Member Rara Avis
I'm talking about philosophers who assert that morality can be decided by human reason alone, rather than a higher moral law, not simply interpreting that moral law.
And my whole point, Stephen, is that there's no real difference between the two. Remove human reason from either and the result is Crusades and Inquisitions.
I'll make a deal with you, if you read it, I'll read Atlas Shrugged. Then we'll talk again and compare ideas.
Okay, Stephen, I just ordered a copy. I've read it before, but it's been some few decades. (Then again, it's been even longer since I read Rand.) At the risk of getting ahead of ourselves, I'll throw out a first "comparison," if I may, albeit one based on a thirty-year-old memory.
Lewis, especially in "Men Without Chests" was writing of a world as it is. We are, indeed, ruled by our emotions, not just the noble ones like courage, but sadly also by the less noble ones like hatred and fear. We are motivated by our "chests," and use our heads only to justify those motivations. History suggests they're not always so easily justified, either.
Rand, on the other hand, wrote of the way the world should be. She wrote of a Utopia that, as others in this thread of already said, probably can never exist. Who is John Galt? There is no John Galt.
It's naive to think that all magnanimous acts proceed from such a calculated process as "cost/benefit analysis" ... or that all vile deeds result from a lack of such thought.
Agreed. And, ah, more's the pity.
Our world needs a lot less magnanimity, in my opinion. Were we to actually use reason, Stephen, instead of settling for a shallow and momentary sense of feeling good about ourselves, we might stop giving men fish to eat and start insisting they learn how to fish for themselves.
The trouble with tough love, though, is that it rarely makes you feel, uh, magnanimous.
And if the only reason you feel indignation is because you have a different calculation (and no moral fire) then you are hardly making sense of outrage. You have totally circumvented the question of WHY you think the world should be run as you do, the answer to which is, doubtless, brimming with moralisms.
Sorry to disappoint, Stephen, but most of my outrage (and there's too little of it yet left) is not fired by morality but rather inspired by moralists. Morality is a private conversation, one to be held between the individual and his god. The Law, on the other hand, is a public conversation and should never be confused with the private one.
Please, my friend, do not imbue me with moralisms!
Whether Falwell or Dahmer, they must have violated something that you find foundational, and morally non-negotiable. That judgement of yours would be a fact, even if you lived on Mars. There's no way you can reduce that kind of judgement to self-interest alone. The fact that many people disapprove of things that do not (really) affect them, shows that yours is fallacious (or at least incomplete) reasoning ...
I honestly believe it's the other way around, Stephen.
I think the unreasoned (and too often unreasonable) moral outrage you describe, Stephen, is little more than a reflection of empathy. We know what it feels like, and it's a not a feeling we want to feel again. In protecting others, we protect ourselves. It's not (and more importantly, need not be) any more complicated than that.