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Standards for Measuring George's Morality
By Dr Gerry Lower
News Insider
08 August 2003

Whether we measure the temperatures of a shuttle wing's leading edge, the distances between a warship's launch tube and a building in downtown Baghdad, or the molecular weights of chemical toxins in an Iraqi warhead (fictional example), we must have a reference point, a standard relative to which we make our measurements.

Without defined standards, we would obviously end up being all over the place, and while everything might have sufficient momentum to work for a while, everything would not work very well or for very long. This fundamental requirement of measurement is also true for human morality, of course, where we must have standards by which to measure the moral content of our behavior.

Without standards, we would end up just like George Bush the younger, able to rationalize tax cuts for the rich because the economy is so good and tax cuts for the rich because the economy is so bad, without bothering himself a whit over how this can hope to be logical, how this can hope to make sense to everyone else. In other words, George employs no standards at all outside of the rightwing political standard, characterized by religious absolutism and a self-righteous penchant for 'winning,' no matter what the stakes, no matter what it takes. George, as a 'born again' theist, turns out to be devoutly agnostic with regard to human logic.

More than anything, it is the absence of moral standards that defines the current Bush administration, that is, the people defining America's current behavior in the world. America no longer measures herself relative to an agreed-upon, definable set of moral standards and we have, as a result, lost all reference points for judging our own behavior as a nation. Under Bush's standardized rightwing dominion, no additional thought or input from the people is required. George sees the people as not needing to know the truth because, frankly, the people are just not up to the complex tasks which George and his cadre can so confidently confront.

Maintaining high moral standards is simply not part of George's program. As a governor, for example, he set an all time record for relishing executions. As a president, he set an all time record for relishing the denial of pardons, and yet George claims to be more than qualified to speak as a born-again 'Christian.' George launched a pre-meditated and unprovoked war on a virtually defenseless Iraq, and yet George claims to be standing firmly on the high moral ground with the Prince of Peace. One might even conclude that the first Christian was at least Republican, if not crony capitalist.

Come now, people, what does it take to get you to see that there is something dreadfully wrong with this picture? How on earth do decent, would-be American 'Christians' tolerate this man who demonstrates no knowledge whatsoever of nascent Christian morality, the ethical morality upon which Jefferson based the Declaration of Independence? If George did know something about an ethical morality, it would almost certainly show in his actions, not so? What does show is more akin to Old Testament religious belligerence and self-righteousness.

It would, therefore, seem appropriate to consider the traditional Western notions of morality in the interest of doing some measuring of our own. This would allow each of us to think for ourselves and to measure George's actual moral position on our own, so that we do not have to take George's word for it. We can begin by considering the three definable moral standards that have evolved, one from the other, in Western culture, the most recent appearing two millennia ago.

Nascent Christian Morality: Do Not Hit First, Do Not Hit Back

It is one thing if I choose not to poke out your eye because you have poked out mine. That would exemplify nascent Christian morality, based in compassion and a passion for peace. This is the morality designed to end violence and make things right, the morality which rejects vengeance and the notion of 'getting even.' Nascent Christianity is an ethical morality, based in human knowledge, which recognized two millennia ago that vengeance can inspire a vicious cycle of violence, in which cause and effect soon become indistinguishable, as exemplified daily in the Middle East. While vengeance may make one momentarily feel that 'justice' has been served, it also keeps the human world in a living hell of continuous violence with war as a way of life. Christian morality demands empirical honesty, creative thought and compassionate action.

Traditional Religious Morality: Do Not Hit First, Do Hit Back

It is yet another thing if I do poke out your eye because you have poked out mine. That would exemplify traditional Old Testament religious morality, based in vengeance. This is the morality of the victim, the morality of the self-righteous, the morality based on lowering oneself to the level of the criminal in getting even or securing dominion. Religious morality demands only faith in a supernatural god (preferentially on one's own side) and vengeful/self-righteous thought.

Primitive Barbaric Morality: Do Hit First, Do Hit Back

It is quite another thing if I poke out your eye because I think that you might poke out mine. That would exemplify barbaric morality, based in the notion that might makes right. This is the morality beneath pre-meditated, unprovoked aggression, at the very bottom of the Western moral hierarchy. Barbaric morality, in other words, justifies violence in the name of covetness, and is the equivalent of no morality at all.

This, unfortunately, is the ground upon which an intellectually, morally and spiritually challenged Bush administration has employed fabrication and falsehood to justify an unprovoked war on Iraq. Now, think about that for a moment with regard to the moral standards we have just considered. Think about what the Bush administration has perpetrated in the name of the American people.

George's actions are certainly not Christian. They're not even close, are they? Even worse, George's actions are not even religious. There was no Iraqi violence demanding religious revenge, was there? George's actions are, in standardized human eyes, overtly barbaric, a.k.a. criminal, a fact which has done America no good at all in the eyes of the world. George's actions were only religious in the sense that he wrapped them up in religious self-righteousness and patriotic fervor.

Now that we have re-established the evolutionary hierarchy of Western moral standards, we can more clearly see what the Bush administration has accomplished in the interest of holding the 'higher moral ground.' It has essentially dismantled what little was left of Jeffersonian democracy and it has made a mockery of the nascent Christian moral precepts upon which Jefferson based his Declaration.

The Bush administration has brought to fulfillment the two centuries-long quest of the rightwing for total political dominion of the American socio-economic world. In doing so, it has brought America full circle to reside once again upon pre-Revolutionary Tory ground, imposed as always by those who would oppress and exploit the many in the name of the few.

Jeffersonian democracy is dead and gone and it is critically important that we, as a people, come to that realization. Otherwise, we will have no clue as to the nature of thought and action required to make things right again. One can safely conclude that we ought be measuring ourselves, as a nation, relative to the values of rights-driven democracy and not the values of greed-driven capitalism.

This brings us back to George and the moral standards driving his administration. During the 1970s, America downplayed the importance of values in public education, as if the human race had learned nothing in the past two millennia worth passing on to our children. No, it was better for them to learn values on their own. The underlying political motivation for this approach was recognition that values only serve to confound a freewheeling marketplace. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a 'value-free' society and those who claimed otherwise were simply holding 'no values' as their highest value.

The same is true for Bush's standardized rightwing morality. It essentially says that the highest moral standard, if you are interested in political dominion, is to have no standards at all.

Copyright 2003 by the News Insider and Gerry Lower

Dr. Gerry Lower lives in Keystone, South Dakota. He is published in the areas of molecular pathology/oncology/epidemiology, medical theory/philosophy/ethics, and global philosophy and ethics. Gerry has recently returned from Ukraine where he presented several papers on the values of science and democracy at the Kiev Medical Academy. His primary concern is the development of a rigorously-definable global philosophy and ethics suitable for a global democracy.

© 2003 Topplebush.com
August 25, 2003


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