30 November 2015

There's No There, There

Go here to read an excellent exchange between Jake Meador and Alastair Roberts titled "Moral Sentimentalism and Mechanized Society." Between them, they have it right. There are several bad results when the only acceptable moral standard is equality, and the only means of moral "reasoning" is empathy.

First, all those with whom one disagrees must be morally corrupt. In other words, there's no place for arguing about the nature of the good; it is self-evident to all right-thinking folks, which means your adversary either cannot think or is morally perverse. Or both. See my article Looking for Bedrock for my discussion of moral intuitionism in the world of contemporary human rights.

Second, in a world dominated by truncated morality and moral empathy, the administrator is king. Bracketing moral ends from consideration limits what passes for moral reasoning to identifying instrumental means. In other words, since we all right-thinking people know what's right, then we simply have to figure out the best tools by which to get there. Nudging, anyone?

Third, American evangelical Christians are no better. They cannot (or at least do not) engage in moral reasoning. Whether of the left or the right, proof-texting in support of one's empathetic proclivities replaces deep-rooted moral or theological analysis.

Meador and Roberts engage in a serious and sustained inquiry, and I recommend that all of us try to emulate them.

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