In another thread, after a lengthy debate about whether or not we treat morality like it is a subejctive preference or an objective commodity, Zeroseven graciously admits:
Fair enough. I don’t disagree with most of what you say. I agree we behave as if morals are objective. But I don’t agree that this is because they are objective.
I see the argument of objective morals in the same way. Its a nice way to look at a human process for making decisions about the world. But of course its a pure fiction.
First, I’d like to thank Zeroseven for having the courage to admit what few moral subjetivists will; all sane people act as if morality refers to an objective commodity. This implies that he agrees that sane people also act as if their conscience is a sensory capacity telling them what they must do, and not as if it is the impulse of personal preference they can easily choose to indulge or dismiss. Violated conscience can also leave wounds that last a lifetime, unlike the transient pang of not getting your favorite meal for dinner.
What Zeroseven has admitted to above, is something I and others repeatedly argued during that thread:
I think the problem here is that on this point they are emotionally committed against the idea that morality is objective in nature…
As they operate from this unspoken sentimental rejection of objective morality, it leads them into defending the absurd and apparently simply not seeing certain points because it would cause too much cognitive dissonance.
Note how, even though Zeroseven admits we all act like morality is objective in nature, he flatly denies the possibility of pre-existing, objective law with prejudice:
That’s all very well as a theory, and its nice to think of the law in this way, but of course its crap.
And the same for morality:
But of course its a pure fiction.
This is an a priori worldview denial of even the possibility that morality (and justice under the law) might refer to an objective, pre-existing commodity. Zeroseven simply, flatly denies it, even though he agrees he and all sane people must act as if morality is objective in nature, and that he should treat law in his profession as if it objectively existed. His dismissive attitude is demonstrated by calling such sentiment “a nice way of looking at it” and simultaneously betrays, IMO, an utter lack of thought about the crucial role such ideas play in fostering the kind of culture we live in. He doesn’t for a second ponder if it’s perhaps a necessary way of looking at it, a necessity arrived at by the weight of scholars and legal, ethical and moral philosophers through history far more worthy of respect and consideration, I would think, than Zeroseven offers with his casual dismissal.
I would suspect that Zeroseven would champion the idea that we’re all equals and that we all have certain inviolable rights as individuals that apply regardless of what anyone in power says, and regardless of if the majority says otherwise. These spiritual ideas are the basis of our constitutional rights and came from deep belief in natural law objective morality. But these ideas are bound to theistic, objective morality and cannot be extracted from the premise of subjective morality and subjective justice. How can a moral subjectivist (especially an atheistic one) have the idea that all people are equal, when clearly, in the physical world, they simply, factually are not? People are not physically or intellectually equal. How would a moral subjectivist come up with the idea of liberty and rights that transcend government authority and the will of the majority? Such ideas would be a deceit for moral subjectivists to employ.
At best, moral subjectivists might come up not with “inviolable human rights”, but rather “license for certain behaviors temporarily and arbitrarily granted by those in local power”. Not exactly a concept one expects to found a long-lasting, just and moral society upon. Also, why should everyone have the same
rights temporarily and arbitrarily granted behavioral license, since people are not physical, social or intellectual equals, and since – under moral subjectivism – those in power cannot (and should not) be expected to dole out such privilege equally, fairly, or in a just manner? Can you imagine someone attempting to make an argument, under logically consistent moral subjectivism, that 0.3% of the population has a right to go to any public restrooms they want, male or female, despite what the majority of the population prefers? There is no such argument to be made. There are no such “rights” under moral subjectivism., there are just privileges and licenses handed out by those in power as they wish.
To his credit, zeroseven has agreed that we act as if morality is objective. Perhaps one day Zeroseven will consider the possibility that the concept of objective morality is not just “a nice way of looking at it”, but essential for generating the only kind of society he – or any of us – would want to live in.
The question now, however, is: why does he patently refuse to even entertain the idea that morality is objective? Is it impossible that morality is objective in nature? Surely not. Does zeroseven (or anyone) have some kind of substantive evidence that morality is in fact subjective in nature? We argued this extensively in the other thread, meeting those objections and, after his admission, zeroseven apparently has no more significant evidence that morality is subjective than he could raise against things he agrees are objective in nature (not everyone agrees or has perfect understanding, different cultures have different views, etc.) So the question is, why does zeroseven still patently reject the premise that morality might be objective in nature?
What logical purpose can it serve to insist that morality is subjective in nature when we must all act and argue as if it is objective in nature? Why cling to a premise that renders the Nazi extermination of Jews the moral equivalent of feeding the hungry or housing the homeless when we all know that simply is not true? In an argument about morality and about what is good, why insist on a premise that renders the argument itself entirely moot and forces the very concept of morality into a defenseless position? Why dismiss the only concept that gives any moral position you have any value at all beyond what flavor of a thing you prefer? Why dismiss the only concept that can rationally justify moral interventions, moral judgements and imposition of just laws? Why abandon the only concept that can provide inviolable rights, metaphysical equality and liberty? What is so important that one will cling to a concept that renders law and morality and ethics absurd, selfish notions instead of embracing one that grants them a solid foundation for how they must act anyway – as if they are very important, universally binding considerations worth fighting and dying for?
What, zeroseven (and others like him), do you lose by believing a concept that you already must act and argue as if true – that morality is an objective commodity?