"And what is a good citizen? Simply one who never says, does or thinks anything that is unusual. Schools are maintained in order to bring this uniformity up to the highest possible point. A school is a hopper into which children are heaved while they are still young and tender; therein they are pressed into certain standard shapes and covered from head to heels with official rubber-stamps." ~ H.L. Mencken
Ethics and Morals and Law, Oh My!
Column by tzo.
Exclusive to STR
"It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words."
Philosophy is the pursuit of knowledge distinguishable from other methods by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument.
When we discuss the organization of society, we are in the realm of political philosophy. Politics may be defined as the organization of violence in society, and every society needs a political system. So political philosophy is dedicated to determining the proper way to institute violence in society.
Proper!? Yes, proper, as in aligning with an objective set of rules that take into account man's nature and what is commonly needed for all humans to thrive and survive. This objective set of rules is ethics. Remember we are speaking of philosophy, which is systematic and rational, not subjective and arbitrary.
Political philosophy based on the Natural Law defines ethical behavior and is best summarized by the Non-Aggression Principle. Ethical behavior aligns with the Non-Aggression Principle, while unethical behavior is the violation of said principle. This is an objective and universal principle.
Now it seems the default political system that societies choose involves government, which is an organization theoretically dedicated to justice—that is to say, organizing violence in a proper manner—but it must coercively extract payments, called taxes, for its creation and ongoing existence.
This logical inconsistency—the fact that the organization designed to organize violence in a proper manner must necessarily violate the Non-Aggression Principle in order to exist—sacrifices universal ethics.
Of course the worst consequences of this inherent flaw is that the ethically-exempt government takes complete control over society by brute force, and all pretense of philosophy and justice is thrown out the window as violence replaces rationality.
Empirical evidence shows that the minimum universal consequences include the creation of legislation that extends well beyond the scope of the Natural Law, and this is called Positive Law. If the Natural Law defines what is objective and ethical, then anything beyond that is arbitrary and unethical.
Now, personal philosophies based on personal ethics, also known as morals, are much less universal—in fact, I would venture to guess that no two individuals' personal ethics are identical. This subjectivity explains why any attempt to organize society by implementing personal philosophy can't lead to a coherent and consistent end. Whose personal philosophy shall be used?
Tyrants are convinced that their own personal philosophy is correct for everyone, and they demand, with the threat of violence, that everyone emulate and obey the Positive Law as set forth by their personal philosophies. Representative governments claim that somehow, the majority can combine their distinct personal philosophies together to form some sort of composite personal philosophy that everyone must obey. These positive laws are then enforced with the threat of violence, just as in the case with tyrants.
Subjective political philosophies based on personal decree, backed by force, is the stuff of which governments are made, whether that government is tyrannical, representative, or anything in between.
Ethics belong to political philosophy, and morals belong to personal philosophy.
Natural Law aligns with ethics and is objective. A law-abiding member of a society that bases its system of justice on the Natural Law can call himself ethical, and most often, moral.
Positive Law aligns with morals and is subjective. A law-abiding member of a society that bases its system of justice on Positive Law can call himself moral, but he is more often than not unethical.
Positive Law is the method of organizing violence in society in such a way so as to use force against people who do not break the Natural Law. By punishing ethical behavior, it must be deemed unethical.
So what happens if a society of well-meaning people associate being good with being law-abiding when good is tied to subjective and unethical Positive Moral Law? Values must become inverted: Injustice is justice, immoral is moral, unethical is ethical, and bad is good.
All the boldfaced words in this paper are generally either not understood or misunderstood. They often have multiple and even contradictory definitions and in many discussions much time is spent with one person talking past the other because both assume the other knows what definitions are being used and both participants are incorrect. These words therefore have ceased to function properly, as they are no longer useful for conveying meanings, which is the very definition and function of communication.
This state of affairs is to the detriment of the indoctrinated and to the advantage of the indoctrinators who control the language, hence the discussions, hence the very thoughts of the people by confusing the language and frustrating any attempts to penetrate the fog of weasel words and actions that surround the violent core of government.
And now you know what is the real function of school.
It's a catastrophic thing, the destruction of words.
“By 2050—earlier, probably—all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron—they'll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like "freedom is slavery" when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”