[by Ben Noble]
Lets take a look at one of the biggest flaws I see in the ideologies of today. The backwards way that they develop many of their ethics. Lets define ethics before I go any further. According to Merriam-Webster, ethics is “an area of study that deals with ideas about what is good and bad behavior[.] [A] branch of philosophy dealing with what is morally right or wrong[.]”
It is not uncommon for ideologies to approach them from the top down. I’ll call this collectivist ethics. By this, I mean that they make observations about society and ex post facto develop ethical principles or rules for individuals to live by. This might be done innocently and with the best intentions, but it does open up the door for authoritarian ideologues to justify their desires to dominate others in a way that would make a dominatrix cringe. My safe word is “am I being detained?”
Nearly all ideologies fall into the temptation to observe a “negative” outcome in society and then create ethics that individuals have to live by in order to “correct” said outcome. This is often accompanied by a call for the government to intervene. For the arguments I make here, it doesn’t matter if the observations are true or not. The flaw is looking at the trends in human interactions, identifying the outcomes you want to change, and then creating rules to control human behavior to achieve that goal. This is collectivist ethics.
It’s rather insane because groups of people cannot act ethically or unethically. Groups are made up of individuals and only individuals can think and act. Not sure why this need to be explained. This is why the concept of “Social Justice” is bat shit insane, but I’ll get into that later. Ethics is about determining what is good and bad behavior for individuals. We create ethics for the interactions between individuals, not between individuals and groups. We didn’t determine that rape is wrong by comparing the statistics of consensual sex vs nonconsensual sex. We didn’t study the mental and physical ramifications that rape has on a person. We didn’t study whether or not rape is an effective way to continue the human race. We determined rape is wrong because it violates the consent of the person on the receiving end of the non-consensual sex. We analyzed that action by observing the individuals involved, not by looking at studies, statics, and group “actions”. This is how the ethical content of all actions need to be determined. Especially when it comes to nebulous concepts like “privilege.” [See Privilege is moral]
Don’t get me wrong, you can think whatever the hell you want and you should be free to persuade others of the virtues of those ideas. Hell, I don’t even strictly have any ethical qualms with private organizations and individuals calling people out, using social pressure, and ostracizing people they don’t like. Twitter and Facebook can ban conservatives from their site till they can’t remember what the world looks like outside their own colons. It’s their platforms and they can do with it what they please. Not being honest about it and that is a problem, though. Let them hang themselves. Property rights trump any childish principle of equal representation or inclusion. To be precise, my beef is with government coercion and an ideology’s willingness to wield it. Bad ethics backed by the power of the state cements those ethics into stone and brings the boot down on all our necks.
Without further ado, let’s make this whole exercise relevant to the title I chose for this post. Let’s analyze a few ideologies that I’ll call “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
The good: MGTOW
Surprised? Hear me out. As far as ideologies go, MGTOW is perhaps the lowest level offender, if at all. It is mainly focused on describing the world, the relationship between the sexes, and giving advice to men on how navigate those realities. The approach that MGTOW content creators take is varied. Some rely on anecdotal evidence to develop their ideas and some rely heavily on scientific studies, theories, and statistics. Regardless of their approach, they rarely, if ever, takes ethical stances or advocate for government enforcement of their preferences. It is concerned with helping men avoid the pitfalls in our society and to gain self actualization. All through voluntary persuasion.
I must admit that while I am not MGTOW, I do have a fondness for it because of it’s individualistic nature. It operates very much within with my personal political and ethical beliefs. Whether or not you like what MGTOW has to say about society or women or it’s advice to men, it does not seek to control anyone. For more of my thoughts on MGTOW see my video “Three things men should learn from MGTOW.”
The bad: Feminism / BLM / Social Justice
Feminism and its inbred cousins, Black Lives Matter and Social Justice, have a terminal case of collectivized ethics. Social Justice as defined by Wikipedia is “the fair and just relation between the individual and society.” I’m sure you see what I think the error is here. From seeking to control what people are allowed to say, how people run their businesses, and to dictating how people conduct their sex lives, feminists and the like are here to impose their societal preferences on us, and it’s working. They are the perfect example of compiling data and observations, as flawed and incorrect as they are, and using them to control the actions of individuals. Most often at the point of a gun held by government agents.
Almost the entirety of modern Feminist ethics is based on collectivized ethics. If one group is perceived to be suffering in some way then there must be some other group that is the cause. If there is a group that is at fault, then the individuals in that group are at fault as well. Do you get where I’m going here? If you approach ethics this way then all the people in the “offending” group are at fault no matter how pure their personal actions are. After all “you’re fucking a white male!” is a rebuttal given to counter arguments given by, you guessed it, white males. This approach inevitably leads to white washing (ironic word, eh?) all the individuals in the “oppressed” group and convicting all the individuals in the “oppressing” group. It’s a victim cult placing original sin on all the individuals of an out group. I am no fan of modern policing, but BLM does this with the police. No matter how criminal and in the wrong a black individual might be that gets shot by police they will react in the worse possible way. Everything is on the table from conducting disruptive demonstrations to outright riots. The black individual’s membership in the black community absolves them of their wrong doing and the police officer’s membership to law enforcement ensures his automatic guilt.
This is the approach that is used when feminism talks about the wage gap, affirmative action, toxic masculinity, gender roles, hate speech, gender representation in industry, and so on. For all their talk of the importance of consent in interpersonal and sexual interactions, they don’t give a damn about consensual activity that might contribute to “problematic” things about society. Their collectivist ethics trump their individual ethics every time. Most importantly to me is their blindness to the level of consent in the ultimate power disparity: the individual and government. For all the parts of our lives they want to control we should start talking about feminism’s “war on consent.” In their minds all their authoritarian actions are trying to reach some sort of utilitarian or egalitarian society. Which leads me to the final ideology on the chopping block.
The ugly: Utilitarianism / Egalitarianism
Utilitarianism and the similarly situated egalitarianism are presented as the ultimate “reasonable” ideologies. Utilitarianism stating that actions are “right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority.” Egalitarianism stating that “all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.” Even these ideologies, as fair and idealistic as they sound, are steeped in collectivized ethics. The very goal of “benefiting the majority” is an exercise in identifying a desirable societal outcome and binding the actions of individuals to it whether it’s paying X amount of taxes or prohibiting drugs. In addition, the starting point that all people are equal and deserve the same opportunities is also an exercise in making a generalization you wish were true and working down to the individual. No two individuals are equal and equalizing opportunities is impossible. Can we give a short guy the same opportunity to join the NBA as a tall guy? No. Equal rights is something I can get on board with, but that is a huge subject unto itself. Imagine the power that is contained in being able to define what “benefitting the majority” is or what “equality” looks like. These are the very premises people use to bully each other and that the government uses to increase it’s power over the lives of individuals. This is the call used by all tyrants and authoritarians.
One of the most dangerous things someone that follows a utilitarian ideology with authoritarian leanings can say is “according to scientific (or economic) studies X is true.” It appeals to the knee jerk impulse that people have nowadays to “follow the data.” If the data jumped off a cliff, would you follow it?… (dad joke +10 points) Should we subject free speech to scientific and statistical analysis to see if we should keep it? Freedom of religion? Private property? Consumption of unhealthy food and alcohol? Selection of a spouse? What if we could prove that limiting or abolishing these things would benefit the majority? I don’t think so. Are utilitarians a handful of data points away from becoming authoritarians? I think it’s a very real danger. Now that I think about it, if you look at the general electorate, we’re already there.
Collectivized ethics suffers from the same flaw that all collectivized things do. Responsibility and accountability for said thing is dispersed across an entire group of people so that all people are responsible and accountable for what happens no matter what they do as individuals. You are not responsible for the actions of people that share your gender, race, orientation, profession, or what have you. We already have a pretty good ethical foundation already. Our interpersonal interactions should be consensual.
You should be responsible for your actions. Thats it, even if those interactions add to some trend people don’t like. Ethics doesn’t give a shit about people’s authoritarian utopian visions of society. Ethics, which is focused on the individual, doesn’t change just because we might want to change some high level societal outcome. If your ideology tries to forcefully control the actions of peaceful individuals because something about society hurts your feelings, I suggesting getting a new ideology. Good ideas don’t require force.