Flexible Morality

Three Levels of Moral Thinking

Scott Adams had a Periscope the other day titled Ego and Morality. The part I found interesting was Scott’s assertion that everyone is flexible in their morality depending on the circumstances. The one thing I’ve learned is that this is not true particularly for those who call themselves true conservatives. In fact, you could say that a Cuckservative is indeed someone who is morally flexible when they “sell out” to liberal ideas.

Scott’s point had to do with waterboarding and that when the risk to the country is high, most people would be in favor of waterboarding if, for example, it prevented a nuclear war. On the other hand, when we’re not at high risk, most people would be against waterboarding.

He went on to say that what Gina Haspel should have said, but couldn’t say, during confirmation hearings was that she’d do whatever was necessary to keep the country safe and she’d use common sense to only use enhanced techniques when the situation truly warranted them. In these days of political correctness, this would have immediately disqualified her so she tried to walk the middle ground.

Without getting too deep into the study of ethics and morality, I found some information from SMU illustrative:

Three Levels of Moral Thinking

Understanding the variety approaches to applied ethics requires a basic grasp of the distinction between the following three levels of moral thinking:

  • Level 3: Theoretical (Top-down): Applying fundamental moral principles or procedures derived from a (putatively) universal theory of morality to cases to generate moral judgments
  • Level 2: Common Sense (Mid-level): Using principles or rules derived either from theory or from particular cases to construct a view of case(s) that reflects the concerns of both the theoretical and the particular
  • Level 1: Particularist (Bottom Up): Deriving moral judgments, defeasible moral principles or heuristic devices from the details of particular cases

Conservatives are the archetype Level 3 top down moralist. By the way, putative means to be known as something by reputation, or assumed to be something, or generally accepted.

For instance, the second amendment is clear that the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. No other discussion is necessary and anything that limits this right is a sell out.

Killing humans is immoral and a fetus is a human. Therefore, abortion is immoral.

All illegal aliens must be deported because the law is clear.

Let’s jump to Level 1 — the Particularist:

  • Particularism reasons from the bottom up. We begin with the details and context of particular cases, draw analogies to other cases, and generate (through a process of inductive reasoning), a considered moral judgment about the case.
  • The process of moral reasoning is that of deriving (more) general principles, moral guidelines, rules of thumb, or heuristic devices from particular cases through analysis and analogy, and using these to generate considered judgments.
  • Specific particularist moral judgments depend on a variety of resources such as the particulars of cases, history, precedents and context.

“We know that killing is wrong and guns are killing people. Semi-automatic rifles serve no useful purpose in society except for a small group of people who can surely do without them. Society is best served by banning them entirely from the population. The founders surely couldn’t have foreseen mass killings and other attributes of modern society.”

This is also how you get “killing is wrong and therefore abortion is wrong UNLESS what you’re killing isn’t human. Thus, we reason that since the fetus can’t live on its own, it is not human and, therefore, since the greater good is done to the mother by giving her ‘choice,’ abortion is moral.”

“Torture is immoral under all circumstances and waterboarding is torture. With luck, some Top-down moralist will come along and save my butt!”

This gets us to Level 2: Common Sense. In this level, the attempt is made to reason a decision based on your life experiences as well as a basic moral compass.

The famous Phillipa Foot’s ‘Trolley Problem’ is useful here. “There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. What would you do?”

Using Common Sense ethics, the answer might be to pull the lever and kill the one person based on saving five human lives at the cost of one life. Of course, the five people might be escaped convicts and the single person might be NWC!

Coming back to the second amendment example, using Common Sense ethics we might conclude that if a small number of people really would like to have semi-automatic weapons and since this is a right guaranteed under the Constitution, these individuals can have their guns but only after the most stringent background checks along with mandatory training. Additionally, it’s only common sense to pass “red flag” laws to allow for temporary removal of these weapons from high risk individuals.

A related second amendment issue is bump stocks. “Since machine guns are illegal and since bump stocks turn a legal weapon into a version of a machine gun, it’s clear these should be banned.”

On abortion, “since human physiology is such that a woman has little physical risk in having an abortion, they will have them regardless of any laws we might pass. Therefore, the best we can hope for is a fight to the middle ground that limits as many abortions as possible.”

In summary, I’m definitely a proud cuck. Scott believes he’s left of Bernie but favors solutions that work. He’s a cuck as well but just in denial.

Mark Rosneck

Written by Mark Rosneck

Site owner and whipping boy. Posting entirely in whiteface.

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