Immoral Morality

The theme of immoral morality appears early and late among my essays. An early appearance is in “Bush’s Counterattack” (Dec. 3, 2005):

“Power not only encourages stupidity but also immorality. Power in the form of the State removes the bonds or rules of conventional morality. It becomes right for the rulers of the American State to destroy Iraqis to protect Americans. That’s what a State is for. The State is that great fiction by which what is immoral becomes moral.”

Recent detailed explanations of the defects of immoral moralism appear here and here.

One concern I’ve had is the moral idea of self-defense being mis-applied so as to justify one state’s interventions in other states, as promoted at the Bleeding Heart Libertarians site.

Until yesterday, I was unaware of the book by Charles Derber with Yale R. Magrass, titled “Morality Wars”, first published in 2010. A substantial preview is here. They define “immoral morality” as “principles and beliefs that help justify socially harmful or unethical behavior or policies”. Some of their exposition may be useful for those interested in this topic.

To some theorists, rights are moral: “For moral theorists, the dominant approach to the normative foundations of international human rights conceives of human rights as moral entitlements that all human beings possess by virtue of our common humanity.”

Under that assumption, the statements contained in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights are moral. However, many of the principles recognized as moral in this Declaration are immoral according to libertarian ethics. Some are of questionable morality and general applicability. Actions taken to advance many of these UN-articulated rights, which may include the use of force and war, are then regarded as based upon immoral morality by libertarian ethics.


2:54 pm on December 21, 2018