Parco La Fenice - Moral Prejudices Essays On Ethics
Moral Prejudices Essays On Ethics Epub Book
Nevertheless deontological theories are more typical of moralism, since they can simply ignore consequences as irrelevant and locate all of ethics in moral principles.
Essay ethics moral prejudice - Tagarela Pet
To resume the argument, once let this right be granted —this right of free action and full enjoyment—and what follows? By it all those attempts of government to restrain people for their own good, are condemned. The man is to be his own judge, and you are not to tell him in what fashion he is to follow his religion, pursue his trade, enjoy his amusements, or in a word, live any part of his life. Neither are you to protect him in either body or mind. To protect one man you must take from the resources of another man—you must abridge the amount which the latter by his exertions has earned for himself. It is impossible to protect any one man save by diminishing the result of what the perfect enjoyment of liberty—that is the free use of his own faculties—has brought to another man, and therefore without taking into consideration here the weakening and destroying effects of protection upon the person protected, all protection equally with all restraint by force of government, must be held as a diminution from perfect liberty. It comes then to this, that except to protect the liberty of one man from the aggression of another man, that is, to repel force and fraud, which latter is force in disguise, you cannot justify the interferences of government in the affairs of the people, however benevolent or philanthropic may be the cloak you throw over them. That there may be certain cases which, from their very nature, are not cases to which the law applies, and which require special consideration, such, for example, as the management of property, wisely or unwisely placed in the hands of a government, I at once admit; into these I need not here enter. But bearing in mind that which Mr. Spencer has pointed out, the imperfection of all human definitions, and that at the boundary of every division into which we place existences of any kind, whether physical or mental, there is a point where it is impossible to say on which side of the line the thing in question lies; remembering that nature has not divided plant or animal, qualities of the mind, or even those ancient opposites, good and bad, into black and white squares, like those of a chessboard; but that, however complete and manifest may be their differences today, in virtue of that common root which existed in the ages of long ago, they still melt into each other by gradations too delicate for any point of separation to be fixed; remembering this, and making such allowance for it as is necessary, we may still say, and say truly, that the law knows no exception. You must accept human liberty whole or entire, or you must give up all cogency of reasoning by which to defend any part of it. Either it is a right, as sacred in one part as in another, an intelligible and demonstrable right, from which political justice and political equality intelligibly and demonstrably descend, or else it only exists in the world as a political luxury, a passing fashion, a convenience for obtaining certain economical advantages, which today is and tomorrow is not. Either you must treat men as self-responsible, as bearing their own burdens, and making their own lives, as free in thought, word and action, or you must treat them as so much political matter, which any government that can get into power may protect, restrain and fashion as it likes. In this case it all becomes subject matter for experiment, and Tory or Communist are alike free to work out their theories upon it, if they can only once count hands enough to transfer the magic possession of power to themselves. It is easy to perceive how long the reign of force has lasted in the world, how withering to conscience and to intellect has been its influence, when we find the great mass of men practically supporting such a creed. Out belief in force, our readiness to use it, and our obedience yielded to it, are but forms of fetish worship still left amongst us. Written in almost every heart, though unknown to the owner of it, are the words “force makes right.” Those who wish to escape from this baneful superstition, who wish to destroy its altar and cut down its groves, can only do so by taking their stand on plain, intelligible principle; can only do so by recognizing that there are moral laws standing above our human dealings with each other, laws which we cannot depart from, which we cannot recognize at one moment and ignore at the next to suit our party conveniences. No detached effort, no rising of a few people against some special wrong which personally affects them, will ever alter the world's present way of thinking. It must be the battle of principles—the principle of liberty against the principle of force. With slight alterations we may take the words of Lowell, and read our own meaning in them: