2015/11/16

Sad Puppies, SJWs, and Ethics

business ethics

The SJW cult had been going from strength to strength in recent years. From academia to the hard sciences; from SFF publishing to comics, their dominance seemed total--and not about to wane anytime soon.

But like the tyrannical governor whose tightly squeezed subjects increasingly slip through his fingers, the dominant Narrative has started to crack in a few unexpected places.

Activist journalists bit off more than they could chew when they tried imposing the social justice script on gamers. At about the same time, Larry Correia's Sad Puppies campaign reached critical mass under the leadership of fellow Baen author Brad R. Torgersen.

Though Sad Puppies 3 largely failed to restore the Hugo rocket's honor as a populist prize awarded to meritorious works of SFF, Vox Day's parallel Rabid Puppies slate seized the initiative to spectacularly fulfill its objective of making the World Con CHORFs burn down their own awards.

As I and my esteemed colleague Daddy Warpig have noted, Larry and Vox were the real winners of this year's Hugos, despite not taking home a single trophy. Larry's observations of a biased clique controlling the awards were proven true for a conclusive third year in a row, and Vox's fiendishly laid Xanatos Gambit forced his opponents to publicly self-destruct.

The Sad Puppies/Gamer Gate/Superversive movement now faces the perennial problem of resistance forces that have had their first taste of major success: internal conflict over what to do next.

A recent post by Sad Puppies 4 organizer Kate "The Impaler" Paulk sparked debate between factions invoking Enlightenment values of civility and fair play ("He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster.") vs. those lobbying for scorched earth tactics ("It's the only way to be sure!").

Witnessing this philosophical squabble has forced me to reach a troubling conclusion:

By no means is this a statement of intellectual or--even more absurdly--moral superiority. It's simply an observation that, to my knowledge, no member of the Evil Legion of Evil has formal training in moral theology (corrections welcome).

Certainly their dread ranks contain lawyers, economists, accountants, soldiers, and philosophers of the highest caliber, but ethics is a complex discipline in which I happen to have some specialized knowledge.

Almost all of the thought leaders in SP/RP profess some form of Christianity and/or espouse Enlightenment values that are derived from and dependent upon Christian doctrine. This makes my task much easier, since I can cite basic moral principles with which a majority of people who maintain allegiance to classical, Christianity-derived Western concepts of morality can agree.

My aim here is to offer information that may help the champions of civilization devise effective, ethical tactics for vanquishing the SJW cult.


Morality Is Absolute
"Subjective morality" is an oxymoron. By definition, moral principles apply to everyone, everywhere, at every time. Objecting that extenuating circumstances can affect the moral value of an act is a self-refuting appeal to an absolute principle in an attempt to refute the existence of absolute principles.

The existence of absolute morality is essential to the concept of inalienable rights. If some things aren't always right and some things aren't always wrong, then citizens have no leg to stand on when their government deprives them of life, liberty, or property in the name of the "greater good".

In short, the only two options are absolute morality or no morality.


How to Define an Act's Moral Value
Every willful human act has three elements that determine whether it's good or evil.

  • The object/matter of the deed itself: the immediate end willed by the actor (what was done).
  • Intent: the actor's ultimate motive (why it was done).
  • Circumstances: conditions that can modify, but not fundamentally change, the nature of the act (who, when, where, how)
Here's how to do the math: if all three elements of an act are good, then the act is good.

If even one element is evil, then the whole act is evil

God intends for the good, i.e. Himself, to be the final end of all human beings. Therefore all of our actions should be directed toward the good. This principle rules out intentionally doing evil, even if good might come of it (Romans 3:8).

Let's look at two examples of how to apply these principles in concrete situations.

A pro boxer enters the ring so he can excel as an athlete and earn a living. He trained hard for the fight, so he wins.

Another boxer agrees to a match for the same good reasons. He also wins--by loading his gloves.

Both cases have identical outcomes, but the second fighter's cheating makes his whole effort evil regardless of the goods he obtained.


Just War
Some people jump to the false conclusion that these principles dictate total pacifism. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Western moral tradition has acknowledged the justice and necessity of self-defense since at least St. Augustine's time, and St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that when defending oneself, even lethal force can be justified.

Civilized people aren't required to knuckle under in the face of an existential threat. And in case you haven't been paying attention, SJWs pose a threat to Western civilization itself.

The West is suffering a crisis of virtue. The cardinal virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice are being replaced by "soft virtues" like open-mindedness, empathy, tolerance, and fairness. Because wisdom is necessary for understanding and applying moral principles, moral decline is inevitable in cultures that lose the "hard" virtues.

Our Western way of life, which gave birth to scientific and artistic marvels unrivaled in world history, is under attack. Our livelihoods, and if nothing is done, our lives, are at stake.

Just war theory allows proportional response in self-defense against tyrants and to punish enemies who are guilty of grave evil. Note that I'm invoking just war doctrine by way of analogy. Actual violence would be a disproportionate response. "Fighting" in this context means "standing up for your principles".

In the current crisis, with venerable and beloved institutions that bring about great good under assault, not only is refusing to fight back a guaranteed path to defeat, it's downright evil.


Warning against Proportionalism and Consequentialism
While the enemy poses a grave threat that must be resisted, we must take care not to fall into errors that are equal and opposite to cowardly despair.

Proportionalism is a faulty method of judging an act's moral value based solely on short-term outcomes. It's essentially making a list of pros and cons and calling the act good if the pros outnumber the cons by even 1.

Consequentialism is similar, but it tries to make moral calls based on expected long-term results. Using this approach is asking for trouble, since predicting the future is a notoriously tricky business.

The fatal flaw of both proportionalism and consequentialism is that they're forms of moral relativism. They start by denying that there's any such thing as an intrinsically evil act and treat all human actions as neutral until all of the results are in. If the outcome is mostly positive, the whole act is deemed good, no matter the methods used or the collateral damage inflicted.

In short, since both of these methods treat morality as relative instead of absolute, they actually deny that morality exists.

Rejecting relativistic moral systems shouldn't be mistaken for arguing against certain tactics on the grounds that by using them we will somehow "become the enemy". Despite being an ontological impossibility, such arguments miss the point.

All human action should be directed toward the good. Fighting off hostile and implacable foes falls into that category. But the enemy is not the sole standard of evil, and copying their behavior is not the only path to hell. We should fight, and fight ethically, because as fallen creatures we are susceptible to evils of our own.

1 comment:

  1. http://freedompowerandwealth.com

    Moral relativists are unfit to even participate in a discussion about moral. How should you take serious what those folks say? “Everything is realtive” – Really? Don’t they see the contradiction? Declaring relativism as your absolutism and not even being honest enough to admit it. That is what we face knowadays.

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