Punchinello’s Chronicles

May 7, 2009

Moral Values and Christianity

Filed under: Word of the Day — Punchinello @ 7:06 pm
Tags: , , , ,

With the Republican party out on the road trying to “get the message out,” there’s an increasing split in the party between conservatives and moderate Republicans. One of the best examples of that split (or outright schism) is over religion. Too many people equate conservative ideology with evangelical Christian right-wing “extremists.”

Conservative ideas do include religion, but conservatism is not defined by religion! It’s the utter failure of today’s political philosophers and writers to clarify what exactly is conservatism that’s causing the problem.

The religious aspect of conservative thinking derives from a deeper issue of morality. That morality is embedded in the phrase Family Values. By linking these so-called family values (a catchphrase) to Christian values and the historic religious interest of the Founding Fathers, we have a problem.

So where do moral values come from? Where does a morality come from? Is it only possible for God to provide us with morals? To hear it from the fiscal conservatives and liberals, the only possible source of morality is God. If we don’t subscribe to a particular religious view, then we don’t need someone on a moral high-road to tell us what to do. That’s simply not true.

The classic and killing argument is the separation between church and state in our legal system. The bogeyman called up from history is the Spanish Inquisition, not to mention the Crusades. Fiscal conservatives and liberals use these examples to demonstrate that the rule of Law is more fair, reasonable, and therefore…moral…than a religious morality. And indeed, they’re right.

All of us choose a morality. A morality is our internal system of rules by which we live. Although we have the word amoral, meaning no morals at all, that’s strictly not true either. Everyone has a morality! The only questions are whether their morality is organized and articulated, and what’s the source of that morality.

One source is a supernatural being of some kind. Another source is a spiritual force of some kind. Yet a third source of morality is a political state, leading to legislated morality or a state morality. The two basic choices seem to be either a spirit of some sort, or the government.

As soon as we introduce values, particularly Family Values, we automatically bring with them an articulated morality. With a binary option of either a supernatural or state sanctioned morality, it’s no wonder that conservatives are lost in a sea of confusion.

The conservative source for morality fundamentally rests on what Ayn Rand and William Buckley Jr. called “rational self-interest.” The word “rational” is predicated upon an axiomatic, unarguable, non-negotiable acceptance of objective reality. Rational thought and action is that which conforms to the functioning of objective reality.

In other words, the core difference between conservative and liberal thought (ideology) is the nature of reality itself. Liberalism holds that reality is subject to human perception and feelings. Conservatism holds that human perception and feelings are subject to reality.

“Values” are the laws of physics, the principles of human nature, and the operating processes of reality. When reality is classified as subjective, then values are relative to each person’s personal view of things. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, and ALL opinions are equally valid. But what does “valid” mean, other than “it feels true.”

However; when reality is objective and works in certain ways regardless of how we think or feel, then values are the fundamental principles and systematic consequences of cause and effect. Either reality exists and we figure out how to live within that framework, or reality is a figment of our imagination and we can do whatever we feel like doing.

And so conservatives hold values to be inviolate, with their feelings being secondary. Liberals hold feelings to be inviolate, with their values being subject to change according to feelings. That leads to values-based feelings, for conservatives. Or feelings-based values for liberals.

Our metaphysics may propose that all of reality is contained within the “mind of God.” That’s fine, and gives rise to the world’s great religions. But if we say that reality is simply real, that in no way suggests that reality is subject to the State!

As long as conservatives continue to hold that moral values can ONLY derive from a God of some sort, then conservative ideology will struggle and fail. The first and foremost reason for that failure will continue to be the split over the source of values; moral values.

Instead, moral values must be equated with the way all of reality works and functions. The law was originally intended to codify “natural” reality. Common sense meant a global acceptance that reality is real. But over the past 300 years, philosophers have attacked the nature of reality and the nature of reason itself. The result is that modern day law has become a nightmare entanglement of regulations pertaining to single individuals.

Morality cannot be legislated IF we believe that human nature is part of an overall container of reality itself. But if we hold that human nature is entirely a product of force and incentive, then we can pass laws about how people must, should, and will act.

Liberalism will ultimately fail completely. No philosophy, ideology, or theology can exist contrary to reality itself. Anyone who tries to argue that reality is subjective can’t make that argument. They must exist before they can even hope to begin the argument, so they’ve already agreed that reality DOES exist.

Today, most of civilization is caught in a massive delusion that reality is arbitrary, has no rules, has no values, and has no consequences whatsoever. Anyone can do anything without there ever being any results, effects, ramifications, or consequences. If you don’t “believe in reality,” much like toddlers believe in the Tooth Fairy, then anyone can do anything whenever they feel like it. That’s liberalism.

Throwing up their hands in frustration, most conservatives have only the weak fall-back that God exists! And if you don’t follow the rules of reality, then God will punish you…somehow, someday, maybe after you’re dead. The argument can’t be about the existence or non-existence of God! It MUST be about whether or not reality is objective, and how a society must conform to those rules of reality itself.

Since nobody wants to accept the logic of these arguments, all of us are left with the old “let’s wait and see” argument. And so we’ve bankrupted the United States, ruined the economy, destroyed our society, and now we’ll just have to wait and see whether or not it will all be magically fixed because the State (the government) says so.

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