Invalid Presumption of Moral Superiority

A reader commented that the problem with what you might call “strict Randites” is that they “seem to have a lack of compassion”.

An APPARENT lack of compassion.

Some do yes.

Others simply recognize that it isn’t compassion, when one is being “compassionate” with other peoples time, money, and resources.

Not a Randian by any stretch of the imagination… but there IS a point there.

The larger point with Rand, and with Neitzsche, and other individualist philosophers; is that the assumed obligation to sacrifice oneself in favor of others, and the assumed moral superiority of it, are both not only false, but in fact harmful.

Voluntary self sacrifice for good cause, and to good effect (or at least with a realistic attempt at good effect), is a noble thing. In all other cases, it is not.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

  • Dcn J

    Laying down one’s life for others is a Christian principle. Of course Rand, being a militant atheist on a near-Soviet level, was not bound to such a moral teaching

  • cbyrneiv

    VOLUNTARILY… it’s not an obligation, it’s a virtuous act.

  • TomK

    The key word in all of this is “voluntary”. The moment sacrifice is required, all nobility from the act is taken from it.

  • Dcn J

    It is an obligation. It’s a moral obligation. It is a command of God, not because we feel good.

  • Dcn J

    A voluntary commitment creates collateral obligations. If I am voluntarily baptized a Christian, I am given a moral code I am expected to follow. I can’t “pick and choose” it.

  • TomK

    Being a Christian, like doing a job, still conveys an element of consent. You ultimately choose to be a Christian and follow that Christian lifestyle.

    Think about the number of people you know that claim to be Christians, yet never act in accordance with what Christ instructed. They, too, are acting upon their own choices. In their case, they’re acting against teachings they agreed to adhere too when they were baptized.

    However, when a third part steps in and, via the threat of force, requires you to sacrifice regardless of your personal feelings on the matter, then the nobility is robbed from that act. You do not voluntarily choose to act in accordance with biblical teachings in such an instance, because someone else made the choice for you. Your choice is only to either comply or face imprisonment.

  • Dcn J

    What if I’m part of a cult that thinks that every week, someone new gets to be sacrificed, and the sacrificial victim agrees to it? Does the state have a right to intervene or not?

  • TomK

    Since it has nothing to do with anything that’s been discussed, I’m not going to bother with answering.

  • Dcn J

    Of course it does. We’re discussing whether the state has a coercive role and on what basis. In the end, your argument would mean that my death cult has every right to exist.

  • TomK

    No, it doesn’t.

    After all, my argument is that’s it’s wrong for the state to require sacrifice. I’ve made no argument about whether the state is justified in preventing sacrifice of a given type. That’s a completely separate issue.

    Of course, since you jumped straight to psycho to try and make a point, I see no valid reason to continue discussion.

  • cbyrneiv

    It is generally pointless to attempt to engage christian determinists (christians who believe there is no true free will, only sin, corruption, predestination, and Gods irresistible grace) in discussions of morals or ethics, because they don’t believe morals, or ethics, or moral choice actually exist.

  • Dcn J

    “After all, my argument is that’s it’s wrong for the state to require sacrifice. I’ve made no argument about whether the state is justified in preventing sacrifice of a given type.”

    You’re just phrasing your statement two different ways and in the process self-contradicting. Enjoy your day!

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