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Two kinds of ethics

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kowalskil View Drop Down

Joined: 13 Jan 2011
Location: New Jersey, USA
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Points: 56
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    Posted: 08 Jul 2013 at 23:56


I am reading interesting comments about communist morality, in a book devoted to Judaism, published in 1975. The authors are two rabbis, D. Prager and J. Telushkin. A Christian theologian would probably make similar observations.

Marxists and theologians, they write, "are both motivated by the desire to perfect the world and establish a utopia on earth. ... Both promote all-encompassing worldviews. But they diametrically oppose one another in almost every other way." The authors remind us that communists rejected "all morality derived from nonhuman [i.e. God] and nonclass concepts," as stated in 1920 by Lenin. ... "Marxist morality sanctions any act so long as that act was committed in the interest of [economic and political] class struggle." Nothing that Stalin, and Mao did was immoral, according to such ideology.

Theologians, on the other hand, hold "that morality transcends economic, national, and individual interests." God's commandments are objective rather than subjective. Evil human acts are condemned, no matter what economic or political gains are derived from them. That is the essential difference. Greed in human nature, they emphasize, "may have helped create capitalism, but capitalism did not create greed in human nature."

Theologians also deplore social injustice. But they reject brutal proletarian revolutions because "the roots of evil and injustice lie not in economics or society but in man himself." This has to do with the concept of freedom. "For Marxism, which conceives of the world in materialist terms, bondage is defined solely as servitude to external sources such as slave owners, capitalist bosses, or other forms of material inequality. Freedom is liberation from such servitude." People, as stated in the Communist Manifesto, written by Marx and Engels, must get rid of economic chains binding them. Then they will automatically cease to be evil. 

Theologians, on the other hand, see two kinds of liberation, from external and from internal bonds. "Once liberation from external servitude takes place, one must then liberate oneself from internal domination, the domination of one's life by passions, needs, irrationality and wants."  The conflict between theologians and Marxists "is not economic, it is moral." Proletarian dictatorship was practiced in several countries; the results show that "when Marxist revolutionaries attain power they are at least as crual as their predecessors." 

Philosophical differences about morality, among different kinds of theologians, are minimal, as far as I know. But attempts to impose morality are not very successful. Why is it so? What can be done to improve the situation, to bring our reality a little closer to "utopia" dreams? 


Ludwik Kowalski author of Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality.


Diary kept in the USSR, Poland, France, and the USA
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Logic View Drop Down

Joined: 05 Feb 2013
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2013 at 15:03
Attempts to impose morality come face to face with cultural clashes, human desires and extremism. One of the problems with moral concepts is that rules they are based on never cover the complete spectrum of circumstances. We may all agree that killing is wrong, but when a loved one faces a slow and prolonged death, then we need to revisit the concept. It may not be legal to kill at this point, but it may actually become moral, but it is a subjective call to determine what extent of suffering justifies this.

As for what can be done to improve the situation, my suggestion is objective research. There are hard questions to ask because they may offend some, but they, nevertheless, need to be asked with the intent to understand only. Is something moral? Up to what point? When and how should it change? These types of questions often result in controversy, but we still need to ask them, explore and research the answers and base our conclusions on the observations. Furthermore, we need to always remember that we don't completely know what morality is.
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Paradigm of Humanity View Drop Down

Joined: 18 Oct 2011
Location: Konstantiniyye
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paradigm of Humanity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 2013 at 01:13
Originally posted by kowalskil kowalskil wrote:

"...the results show that "when Marxist revolutionaries attain power they are at least as crual as their predecessors."

That's a polite word to describe events following such revolutions. 

Edited by Paradigm of Humanity - 10 Jul 2013 at 01:13
the single postmodern virtue of obsessive egalitarianism
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