Delmar England (delmar@ct.net)
Thu, 02 Oct 1997 18:49:17 -0400

The concept, morality, is probably the most popular topic of
conversation in the world. Wherever one turns, one is inundated
by talk of morally right, or moral rights, or the complement,
morally wrong, or immoral, but I don't suppose anyone claims
"immoral rights"; at least, I haven't heard of any doing so. All
in all, there are a lot of words flying about on this subject
with some rather strong emotions often attached. The problem is
this airborne dialogue on "morality" seems to stay airborne,
which puts me to wondering just what the hoopla is all about.
What's all the rhetoric attached to? Why do some feel the need to
"justify" their actions? And "justify" by what? It appears that
the Extropian List has its fair share of "moralist", so maybe
someone can help me out on this.

I understand cause and effect, that all actions have
consequences. I understand that consequences to my liking I call
good, and those I do not like, I call bad. Does not every
individual do the same? I hear "morally right" and "morally
wrong", but it fits not in my thinking. I can grasp right as
proper means suited to a specific purpose. By the same token, I
can grasp wrong means for a specific purpose. But purpose is a
matter of individual choice is it not? So, is a "moralist" simply
saying that what is suited to his purpose is called moral and
that which is not is called immoral? If not his purpose, whose?
Or what's? Can we have "good or bad" without purpose?

There are those that say that what is according to "God's will"
is moral; that which opposes is immoral. Alas, it appears that
"God's will" is a diverse thing and the differences of opinion
follow suspiciously along individual lines. One might say that it
is immoral to eat a hot dog while another disagrees, but holds
that it is moral to exterminate all non believers. Thus does
"good and evil" cover a wide "moral and immoral" range" of

Then there are those who consciously and verbally dismiss such
mysticism as "God's will", yet cling no less tenaciously to the
idea of morality than the most devout believers in formal
religion. When pressed for an answer to the question of reference
for claims of moral or immoral, they are at a loss to provide it.
Some say that which is consistent with life is moral; that which
is inconsistent with life is immoral. This leaves a lot of
questions unanswered. If one is talking about just bare survival,
there still remains the question of personal choice. Beyond this,
choices, decisions and actions comprise an active life. To just
say that "life" is a standard not only denies personal choice,
but totally ignores the elements that make up an ongoing life. To
prepare a list of "moral or immoral" things and attempt to
validate such a list is venture that many include in their daily
routine. Thus by inference do they fall right back into the
mysticism of "God's will" and a set of "oughts" for one and all.
The "oughts" and "shoulds" fill the air and air seems to be their
only filler, for "ought" is recognition of "not is", and the
twain shall never in reality meet.

The issue can be illuminated by a simple observation and a brief
question or two: The terms, good and bad, have no definitive
meaning except in the evaluation of means in respect of a
particular end. Suited or unsuited is the question that answers
the question, good or bad. So how does this "morality" stuff get
into the picture? Is the particular end by individual creating,
or is it a claim of discovery existing independently of
individual creating? If the former, then all individuals and
their ends chosen are no less viable. All arguments of "morality"
are pointless.

On the other hand, if it is claimed the end reference purpose for
"moral" or "immoral" is discovered outside of self or
independently of any individual, whether the alleged source is
called "God", "Nature", whatever, is immaterial. A purpose
existing independently of individual creating necessarily implies
a volitional source existing independently of individual. Thus
one must claim personal values as the basis for "morality" or
concede a "superior being" as source. I know of none who claim
the former. Although not named and often vehemently denied, this
leaves the latter, i.e, the concept, superior being, as the root
of "morality." From the concept, superior being, comes the
concept, inferior being. This is inevitably followed by
subordination and rule. Since history books and daily newspapers
tell of the horrendous consequences, I need not elaborate here.

To be sure, the idea of the "innate evil of man" in need of
redemption and external control by "non man" is deeply embedded
in the psyche of nearly all. In denial of this belief, they are
hard put to explain the feeling of fear at the thought of leaving
an individual to his choices and own devices. Thus do they pursue "moral
control" for the sake of "security" in a never ending self-
fulfilling prophecy of death and destruction. Do not the facts
bear out this conclusion? An "unquestionable" sacred idea built
on illusion may be emotionally comforting, but it is often quite

If I have erred in my deliberations and calculations, please
point out the wheres and whys of the flaws and I shall be

Delmar England