Tagged: Morality

Duty Ethics vs. Virtue Ethics

Doing as one is supposed to do (obeying rules or duties) is a substantially different thing from doing as one ought to do (acting virtuously). The former type of action is suitable for dependent children, the mentally deficient, or in general those who for some reason have either opted or been forced to relinquish their authority to decide for themselves, whether universally or...

Observations: Man Among the Animals

For all other animals, maturation involves growing into their bodies. For man alone, maturation involves growing out of his body. Those who deny the existence of truth are absolutely certain they are right. On the other hand, genuine believers in truth rarely claim to be certain of anything. The former hope to find their reason for living in their certainty. The latter find...

More Random Reflections of a Distorted Moment

In 1932, millions of Germans — the most educationally “advanced” of peoples at the time — understandably felt betrayed by a corrupt political and financial elite, and hence surmised that even if you disliked his manner and distrusted some of his advisers, this Hitler fellow was making many important points. “At least he loves his country and wants to make Germany great again.”...

Almost Random Thoughts on an Age of Decay

No one intuits the basic moral tenor of an age more clearly than those with a vested professional interest in accommodating themselves to that tenor for personal gain, such as advertisers and other pitchmen. If you want to understand the moral condition and collective priorities of your social environment, spend a day analyzing the advertising techniques and campaigns most pervasive in the mass...

We, Being Pure: Part One

Fyodor Dostoevsky is one of the unquestionable giants of world literature: essential to the development of the nineteenth century anti-romantic novel; one of his century’s two great prophets and critics (Nietzsche being the other) of the then-growing nihilism that was devouring European intellectual life, and has since — as he (like Nietzsche) predicted — settled like volcanic ash over the entire civilized world;...

The New Moral Math, or A Hundred Thousand Mirrors

One of the most disturbing social symptoms of America’s coronavirus epidemic is a malady we may call mathematical hysteria: the inability, and even unwillingness, of millions of ordinarily rational adults to look at the numbers dancing before their panic-stricken minds with any sort of context-related sobriety. And perhaps the ugliest manifestation of this mathematical hysteria is the moral argument that this outbreak warrants...

Moral Reasoning 101

Colin Kaepernick, a second-rate professional football player (I defer to others’ judgment, as I haven’t watched an NFL game in years), has made himself a hero among young people who mistake “coolness” for heroism by kneeling during the national anthem. Now Nike, which aims its products at young customers who mistake “coolness” for heroism, is exploiting Kaepernick’s popularity to enhance its profits. In...

On Our Moral Certainties

Because we live in our society, in our time, we cannot avoid exposure to the dominant moral atmosphere and the tenor of discourse around us. Growing up in a peculiar kind of social environment, the things that are considered “normal” in that environment inevitably come to feel normal to us too — and that includes the things about which we have reservations, or...

Captains Uncourageous

“The captain always goes down with the ship.” This old seafarer’s adage, which has come to have the force of a moral principle, was violated in tragic fashion in South Korea this past week. As investigators and divers try to determine exactly what caused the Sewol to sink, and families and friends mourn the loss of hundreds of souls, the rest of us...

The Denaturalization of America

In 2008, America elected a president from a broken home whose mother was sympathetic to communists; who as a youngster had formative relationships with a transgender nanny chosen by his mother and a bisexual communist pornographer “mentor” chosen by his grandfather; whose teenage friends were so devoted to drug use that they gave themselves a nickname derived from this habit, and developed their...