Friday, March 17, 2017

Bigotry and Intellectual Recklessness

163 days until the first class.

I am feeling the tug between moral theory and practical moral philosophy.

I have a strong sense that moral theory, though interesting, is of limited practical value. All of the various theories floating about have had little impact on the way that people actually debate moral issues. To have an impact on substantive issues one has to actually apply the theory to those issues. Yet, the very tension I feel is the tension between working on the theory and working on the practical application.

Those who look through the desirism group see the difference when I post something on a substantive moral issue. I generally preface these posts with something like, "This is an application of desirism. However, if this posting contains any errors, this does not necessarily imply that there is a problem with desirism. Making this inference would be like claiming that, because somebody made a mistake in adding a column of numbers, that this calls the whole practice of addition into question. A better explanation can likely be found by looking at whether the author applied the principles correctly."

There are two issues of practical value that I would like to write on. One is the bigotry exhibited by the Trump administration. This is embodied in his hate-mongering; giving emphasis to crimes committed by immigrants in order to promote a hostility towards (hatred of) immigrants to make unjust and bigoted legislation against them "feel" legitimate. The other is on the topic of intellectual recklessness, using as an example the Trump Administration's attitudes towards climate change.

But now I have an additional time constraint since I want to get a paper done for this Philosophy pseudo-class I am taking written on time. And that, as it turns out, is a paper on moral theory. Though I am trying to squeeze some practical moral philosophy into it by applying the theoretical elements under discussion to bigotry in general and the American civil war more specifically. The way this paper is starting to turn out, it is almost shaping up to be addressing the question, "Could moral knowledge have averted the Civil War?" Or, "Was the Civil War caused by a moral mistake?" Or, "Was the Confederacy objectively wrong?"

The answer to all of these questions is "yes," by the way. The Confederacy was objectively wrong. An understanding of moral facts in the Confederate states and a willingness to do what was right would have saved a lot of lives and prevented a lot of slavery.

At the same time, the Union was not as objectively right as it could have been.

Still, I am bothered by the fact that I do not have the time to write up a couple of practical moral issue papers on the Trump Administration's bigotry and intellectual recklessness.

On the issue of intellectual recklessness, we have the decision to stop all efforts on stopping or even studying climate change as a waste of money.

Imagine being a passenger on the Titanic. The lookouts have just shouted, "ICEBERG! DEAD AHEAD!" Upon hearing this, the Captain says, "You're fired! Get down off of there." He then commands, "Full speed ahead."

This is the type of negligence that, in the world of everyday people, would be declared criminal. Those who practice such negligence would be deemed deserving of punishment - and harsh punishment at that. It is only in the halls of political power that a person can engage in this level of negligence without facing legal ramifications. But this does not mean that the rest of us will not suffer the harms that the laws of physics dictate will follow from their actions. Cities will be destroyed. People will die. Others will suffer greatly. And those who cause this will pocket billions of dollars. This time, we're not going to lose a ship load of passengers. We are putting a planet at risk. Some of us may survive in lifeboats, but a number of us are going to perish because of the intellectual recklessness of those in charge.

It is truly a sickening state of affairs.

This actually relates to the issue of slavery as discussed above. I discussed this issue in an earlier post where I compared the intellectual recklessness of the Trump administration with the "theories" of pro-slavery doctor Samuel Cartwright. (See EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, Dr. Samuel Cartwright, and the Perversion of Science.

On the issue of bigotry, the Trump Administration practice of scapegoating immigrants is perhaps the most morally objectionable public policy since the Jim Crow laws. Trump's executive order commanding the government to focus attention on the crimes committed by immigrants is like a government order commanding law enforcement officials to draw additional attention to crimes committed by blacks - only to justify laws, policies, and even private attitudes that are detrimental to their interests.

The relevant term here is "hate mongering".

A site that focuses on the crimes of a particular group can be readily identified as a site belonging to a hate group by this fact alone. Thus, the Trump Administration has turned the U.S. Government websites into those of a hate-group, containing and promoting hate-mongering bigotry.

These are two points that I would be anxious to develop and write about in more detail if I had the time.

But, currently, I am facing a restriction in that I MUST get a paper done on "Bigotry and the Immorality of Moral Sentimentalism" written and polished by May 11.

But, at least I will be posting that paper on the Desirism site.

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