The source of human morality
Morality that comes from reason, being aware of one's own attitudes and behaviors and how they impact others, recognizing the need for community and the responsibility to stand on principles give human beings all the information they need to live a moral life.

playlist by Joan Denoo


http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPblR4bWCoxlG80cuS2cPtVN0UXph...

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Replies to This Discussion

Joan, did matt dillahunty anywhere in his lectures acknowledge Tom Paine's view?

Morality, in government anyway, grew as monarchs felt so threatened by their subjects that, to keep their power and maybe their heads, they did as England's John did at Runymede when he signed the Magna Carta.

Before you reply, it's important to know that the Magna Carta gathered in one place the then-existing rights of only barons and bishops. The common folk remained on their own.

As Frederick Douglass said well, power does not yield calmly.

I don't recall Tom Paine as a reference and I am aware that the Magna Carta was not an instrument of the people. Barons and bishops made claims on the monarch; the people who performed work of the landowners and church had no source for power or consideration and their lives remained grim. Even the men who formed our government were property owners and some argued that only property owners were citizens and could vote. The notion that people who worked the land should be able to share in profits produced by labors came much later, even in our country.
The French Revolution was threatening enough that wealthy paid attention to demands of labor.
Do you think current affairs can be resolved without bloodshed?
I was part of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and even tho we didn't want bloodshed, ultimately, blood was spilled and property destroyed. If that is what it takes to bring about the kind of change I want to see happen, I am willing and able to support that effort. Our country was stronger and richer when workers had protections in the form of safety nets and higher wages. Times have changed and those protections will not return as before. There will be a new and different social organization. I'm not a socialist, but I am disillusioned with laissez-faire capitalism.

Joan, I was about two-thirds through a carefully thought-out reply when suddenly a screen message told me a page could not be found and cyberspace, or Yahoo, stole what I'd written. I'll try again later, probably in a Word document I can copy and paste.

I look forward to your reply. 

What I'd written, and cyberspace stole, evolved from a paraphrase of Lucy Stone, abolitionist turned suffragette:

In our childhoods, our adulthoods, in everything, disappointment is the lot of the 99%. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in the hearts of others in the 99% until they bow down to it no longer.

Stone's words were:

In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything, disappointment is the lot of woman. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman's heart until she bows down to it no longer.

Oh! Yes! These words, carved in my brain for whatever splendid time I have left! Thanks. 

"In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything, disappointment is the lot of woman. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman's heart until she bows down to it no longer."

Lucy Stone, abolitionist turned suffragette. “Disappointment Is the Lot of Women”.

Reprinted in "History of Woman Suffrage", vol. 1, edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (New York: Fowler and Wells, 1922), pp. 165–167

Thank you Tom Sarbeck 

Joan, second thoughts, and clearer thoughts too.

It's often important to clarify a statement, so I'm wondering if dillahunty distinguished between the terms in each of these:

1) "Morality, its source" and "Morality, its sources".

2) "The source of human morality" and "A source of human morality".

On each line, the first term suggests an authoritarian point of view; the second suggests a democratic point of view.

On Lucy Stone. Did she leave any information on what she did when she encountered people whose disappointment was so much a part of their personality that they resisted its being deepened?

I've met people whose responses to issues led to my deciding that talking with more democratically-inclined people would be a better use of my limited time.

As to whether I think current affairs can be resolved without bloodshed, the depth of disappointment matters, as does whether that disappointment be changed to anger.

I'm not a socialist, but I am disillusioned with laissez-faire capitalism.

I am certainly disillusioned with what we have now but it sure as hell isn't laissez-faire capitalism, and never was.

We have a government which is used by "capitalists" to grant favors, squash competition (a favorite method is to push for regulations they can afford to follow and a startup cannot, which is why Walmart came out in favor of Obamacare) and hand out subsidies.  The sad thing is that even a business determined not to use the government in this underhanded way has to hire lobbyists and the like to defend itself against their competitors that do, and sometimes they find even THAT is not enough to stay afloat when all their competitors get competitive advantage from goodies handed to them, so they either become what they loathe, and survive, or go out of business... either way all businesses in that industry end up playing the game.

In a laissez-faire system the government neither hinders nor favors businesses other than enforcing laws against the initiation of force and fraud. (It is not anarchy, because there is still a government.  Some will argue for something called anarcho-capitalism but I am not one of them.)  And that governmental hands-off (except in the case of genuine criminal activity) stance sure doesn't describe the system we've had in this country since any time in our lifetimes.

SteveInCO, Thank you for your comment. My obvious three questions are: 1. Do you have a name for what we now have? 2. What kind of government do you want to see for our nation? 3. Do you see anyone on the horizon who leads toward that preference?

1) It's a mixed economy of some sort.  Some people think the economy (and the economy only) is veering towards fascism, i.e., where someone has nominal ownership of a business but very little control and/or discretion over it.  Unfortunately the word fascism also brings up gas-chamber images so the term tends to cast more heat than it sheds light.

2) I'd like to see a government that confines itself to protecting people's basic rights--those that used to be called "natural."  Now the problem with that statement is the notion of a right itself means very different things to different people but my litmus test is if something must be taken away from someone else to provide you with a purported "right" it's not a genuine right.  Free speech, for example, is a genuine right because your free speech doesn't come at the expense of other people, but (say) a purported right to housing requires someone else to provide and pay for the housing.  All that having been said I don't believe a transition to this can happen overnight, many people for instance have become dependent on government programs because they felt free to plan on them being there.

3) Nope, no individual of any prominence, and neither of the two major parties.  The Rs are ever so slightly better on these sorts of economic issues in some respects, but the problem is they cooperate in mislabeling the current mixed jumble "capitalism" rather than a mixed economy.  So when the current mixed jumble turns out to suck, or implodes, "capitalism" gets the blame, when it could just as easily be the government involvement that caused the problem.  On the other hand the Rs will violate all sorts of rights that have less to do with the economy (such as, oh say, your religious freedoms, and noGod help you if you are gay or lesbian), so they just absolutely suck on that score.  And let's not even go into foreign policy where there is a shit ton of blame to go around on both sides.  Neither party scores more than about 10% on the "they will give Steve what he wants if they actually have the power to, much less when they have to fight tooth and nail against the other party" meter.

I'd have to say this is an interesting tangent we got off on here given you originally set this thread up to discuss morality, not politics!

Tom Sarbeck

Many people grow up in cultures that impose arbitrary rules on its members thinking the prime motivator is obedience and service to some supernatural being . Opinions carry from one generation to another, and like stagnant water, becomes infested with all kinds of deadly threats.

Born into a family with authoritarian values, churched by those values that go back, who knows how many generations, supported by education that used those traditions and values as the foundations upon which principles form, and maintained by all the other institutions, whether it be law enforcement or judicial decisions, those old authoritarian values no long match the needs of modern human needs.

Lucy Stone grew up in an authoritarian household. She didn’t have support of family, church, education, and social institutions that encouraged her grasp for freedom. She took it. She didn’t ask for permission, she didn’t ask for instructions, nor did she apologize. She determined to get an education, she learned how to think and reason, she stood on principles, and she organized for abolition as well as the freedom of women. The information Lucy Stone left was her example, and those who read her works and pay attention to her actions carry her legacy on to the future. She becomes immortal.

You are quite right about “talking to more democratically-inclined people would be a better use of my limited time.” That principle does not impose upon me the imperative to be silent when confronted by close-minded, delusional people who live in denial of needed changes in thinking and acting.

To claim that religion is an institution of love and compassion only deepens the meaning of their hypocrisy; just pay attention to how women exist as “imperfect males” in so many minds and how some GLBT endure “treatment” to change them to some “acceptable“ way of being.

To allow Bronze Age traditions and values dictate how one thinks denies the ability of the mind to learn healthier ways of flourishing and enforces imperatives on social structures to maintain and perpetuate the status quo.

That is the great tragedy: when something is difficult to understand, “goddidit” becomes the mantra instead of asking questions, experimenting, exploring, comparing and contrasting other ideas. It is the great barrier to a flourishing Earth.

If we remain timid, semi-warm, conciliatory about what we believe, there will be change, and not the kind that we want. Mother Nature has her own rules and she will be obeyed, or else.

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