Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Problems with Moral Terminology

Ideology vs. strategy

Today, many individuals identify themselves in a political ideology. These ideologies include agorist, anarchist, individualist, collectivist, libertarian or conservative. These are purely labels, and would inevitable result in controversial debates from the incompatibleness of these terms.

Let's first distinguish between an ideology, movement and strategy. An ideology is the result of a movement or strategy. Ideologies can be achieved in multiple strategies. A strategy is a descriptive, or explanatory method to result achieve an ideology. Strategies are concrete, in that they are methods, not general ideas. Ideologies are more abstract than strategies, as there are multiple ways of strategy.

Strategies are often incompatible to each other. For example, one strategy to achieve libertarianism is anti-political strategy, and another is using politics. Many anti-political agorists see the political libertarians are incompatible, vice versa. They argue that the other one isn't a libertarian. However, outsiders of libertarianism see that the anti-political and political strategies the same, and both are subsets of libertarianism.

Ideologies can be very general, moderately abstract, or concrete. For example, libertarianism is a moderately abstract ideology, which is the means to achieve liberty. There are many strategies to achieve liberty. One strategy is using non-political means, such as agorism. Another is using libertarian socialism, or collective ownership of capital goods to achieve liberty. Even another is using the state to set central planning strategies to achieve liberty. Proponents of these three ideologies mentioned may all identify themselves as libertarian. Since libertarianism is a very general term describing any ideology to achieve liberty, anyone, including fascists, can identify themselves as a libertarian.

Homo sapien irrationality

Inevitably, because strategies are incompatible, proponents of each strategy start to use name-calling methods, such as using "you are not a libertarian," to monopolize the term. These would result in label wars, and these wars are caused by the territorial behavior that is innate by humans. But the root of these wars are caused by the irrationality of Homo sapiens.

It is general knowledge that all Homo sapiens are unbelievably irrational. Irrational biases are all around human behavior. These behaviors are passed on by evolution, as adaptations to surrounding environments. Because of these biases, humans often subscribe to general concepts, which is void of any concrete identifier identifying the concept. This is the called problem of universals.

These behavior is exemplified by contemporary political attitudes. Political terms such as left-wing, right-wing, libertarian, conservative, liberal, fascist and moderate do not have any identifying attribute that is unique. Right-wingers often use the term left-wing as a catch-all phrase, grouping all ideologies that he opposes, without any specific characteristic that is inherent in the left-wing ideology. These happens to left-wingers, as they debunk all ideologies that they disagree on as right-wing. One prominent example is the mainstream media. Right-wingers see the media as left-wing bias, and vice versa.

Label wars

Common political terms, because they are so abstract, would be fought on against each other. A solution is to use more specific terms, describing strategies, as opposed to more abstract ideologies. An easy solution is to replace libertarian with propertarian, liberal with economic interventionist, conservative with cultural conservative, and fascist with totalitarian.

Due to various interpretations, a fascist can also be a libertarian, because he believes that economic interventionism would result in more personal liberty. A authoritarian can also be a libertarian, because he believes that authority would result in order and liberty of each individual.

Evil is intrinsic to politicians

One popular question that is asked compares the evilness of leaders. Questions may be these "Is Hitler or Stalin more evil?," "Is Bush more evil than Hitler?" etc. At first glance, these answers may be obvious. But further examination would raise questions like "Stalin killed more people, but Hitler killed people because of their race, so Stalin is less evil." These problems are much more difficult to evaluate than their first appearance. Both Stalin, Hitler and Bush killed humans directly. So all three should be equivalently as evil. But some would argue that since Bush killed humans, albeit directly, is for "national defense," Bush is less evil than Stalin. However, a closer look suggests that they are the same. Both Bush and Stalin directly killed people because they thought that not killing people would result in less liberty overall. Stalin could have believed that killing people would keep him in power longer so he would reform the economy to prosperity, which would result in more liberty overall. Bush may have believed that killing people would result in more liberty overall. Hitler could have believed in the same thing. He could have believed that overall, killing the "inferior races" would result in more liberty. Thus, we should conclude that these three leaders are equivalently evil; they just have different beliefs of their strategies to achieve an ideology: liberty.

We have discussed that the direct murderers are equivalently evil, but what we have not examined is those who are indirectly murderers. Nearly every politician has indirectly stole, murdered or otherwise hurt some people at the expense of another. Contemporary politicians of all political parties indirectly stole and murdered some people. For example, some may have set tariffs that led to famine and malnutrition that caused the death of millions of individuals. Some may consider that those who indirectly damage Homo sapiens are not as evil as those who directly did. But their argument depends on the definition of "evilness." Is it evil for some who unintentionally murdered or is it evil for someone who intentionally murdered?

It is a product of irrationality that caused the indirect murders and harmful consequences. The more irrational the politician is, the more likely that he would indirectly harm individuals. Politicians, after all, do not have any obligation to be more rational. They do not have any incentives nor responsibility for their irrational actions. If they could spend more time deciding their choices, they would hurt individual less. Since politicians are selfish and do not want to spend time deciding the quality of their choices, they are indirectly contributing to murder and damage to Homo sapiens. Therefore, indirect torts should be evil as well.

Popular politicians such as Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro may be perfectly nice on their ideology, but it is their irrational strategy that caused the deaths of individuals. Strategy is a very important aspect to achieve an ideology. Strategy is high dependent of rationality, which most Homo sapiens lack. Therefore, it is the irrationality of Homo sapiens that should be fixed.

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