Thursday, 13 April 2017

Enforced Selfishness

It is said by those who balk at socialist policies of redistribution, the polite ones that is, that you cannot enforce altruism on people. 

It seems however that we live more in a paradigm of enforced selfishness

Witness the increasing out-lawing of giving to beggars, the business and competitively-minded jobs system where you have to put yourself first at the expense of others, artificial scarcity of money and resources preventing people from sharing since lacking and forcing them into competition against one another, monetary pressures to constantly self-promote, a consumption-based economy where everyone is coaxed into being their own materialistic sovereign and so on.

Conservatives will say you can always give to charity and that is more moral than enforced redistribution since voluntary. Yet they do not stop and consider the immorality of the system they promote and support which glorifies selfish greed and pushes ethical people who aren't into money-making into the margins.  

In other words, charity, thinking about and giving to others, is the exception that is said to temper the rule of selfish monetary gain. That is to say, selfishness is built in and enforced by the system, whereas altruism is open to people's caprice.

I am not saying I agree with coercive socialist ideals of altruism achieved through taxation purely for the fact that they are coercive but I do not agree with coercive conservative ideals of selfishness either.

Libertarians and right-wingers generally take issue with redistribution through welfare policies and socialised institutions like healthcare with the idea that we do not have the right to other people's labour which is a right they claim socialist taxation pretends we do have. 

Yet they fail to see that the capitalism they support entrenches the right to other people's labour through the need to have money to continue to exist in a monetary system and therefore having to sell one's labour in return for often minimal wages increasingly decided at the discretion of capitalist employers.  

Morality and the Big & Powerful

Question: when did the big and powerful ever get big and powerful through being moral?

They might have become powerful despite being moral but I doubt they ever did because they were moral. 

As someone said, it is not simply that power corrupts, but that power attracts the corruptible, i.e. those prepared to compromise themselves in moral terms.

And indeed it is known among psychologists that psychopathic individuals get off on having power over others, which is why Plato, who knew this, although more in terms of 'evil, wicked men', thought that the only time a political system, i.e. a system of power organisation, would be a moral one would be when those least attracted to power - genuine philosophers - would be forced into it, against their will, for to them worldly power is nothing but a burden of great responsibility whereas psychopaths see it as a great way to shelter themselves from moral responsibility and the consequences of their actions.

However, power itself may be immoral since, politically understood, power means nothing other than the ability to make others do what they would not otherwise do, which is to say, coerce them and rob them of their spontaneous free will, including by violating their natural law rights not to be harmed or thieved. 

In fact, the question at the beginning of this post invites three responses, a moral one, an immoral one and an amoral one.

  • The moral one: the question shows that it is the big and powerful who are the problem, including those who in their wilful ignorance and order-following give them power, because they are immoral almost by definition.
  • The immoral one: the question shows that morality is for weak people because only those who are prepared to violate it get to have worldly power and a coercive influence on their contemporaries - in other words, morality is for losers.
  • The amoral one: there being no such thing as moral facts in nature, it is natural that the most ruthless and uncaring, unburdened as they are by conscience, get to be masters of the world through superior strength and violence and that the prey who suffer under these predators invent moral grounds to tarnish these masters and make themselves feel better about their lot (Nietzsche's argument in Genealogy of Morality). 
Nietzsche viewed power in a positive light, seeing will-to-power as inherent in nature, therefore took sides against 'anti-nature' morality (or what he called slave morality as opposed to master morality, which he favoured, but on reflection reveals itself to be no morality at all). 

Or was it that he took a poor view of morality (anti-nature) and therefore took sides in favour of power (nature)? 

Unfortunately, those who are attracted to power and who wield it rarely have the honesty of a Nietzsche in flagging themselves up as immoralists, let alone as being immoral. 

Rather, as I wrote in my writing Evil as Test, power and its immorality love to disguise themselves in the cloak of good intentions and morality itself. 

Evil rarely openly warns people of its nature and tells them 
"Hi I'm Evil and I'm going to make you suffer for my own benefit."
It is therefore logical that power should in fact operate in secrecy and concealment, or even through mass mind control and deception, as American conspiracy researcher Jim Marrs understood in writing a book entitled Rule by Secrecy.

For if your true intentions are wholesome and palatable to the masses, why make them a secret or hide their true content under the cloak of the common good and popular causes? And why resort to mass mind control methodologies, making people act immorally through the spread of consciousness viruses in their brains?

Addendum - Psychopathy means, in Greek, suffering of the soul. It is a psychological illness, not the mark of superior individuals, and psychopaths tend to have no depth or creative capacity, which are the two human characteristics Nietzsche valued the most. As ever in my maturer years, I think that philosopher is remarkable in the extent to which he mis-judged things, providing a useful template in his bad example on how not to think. This includes how he thought moral conscience was the fruit of historical decadence and degeneration as opposed to being the mark of healthy, right-minded individuals and that free will was an illusion created by necessity itself rather than a tangible psychological reality achieved through aligning our thoughts with our emotions and actions. In addition, Nietzsche's rejection of metaphysics and indeed Heidegger's wish to overcome metaphysical evaluations are not philosophical endeavours I identify with.

Business is Business

Let's be honest with ourselves. Business is about money-making, not about contributing to the common good. 

There is no intrinsic correlation between making money and contributing to the common good (despite wordy leaps in logic by esteemed thinkers such as Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek and Ayn Rand). 

Sure, if people pay money for your product or service it could be argued that you are responding to a want or a need (although in practice, a lot of money-making seems to involve creating artificial wants and needs through advertising and widespread technological adoption). 

But this can be done in exploitation of certain conditions, such as in human trafficking where predators take advantage of the difficult life circumstances of others and deceive them or even by creating a monopoly on life essentials whereby you make others have to pay you to be able to live.

Thus in the movie Total Recall, air distribution on the planet Mars is privatised through deliberately keeping the atmosphere unbreathable and people have to pay corporate owners for the privilege of not dying on the spot. 

In addition, money-making may trump other considerations such as the sacrosanctness of the natural world and its finite resources, the right to exist of indigenous cultures, the natural law prohibitions against slavery and exploitation, the right of people to lead lives outside the monetary system, the right not to be harmed when this is precisely what mafia-style organisations threaten to do to people if they don't pay financial tribute and so on.

Money-making as such isn't a wrong but it is naïve to think it is always a moral endeavour. 

And capitalism being concerned with return on capital above all else, it is in fact in that system's nature to want to create monopolies and cartels over resource exploitation and allocation, so as to to maximise profit.

There is nothing intrinsically free-market about capitalism as such, which may well have a stronger interest in dismantling free markets, in order to make more money. 

The profit motive, pursued ethically, would of course be less problematic than the realities I have described above but when did the big and powerful ever get big and powerful through being moral?

Rapid Fire | original piano composition

My 1st piano composition and a personal favourite of mine. Composed in my late teens this one has slight techno feel to it. Hope some of you enjoy it!

Sheets here:

Audio here:

Evening Variation | original piano composition

My 11th piano composition, written one evening. Like Afternoon Variation, this piece follows the same chord structure throughout its duration at the risk of sounding repetitive. Despite that I hope some of you will like it.

Sheets here:

Audio here: