else to Hitler in an online argument has lost.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Look who first invented the Passive smoking Fraud

        Hitler’s Anti-Tobacco Campaign

        One particularly vile individual, Karl Astel — upstanding president of Jena University, poisonous anti-Semite, euthanasia fanatic, SS officer, war criminal and tobacco-free Germany enthusiast — liked to walk up to smokers and tear cigarettes from their unsuspecting mouths. (He committed suicide when the war ended, more through disappointment than fear of hanging.) It comes as little surprise to discover that the phrase “passive smoking” (Passivrauchen) was coined not by contemporary American admen, but by Fritz Lickint, the author of the magisterial 1100-page Tabak und Organismus (“Tobacco and the Organism”), which was produced in collaboration with the German AntiTobacco League.

        That’s fine company are so called public health depts. keep with ehh!

        History can shed so much lite on todays own movement it just amazes the mind………..

        Hitler Youth had anti-smoking patrols all over Germany, outside movie houses and in entertainment areas, sports fields etc., and smoking was strictly forbidden to these millions of German youth growing up under Hitler.”

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    The scare tactics began in 2005, part of Bloomberg’s campaign to reduce smoking and obesity rates. Bloomberg’s health commissioner Tom Frieden was “highly influenced by the work of the Australian researcher Melanie Wakefield, who was central in making the case that fear worked to achieve tobacco control,” according to the article.

    The ads ran on YouTube, television and were plastered on subways throughout the city. They were purposefully gross, showing diseased organs as the consequences of smoking, and, later, a man drinking gallons of fat, or guzzling packets of sugar.

    Those ads were considered successful and contributed, in part, to a reduction in smoking rates. Health department officials reported immediate, marked declines in smoking, according to the article.

    In 2010, the “It’s Never Just HIV” campaign, which targeted young men of color who have sex with other men, created a firestorm with some complaining that it left the impression that gay men were vessels of disease.

    The ad campaign started on Dec. 7, 2010.

    “The whole weekend I kept thinking, why haven’t I heard anything,” Monica Sweeney, who was responsible for the campaign, said in the article. The next week, Sweeney said, “all hell broke loose. Critics said they were going directly to the mayor. I spent the whole week on my knees begging [health commissioner] Tom [Farley] not to pull it.”

    The campaign ran for one month and exceeded its original budget.

    But the backlash may have influenced future decisions.

    “Although the Department of Health has continued with its fear-based obesity and tobacco efforts, as of 2015 the hard-hitting approach seems to have been shelved for HIV,” the authors wrote.

    “Relying on fear is risky business,” the authors conclude. “The decision about whether to use a fear-based campaign and how far to go is not simply a technical, evidence-based determination. Decisions are almost always political, reflecting a calculation of how to balance issues of effectiveness, uncertainty, stigma, marginalization, emotional burdens, justice, community participation, and scientific credibility.”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2015/05/health-researchers-assess-bloomberg-scare-tactics-021845#ixzz4EzxAe9dp

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

  5. waltc says:

    On the topic: wow and amen. Another thoughtful thought-provoking analysis. To which, after applauding, I merely add two minor post-scripts. #1 The allegedly non-judgmental are rigidly judgmental: if you disagree with them, you’re instantly judged to be a vile cretin if not a demon. Their new morality (an anti-old-morality) is’ in itself, a religious morality in that it judges the traditional morality as highly immoral. (And didn’t some guy here just the other day tell us how Republicans deserved to burn in hell? ) #2 the religion-turned-secular analogy holds perfectly for food. Jews and Muslims have elaborate dietary taboos. Catholics have a few for Fridays and Lent. Mormons, I believe, forbid coffee and booze. Healthists outdo them in the list of taboos and manage to do it with equal fervor and with equal threats of dire retribution and inevitable punishment. ( “heart attacks on a plate” ) They also offer Salvation Through Bran.

  6. garyk30 says:

    It does not help that we have judges that ‘interpret ‘ the law rather than ‘administering’ the law.

    It is difficult to be a nation of laws when judges have decided that laws mean what they want them to mean.

  7. garyk30 says:

    Seems to me that you can not talk morality with the leftist elitists.

    Their concept of what is moral is so different that you wind up talking on different levels of meaning.

    They speak of what their vision of the World should be and we speak of the reality of the shared experiences of millions of people over thousands of years.

    Apples and onions

  8. Always liked your work says:

    Hello Frank,
    you sometimes speculate in your posts about possibilty of policies and laws being manipulated and centrally coordinated behind the scenes by some unknown entities.
    The true scope of this ‘possibility’ might become more clear if you visit the following website:
    http://invisibleserfscollar.com

    and perhaps start with:

    http://invisibleserfscollar.com/invisible-designed-neural-coercion-controlling-guided-missiles-and-misguided-men/#comments

    The authors focus mainly on waste conspiracy in US and world education to change the way children (and people) think but, to be honest, it is one big steaming pile of totalitarianism where you cannot isolate one thread.

    The ‘Change’ is everywhere, and Anti-smoking brigade is just one small part of it.

    For the record, I have no connection with Invisibleserfscollar.com apart from admiration for their efforts. And yours.

  9. Joe L. says:

    As with all the other newspeak we are subjected to in recent years, I believe the biggest issue with this ‘new’ version of morality is that it is centered around selfishness and is thus entirely immoral.

    Whereas the ‘old’ Golden Rule was “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” the ‘new’ Golden Rule is “Force others to do unto you (and unto themselves) only that which you want done unto you.” Puritanism, plain and simple.

  10. melinoerealm says:

    First of all: christianity is no ancient code of ethics. That’s the Greco-Roman religion, Platonic Philosophy, Aristotle’s philosophy on ethics, Pythagorean’s views on law, politics, maths and music, the philosophy of Pleasure (Hedone) as the middle way between the evil extremities of abstinence and incontinence, the Mysteries of Eros, etc. These are the foundation of all civilization of this continent. Not christianity.

    Christianity has no ethics, it has moralism. It has hybris. “The part of the body that sins, should be cut”, is their ethics. Many things this blog condemns, such as healthism (=the moralizing of food), tobacco prohibition, liquor prohibition, have been caused by christianity, and protestants in particular. Many other things such as the muslim crisis of Europe, has been caused by the mistakes of a former christian leadership since the late ’80’s, who promoted enotheism and the view that islam is just like christianity, and they have no problem co-existing. The attempt for a pan-religion between jewism, christianity, and islam has been done by the former christian leadership of the previous decades (most of whom are deceased today).

    Which part of christianity do you all desire back? The part about prohibiting pre-marital sex? Or any sex, except that for reproduction? Forcing women to “cover up” and wear long skirts and headscarfs? What christianity do you miss? And in any case, does anyone who wishes christianity to come back, live according to all the above? So why some people wish to impose on all of us a religion, which they themselves don’t follow?

    Is it not ungrateful, to the Greco-Roman religion, ethics, ways of life, teachings etc. to enjoy all its blessings, yet call upon its enemy, support its enemy, promote its enemy despite all the evils christanity has caused?

    And should these people be punished? After all, if they wish christanity, should they not be forced -yes, forced!- to live under the christian morals and commands? Christianity, which they wish, is for them, is to be imposed upon them – not upon anyone else! It is a fair punishment, yes? Either they begin obeying these commands, either they begin following that religion, or get out of it completely. You can’t have it both ways.

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