UNETHICS and LIES: CALLING A SPADE A SPADE

LIES and LYING:  CALLING A SPADE A SPADE

When a close friend or relative lies to you, chances are you’ll call him a liar.  But when a politician lies to you, you accept it as a matter of course because “they all do it.”  When have you seen politicians (from top to bottom) called liars when they’ve blatantly lied?  Rarely?  Ever?  If they were called liars in print or on TV, there’d be less of it.

Blame it on political correctness, or possibly “hurting their feelings,” or some other liberal (sorry, but it’s true) excuse.  Being direct has a way of making a point that lasts longer than the time to say it.

Politicians, from the top down, LIE to get elected (if you need proof of this, you’re living in some other universe).  Ergo, lying is acceptable in politics, where

ETHICS UNPLUGGED

ETHICAL ISSUES:  WHAT ETHICS IS ALL ABOUT

Unplugged, in its musical connotation, means unamplified—unembellished (acoustic) content.  In another sense it refers to removing obstruction(s): clearing the way to the goal (think plumber’s plunger).  Both apply here; simplicity is the watchword. Getting at ethics via philosophy can be daunting, so we’re going to bypass all that for now.  Ethics (with respect to its adjective ethical) can be reduced to a simple model that can be applied to everyday living in a very basic way.  Here it is—ethics for everyone, in five paragraphs.

HOW TO BE ETHICAL

You certainly can get by without walking the ethical line. Most people do in fact wander from it whenever it suits them. But Natural Law comes with our being, and we’re able to take advantage of (or ignore) it because it’s always there in spite of us. The truth is that we correctly assume that most people will behave predictably because of it, and most of us do, most of the time.  But it’s also true that some of us take advantage of those trusting souls who generally do follow it. We can use it to our advantage without subscribing to it, but is this right?  It certainly isn’t ethical. To be ethical, the Golden Rule really says it all if you would reflect on all that it implies.  Simply “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Or if that doesn’t resonate, try the Confucian “Do not do to another what you would not want him to do to you.” Or Kant’s more prolix Categorical Imperative: “Act only according to that maxim through which you can at the same time (resolve) that it should become a universal law.”  (More simply: what if your mother read about it in the newspaper…) But maybe you expect something more than (what really are not) platitudes, so let’s try another tack: Honestly acknowledge, affirm, accept and apply what is (fact, truth), and actively encourage the same in others.  This will work very well, by the way.  You can stop right here and have the gist of this article.  Or you may read on for more detail. It’s a fact that you can’t know something that isn’t true.  Knowledge requires truth—fact—which represents what is.  What isn’t counts for nothing.  To be ethical you have to first acknowledge and affirm the facts, accept them, and apply this knowledge, honestly; first to yourself, then to others, and do no harm while doing so.  Put in the form of simple exclusionary rules, try these: Do not violate trust (don’t lie, mislead, cheat or steal); and Do not cause harm (don’t murder, damage, impair or deprive). Stop me if I’m wrong, but we’re back to the Golden Rule and Confucius again.  Why make things complicated when they’re not? In the spirit of even greater simplicity, being ethical can be described in just one word: integrity.  Look it up and you will find that it means the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles; the state of being sound, undamaged.  Synonyms include: honesty, truth, actuality, veracity, reliability, incorruptibility, soundness.  You get the idea… What comes next should fill in the gaps and demonstrate why being ethical is essential to the complete human being.

TRUTH – an ETHICAL ISSUE

Living with the truth is, in fact, what EXTREME ETHICS is all about.

John Ransom in a recent column: “Today all you have to do is repeat a thing often enough and it becomes truth. …(P)eople can no longer recognize even their own lies. They can’t distinguish between what is true and the fantasy that exists only in their imagination.  And…there’s only one word you can use to describe it: psychosis.”  Strong words, remarkably well-put and worthy of our attention.  But wait…  Is it the TRUTH?

truth

…What it’s all about

 

Well, before we can deal with that question it’s necessary to come to terms with truth. 

Truth is, simply, what is, tangible and verified or verifiable, real and actual, that exists.  It is a noun and only a noun, one and the same as reality and fact; it

ETHICS ISSUES: TRUTH & FACTS (of LIFE)

ETHICS, TRUTH and NATURE

Ethics is all about truth, and the truth is: Nature Bats Last.  No matter what man does, nature has the last word.  Here’s another truism:

Nature Doesn’t Lie.  Nature is exactly what it is, no more, no less—the essence of truth. And truth is exactly what it is—no more, no less than perfection. We don’t define perfection because we can’t achieve it.  It remains beyond us.  Further, we have stipulated truth as being free of lies (i.e., untruths are not truth.  Duh…).

But that’s as far as we can go. Truth can’t be perfectly defined because truth is an a priori cause—a First Principle–that can’t be defined by its effect[s]i.e., truth is a givenEverything requires truth to even be (exist) in the first place.  (This means that truth must have preceded even the Universe, which couldn’t exist without it). www.extremeethics.org/?p=974

But the concept (of truth) has to be articulated to some degree so that we can deal with it—after all, that’s why man invented words.  The following definition (not original) is based on perfection (another First Principle):  a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle; being in conformity with reality, transcending even what may be perceived.  In other words, although something may be true, we may not comprehend it. This is important.  As an example:  consider the Universe.  It’s real, but we don’t fully comprehend it.  It’s literally beyond us.

ETHICS, LAW, and THE RULES of LAWYERS

ETHICAL ISSUES:  THE LAW

The rule of law is the most significant issue facing our civilization, an insidious deterioration of the principles on which the republic is built.”  So said Robert Bartley in The Wall Street Journal of September 19, 2000.  He was right then, and he’s right now.

In the eight centuries since the Magna Carta, we have increasingly taken the rule of law for granted, not to mention bending, folding, spindling and otherwise mutilating it along the way.  Our law has been molded by hundreds of years of subjective experience, shaping our behavior to the point where its beginnings are lost in clouds of uncertainty.  Further, this vast accumulation of experience encourages us to selectively pick only those pieces that seem to justify our need at any given moment.  This is fodder for lawyers, whose job it is to sort through the plethora of records and determine a course of action for any given situation.  Somebody has to do it.

ETHICS IN RETREAT: MODERN POLITICS

ETHICAL ISSUES:  POLITICS

Whereas an earlier post described conservatism/Constitutionalism in apolitical terms, this one confirms liberalism as innately political. Welcome to Realpolitik–politics without ethics.

Today’s liberalism is rooted in the cultural revolution of the Enlightenment. Enlightened(?) intellectuals reject the traditions of the past, especially its entrenched historical religious authority, embracing instead a secular ethic of natural reason—conclusions based solely on physical evidence—pioneered by the  largely mechanistic Cartesian  approach to the world.  The ‘enlightened’ view the world as a sophisticated machine, an apglobal_warming_by_teabing1pliance with no self-healing properties not able to survive on its own.  Well, millions of years of earth history confirms that it’s just not so,.  Natural/organic systems are “non-fragile,” meaning they develop as a response to disorder.  In other words, they repair and develop on their own, and we don’t have a clue how that works.  That being said…

Modern liberal thought is founded in the Critical Theory of the ‘30s. Based on Marxist conjecture and an underlying thesis that “history is about which groups have power over which other groups,” it combined social theory, philosophy, economics and cultural criticism in its behalf.  Its framework includes deconstructionism, an outgrowth of the ‘philosophy of language’, that removes meaning from existing text and reinserts another meaning of current liberal choice.  (It amounts to one’s being told by the ‘enlightened’ elite what one thinks.)