Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Next Great Moral Movement

Everyone keeps telling Republicans to lose the social issues.  Which is great advice, until the next great moral movement arrives.  Then you'd better get with the movement or disappear from the public square.

What do I mean?  I mean that human society runs partly on self-interest and partly on morality.  You may think that everyone operates purely on self-interest, but they don't.  People want to believe that they are on the side of the angels, and they spend a lot of energy persuading themselves that their nasty little hypocrisies are just minor and temporary diversions from the straight and true.  That is why they say that hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue.

If we look back at the modern age, we have seen two great moral movements.

The first was the anti-slavery movement.  The argument was simple.  Here we western chappies were drinking our tea and coffee with sugar from slave plantations, and making a nice little packet of money out of it too.  We were treating the slaves that put the sugar on our tables as mere human resources, human machines that we could exploit and use up without regard to their humanity.  The philosopher Immanuel Kant put it this way.  We should treat people as "ends" not as "means."  The plantation slave is the ultimate in treating a human as a means, a mere resource to be used and burned up like coal or oil.

The second great moral movement was similar to the first.  It was the socialist movement.  The argument was almost exactly the same.  We were treating the people that worked in factories, in mines, and mills, as if they were machines, to be worked hard until they were used up.  Again, like the plantation slave system, the factory system treated the worker as purely a means, a mere resource, rather than a brother or sister human.  It was inhuman.

It is easy to describe and to oppose such crimes against humanity, but much harder to really do something about them.  The battle against slavery ended in a century of Jim Crow for the liberated slaves, and the liberation of the worker spawned the most cruel and oppressive political regimes imaginable.

There is a reason why these noble movements went so far astray.  They put their faith in government and government is always and everywhere a system of force.  So, the activists decided that the solution to a system of exploitation and force was to substitute another system of force.  Tell me another one.

The upshot is that we have our modern gigantic governments careening out of control and enslaving their peoples in the name of liberation.

Obviously this will not go on forever.  A moral movement will arise to fight the injustice and the hypocrisy of a system that professes sweetness and light and practices the arts of oppression and exploitation.

Reenter the social issues.  The modern conservative critique of the liberal culture is that it is a culture of pure selfishness and encourages its votaries to treat all other humans as a means to an end.

Sex?  You can couple and uncouple as the mood takes you, but No means No except when it doesn't.  Marriage?  Critical for gays but optional for everyone else.  And babies.

Yeah.  A woman has the right to control her body.  And that means she can terminate the life of her "fetus" or "unborn baby" as she chooses, treating the life within her purely as a means rather than a end.

My guess is that, sooner or later, we will see a great moral movement arise about the whole question of sex, marriage, and abortion.  Whatever liberals say, the sexual revolution has been a mixed blessing to women and children--and men too.  You can see the results in Charles Murray's Coming Apart.  Marriage and family is doing fine in the upper-income educated class.  It is collapsing in the underclass and seriously damaged in the middle class.  Social collapse is really hard on the kiddies.

Nobody can predict the timeline on the next great moral movement, any more than people can predict the stock market.  My guess is that it will really get going in the debris of government debt and default that is coming in the next few years.  Probably it has already started, but we boobs can't see it because we are looking in the wrong places.

But when it comes it will change everything.

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