Saturday, February 18, 2012

Jack Camwell: Selfish, Immoral Fascist Part II

Teresa, according to Teresa
Let's talk about the "immoral," part.  My question to her was "by what standards am I immoral?  Yours?  The Catholic Church's?"  I'm not a relativist, and anyone who accuses me of being one is going to get shot down fairly quickly.  But exactly how am I immoral?  Does being pro-choice make me immoral?  Or am I immoral because I was in the military?  Or am I immoral because I think it's okay to drink alcohol?

Hopefully those questions helped to illustrate my point.  In case they didn't, the point is that there are a lot of people who consider me to be immoral for various reasons.  To a hard core fundamentalist Muslim, I'm immoral just for being Christian, let alone the fact that I'm totes okay with drinking alcohol and eating pork.  To some Protestants, I'm immoral just for being Catholic.  I'm immoral to a lot of anti-war asshats because I served in the military.  Similarly, I'm immoral to a lot of hard core Christians because I'm pro-choice.

Yesterday, Silver made a very good point.  He said that since I reject many of the moral standards set by the Catholic church then I am immoral according to their rubric.

Morality is, in actuality, a very gray thing in most cases.  I know a lot of people like to think it's black and white, but anyone who has ever been stuck in a shitty situation knows that black and white is usually not the case.  Let's use abortion for an example.  Is it moral to tell a woman she must keep her rape baby?  Is it moral to tell a woman that she must give her life to give birth to her child?  Is it immoral for a woman to choose her life over that of her unborn baby?

Fortunately, some other guy, dmarks, jumped in on this discussion and tried to support Teresa.  He said that because I'm "okay" with abortion, then I'm the type of guy who thinks "violence is okay so long as it doesn't affect me."

Wow, okay, well thank you for joining on the "let's make completely retarded and erroneous assumptions about Jack's moral character so that he can shut us down and make us look like morons" train.  No, you dumbass, I don't believe that.  What that guy and Teresa are doing is applying the logic of a very particular situation to other situations that are not the same.

"You're opposed to hunger, but it's okay for people to starve."

Question: when is it ever justified to let someone starve?  Follow-up question: is it ever justified to take a life?  Of course there are a lot of nuances with the notion of taking a human life, and not every situation is the same, but that's the point.  Just because I think it's sometimes justified to take a life doesn't automatically mean that I think everything is morally permissible.

Me, according to Teresa
It's nice to know that Teresa is the grand arbiter of all things moral in the world, and I must say I was pretty shocked to discover that I'm apparently "immoral."  I was even more saddened to discover that I'm totally okay with all sorts of immoral behavior so long as I'm not affected.  You know, I should probably just throw myself at the mercy of whatever God Teresa believes in and follow her moral code.  Or, I should throw myself at the mercy of Allah and follow the principles of Islam.  Or maybe I should become a Mormon and follow their shit.

Hopefully you all see where that is going.  I'm not going to throw myself at any religion's mercy.  What I am going to do, however, is do what I think is right.  I believe in liberty and justice, and the things I do with my life are directed towards making the world a freer and more just place--a better place.  If some high-horse moralist assholes have a problem with that, well then you can simply blow it out your asses.

Can you really blame me for following my conscience Teresa?


Jersey McJones said...

I was personally appalled by the way they were abusing you for your position. Reminds me of a friend of mine, a very pious and religious older woman who lives in my town. She is afraid to assert her position on the abortion debate among her fellow church goers. She is personally pro-life, but she does not feel it is her prerogative to tell other people they must conform to her religious position, and so politically she is pro-choice. I've known many folks who feel the same way she does. If you said she was "immoral" to my face, I'd get pretty damned mad about it. She's a very pious, decent human being.


KP said...

A few months ago, another blogger commented here on morality vs ethics, but he didn't go into any detail. So I wrote him off line and asked his opinion. I thought it was a good one and saved it:

"Generally speaking, ethics are a behavioral code derived philosophically, not religiously. Morality, however, has a religious basis. Medical professionals, lawyers, and many other professionals have formal ethical rules. These were not derived by reference to a specific religious doctrine. Morality, however, does have a religious basis."

He went on to share some thoughts about our ability to know things. I won't quote him but it was something like this:

As humans we have cognitive and perception limitations. So, a bit of humility is often wise when we feel ourselves overconfident about our capacity to perceive and process information. I would think that is especially important if we are going to forcefully tell others what they should and should not believe. I'd have to say the posters could have been kinder in their responses to you Jack. But ol' SF is a gentleman :)

Silverfiddle said...

"I'm not a relativist, and anyone who accuses me of being one is going to get shot down fairly quickly."

But you are when it comes to abortion. Depending on the circumstances of impregnation and the attitude of the mother determines the rightness or wrongness of the abortion, no?

I ask this not to attack, but to gain clarity.

Jersey McJones said...

Silver, by your definition of "relativist" you are saying that Jack's position can change with the popular wind, that he has no standard on this subject. But you are facially wrong. He has an applicable standard. How do you not see that? Not everyone is convinced by your argument, by a long shot. Billions of people see this very differently from you. Can't you respect any different way of seeing this?


Silverfiddle said...

Yes Jersey, I can and do respect Jack's thoughts on this. Can't you tell by the way I asked the question, politely, with qualifications, and not the fleck-spittle anger that usually accompanies your remarks?

Jack Camwell said...

A valid question Silver.

No, if I were a relativist then I would say "the moral rightness and wrongness depends entirely on the person's perspective and what they believe to be true."

Lets say you shoot someone in the face because he's coming at you with a knife and he's going to stab you to death if you don't shoot him. We would say that although killing the person is a bad thing, you were justified in killing him because it was to defend yourself. We would say that your action in that situation was probably not immoral.

But, if you shoot a man in the face who is not attacking you, and you do it simply because you want to take a life, then we would say that your action is not justified and therefor probably immoral.

It's the exact same action: shooting a man in the face. But given the circumstances of why you're shooting him in the face, the justification of the action, and the inherent morality of the action, also changes.

And there I'm making morally absolute judgments. Same with abortion. I think the degree of wrongness changes depending on the circumstances, not on how the mother feels about it.

Silverfiddle said...

OK Jack. It seems you take the utilitarian view, weighing out the greater good?

See there, Jersey? That's how intelligent adults have a discussion and politely question one another's philosophical positions.

Jack Camwell said...

No, I definitely don't buy into utilitarianism. In fact, I'm vehemently opposed to it.

I'm a Machiavellian, which is not the same as being a utilitarian. By using the "greater good" argument, that amounts to saying that there are some goods that are better than others. Who gets to decide which good is better, and who has to sacrifice their good for someone else's good?

Also, the utilitarian perspective is used to morally justify some seriously immoral behavior, thus absolving people of all moral culpability.

In a case of abortion to save the mother's life, there really aren't any good solutions. No matter what the woman chooses, she's choosing to end a life.

We believe that everyone has a right to life, yes? If so, then that means the mother has just as much of a right to life as her unborn child. So for the mother to choose her life over that of the child's is well within her rights. She has the right to protect her life and live.

My point is that it's not for anyone to decide but her, because it's her life on the line. And I recognize that sometimes we are faced with situations in which there are no good options. Sometimes it's not a choice between "good and bad." Sometimes it's a choice between "bad, worse, worst."

Anonymous said...

I would chime in, but me and Jackie totally beat the abortion issue into oblivion on the phone the other day =p