Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Explanation of the Moral Contract and its Origin

The moral contract is an unspoken rule between all human beings; no human shall harm any other human. Such a contract, applied to a nonsentient creature(i.e. an animal, as they shall be referred to herein), is exactly as simple as it sounds - that is, a provision against violent attack. However, with the intelligence of humans comes two additional notations.

First, the human concept of self and the emotional advancement and personality that come with it develop the possibility of harm through nonviolent means - emotional or psychological harm. Of course, making someone feel bad by insulting him or by making fun of him does not count; such harm is brief and requires no effort to heal, nor does it provide any danger to the attacked's ultimate success or survival whatsoever. However, a malevolent campaign of such attacks can result in the attacked requiring difficult, expensive psychological treatment or have severe consequences in the course of the life of the attacked in ways that endanger the attacked's success. Any action that can be demonstrated to have caused long-term harm to a person constitutes an attack.

The second addition is more complicated, and to understand it we must first delve backward into the purpose of the moral contract. The reason why we wish not to be harmed is this: it damages the likelihood of our survival and success, and by that our likelihood of entering a relationship with a member of the opposite sex in a high position, and giving the children from that relationship a high chance of survival, thereby increasing minutely the likelihood of the survival of the human race. I admit freely that the logic does not hold up at that final level; it is not supposed to. At that level instincts from the animal level take over and with it the illogic of nature's developmental process. What is logical, however, is that based on that need human beings have a desire to preserve their own health, in other words, to be free from harm.

So humans agree not to harm each other, wordlessly. The alternative to this moral contract is total disorder. Without this basis, there is no hold on violence, and so violence becomes the method of advancement. Anyone who wants to advance must simply attack the person immediately above them and take their position, in a manner similar to challenging the alpha male in a pack. In such a system, the only people who are secure are those in the bottom caste with no desire for advancement - except that such powerless people have no defense against nature's attacks - disease, hurricanes, earthquates, rabid ostriches, et cetera. Meanwhile, everyone in a higher caste must use extensive time, effort, and expense protecting themselves from omnipresent attacks.

So everyone in any caste but the bottom benefits immediately because they can extend more resources toward advancement upward rather than defense against their subordinates' own ambitions of upward advancement. The bottom caste benefits from the moral contract as well, though indirectly. As the contract allows those in the top levels to retain their position and to devote extensive resources toward their own advancement, they increasingly must employ more and more people from the bottom levels. The bottom caste, now employed, gain money from their new careers and with it some degree of shelter from the attacks of nature and some prospect of advancement even against their better-equipped upward neighbors.

But the part of that reasoning that matters to the second addition is the idea that the desire not to be harmed stems from the desire to survive and succeed and that being harmed damages the ability to do those things.

We shall, then, redefine harm to mean just that: "to damage another's likelihood of survival and success without their consent."

So the final kind of this new harm is specific to societies that recognize individual ownership of property. In a society that does, which is to say all of them, possessions are tools for survival and success - even items of purely artistic value make their owners to seem as if they are in a higher caste and retain and often gain material worth so that they can be sold in order to afford something that provides a more immediate gain. So in this context possessions are an extension of the body, and taking or damaging them without consent of the owner of the possessions is a violation of the moral contract because it endangers the owner's chances of success.

In fewer words: the moral contract pro humanis is an unspoken agreement between all humans not to harm any other human without their prior consent, either through damage to their body, mind, or property.

Monday, September 19, 2005

My Party

All right, all none of you.

I'm here to talk.

Everything you see in the title, the name, the web address - all of it means something to me. The title up there - where it says "Libertarian..."... that is my political stance.
But don't you ever go and peg me as a member of the Libertarian Party. Because that Party is missing two key points - first, it's missing the fact that Libertarianism represents economic conservatism, not social conservatism; second, it's missing any semblance of a realistic foreign policy.

But before we go into my own opinions, I have a bit of a disclaimer to make. I personally feel that it's important for people to recognize my own bias. At present I am divided between the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian Parties, leaning toward the Republican Party on issues of foreign policy and a few economic programs such as social security, toward the Democratic Party in terms of most social programs(with the notable exceptions of firearm regulation and abortion), and toward the Libertarian Party in terms of basically everything but foreign policy and abortion.

While, enumerated like that, it seems like I lean toward the Libertarian Party, this is not at all true. To me, foreign policy is every bit as important as domestic policy, and probably more so for a nation in the position of the United States. As such, unless the party shared my domestic policy entirely and some of my foreign policy, I would refuse to support it. The LP fits neither of these criteria. While the GOP shares much of my interventionist views, it disagrees with me on a few specifics and one general issue - the reason for interventionism. While the GOP supports it as part of the "global war on terror", which brings to mind nostalgia for Napoleon's famous "campaign on flanking maneuvers", I support the old-skool wars for human rights and a general campaign for the spread of democratic principles. Nevertheless, I identify most with the GOP's platform.

Check it - those words are in italics for a reason. And here it is:

Despite the fact that I indentify least with the Democratic Party, I find myself supporting each of its candidates more than the candidates presented by the Republican Party. Why is this? Because they're smart. Every Presidential election going back to the year I was born has fielded a Democratic candidate that was at least somewhat charismatic and gave off the impression that he was intelligent and educated. And so I would support every single one of them against their Republican rival because I get the feeling form each one of them that even if they disagree with me, they've made a rational study of the facts and come to different conclusions than I have, whereas I have consistently - although maybe this is simply because our current President, his father, and Mr. Dole have been the Republican presidential candidates for all of my life - found no charisma whatsoever in the GOP candidates nor have I ever gotten the impression that they made more than a cursory examination of core principles and philosophical concepts in the establishment of their opinions, preferring to turn to the first thing that strikes their fancy.

So that's me. I'll go more in depth on my opinions and the basis of them at some point in the future.