Sunday, 16 April 2017

Thought 516: Morality and the Big & Powerful

Question: when did the big and powerful ever get big and powerful through being moral?

They might have become powerful despite being moral but I doubt they ever did because they were moral. 

As someone said, it is not simply that power corrupts, but that power attracts the corruptible, i.e. those prepared to compromise themselves in moral terms.

And indeed it is known among psychologists that psychopathic individuals get off on having power over others, which is why Plato, who knew this, although more in terms of 'evil, wicked men', thought that the only time a political system, i.e. a system of power organisation, would be a moral one would be when those least attracted to power - genuine philosophers - would be forced into it, against their will, for to them worldly power is nothing but a burden of great responsibility whereas psychopaths see it as a great way to shelter themselves from moral responsibility and the consequences of their actions.

However, power itself may be immoral since, politically understood, power means nothing other than the ability to make others do what they would not otherwise do, which is to say, coerce them and rob them of their spontaneous free will, including by violating their natural law rights not to be harmed or thieved. 

In fact, the question at the beginning of this post invites three responses, a moral one, an immoral one and an amoral one.
  • The moral one: the question shows that it is the big and powerful who are the problem, including those who in their wilful ignorance and order-following give them power, because they are immoral almost by definition.
  • The immoral one: the question shows that morality is for weak people because only those who are prepared to violate it get to have worldly power and a coercive influence on their contemporaries - in other words, morality is for losers.
  • The amoral one: there being no such thing as moral facts in nature, it is natural that the most ruthless and uncaring, unburdened as they are by conscience, get to be masters of the world through superior strength and violence and that the prey who suffer under these predators invent moral grounds to tarnish these masters and make themselves feel better about their lot (Nietzsche's argument in Genealogy of Morality). 
Nietzsche viewed power in a positive light, seeing will-to-power as inherent in nature, therefore took sides against 'anti-nature' morality (or what he called slave morality as opposed to master morality, which he favoured, but on reflection reveals itself to be no morality at all). 

Or was it that he took a poor view of morality (anti-nature) and therefore took sides in favour of power (nature)? 

Unfortunately, those who are attracted to power and who wield it rarely have the honesty of a Nietzsche in flagging themselves up as immoralists, let alone as being immoral. 

Rather, as I wrote in my writing Evil as Test, power and its immorality love to disguise themselves in the cloak of good intentions and morality itself. 

Evil rarely openly warns people of its nature and tells them 
"Hi I'm Evil and I'm going to make you suffer for my own benefit."
It is therefore logical that power should in fact operate in secrecy and concealment, or even through mass mind control and deception, as American conspiracy researcher Jim Marrs understood in writing a book entitled Rule by Secrecy.

For if your true intentions are wholesome and palatable to the masses, why make them a secret or hide their true content under the cloak of the common good and popular causes? And why resort to mass mind control methodologies, making people act immorally through the spread of consciousness viruses in their brains?

Addendum - Psychopathy means, in Greek, suffering of the soul. It is a psychological illness, not the mark of superior individuals, and psychopaths tend to have no depth or creative capacity, which are the two human characteristics Nietzsche valued the most. As ever in my maturer years, I think that philosopher is remarkable in the extent to which he mis-judged things, providing a useful template in his bad example on how not to think. This includes how he thought moral conscience was the fruit of historical decadence and degeneration as opposed to being the mark of healthy, right-minded individuals and that free will was an illusion created by necessity itself rather than a tangible psychological reality achieved through aligning our thoughts with our emotions and actions. In addition, Nietzsche's rejection of metaphysics and indeed Heidegger's wish to overcome metaphysical evaluations are not philosophical endeavours I identify with.