On David Johnson: Revolutionizing Ethics

This is one of the best discussions I have read on how our internal belief systems are pervasively decaying our ability to change. Most of the folks that post here are certainly of some higher social class, and have taken instruction in comforting themselves with their rational self interest and ability to follow social norms that support their continued prosperity. There are two fallacies of choice pointed out here and I see our culture swinging between them with no middle ground. The first is one he clearly points out, that a poor worker living under a civil regime such as Bangaladesh has limited choices defined by the conditions that are in their immediate realms, they must eat to live and any job will do. The second is the fallacy of choice we have here in the States. We are constantly bombarded with images and words indicating there is an infinte number competiting choices that can make one better, happier and prosperous. Here people also need to eat, but part of the system here is to make sure each regular person has internalized the belief that they are a failure when poverty and calamity strike them. How can the system be wrong when it offers so many choices? Don’t question the system, because you certainly did something wrong to deserve your fate. Can’t get back on your feet after a layoff? Retrain yourself, color your hair, work out, lose weight, be better than before. You can choose to be a lazy slug who doesn’t want to get off your can and work, or rise to the occasion. And there is no middle ground, no accounting for true failures of legal and moral systems that are making life for most people difficult and ugly. There is no metaphysical answer because capitalism is an inherently material system, making many ethical assumptions that are not supported by any physical incarnation of its premises. And any attempt to answer this question without calling into question the validity of its assumptions is not allowed. Capitalism is the new religion, it is it’s own answer, and it looks with disfavor upon those who are unbelievers, as it were. Every choice in the current US culture is fertilized in the petri dish of transactional biology and unavoidable. Fortunately the arc of history tells us all systems end, some more quickly than others and we will have another era of human experience in the near future. Being able to see the larger arc is the teacher, but most of us will not learn.

 

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