Recently, I linked to a TRS post on why the alt-right needs to understand ethics. The writer was a consequentialist who advocated understanding deontological principles. I am not a consequentialist, as I made clear in the debates on Christian genocide I hold to divine command theory, a specific form of deontology, with a smattering of virtue ethics for resolving those areas where multiple goods collide. I linked to the post, not because I consider consequentialism correct but because of the call to understand alternative ethics systems when debating others to be a more effective debater and the posts general anti-nihilism, as nihilism tends to infect some parts of the alt-right.
My philosophical problem with consequentialism is it’s lacking solid base. Why is this particular good that we are pursuing good? Consequentialism generally assigns value to a good (pleasure, pain avoidance, utility, the white race, etc) and makes that value the sole source of morality, without generally given an objective reason for why that particular good is of greater worth than other goods.
In this particular discussion, the good being discussed is the white race (I’ve got a post on WN coming, sometime). But why is securing the existence of the white race and the future for your children such a good that any evil done in its advancement of it is worthwhile? Survival and thriving are good and I certainly support the continuing existence of the white race, but why are they good? Is being a low-melanin gene-controlled meat sack pumping out more low-melanin gene-controlled meat sacks and fending off higher-melanin gene-controlled meat sacks so your particular phenotype becomes dominant among meat sacks really the base good upon which all other good is measured and for which all evil is justified?
What makes your particular geno-/phenotype objectively better than their particular geno-/phenotype? Would that good that makes your particular geno-/phenotype better not be a greater good then? So why not make that good your consequence? But that new good, why is it good? Then why is that not the good you pursue?
You either run yourself in circles, or you come to the point where there is no answer.
Here Gary argues against nihilism:
Another annoying thing was that Sargon asked that if blacks became majority and took over the US, would it then be morally wrong for blacks to enslave white people? This was not dealt with well. One of the people in the hangout even answered ‘no’ to this question, which is obviously moral nihilism. I’m not a moral nihilist, neither should you be. Of course it would be wrong, but not because it’s discrimination, but because it is slavery, and more specifically because the consequences that would arise from that slavery are negative. Slavery, again, is not immoral inherently. No action is, as we’ve already demonstrated. If the blacks, on the other hand, were to throw whitey out of their country then that would not be morally wrong because it would result in more stability and peace in that country. Of course that’s not really true since blacks are uncivilized savages who actually benefit from white presence, but it is true in the parallel where whites are the majority and Arabs and Latinos are the minorities getting thrown out.
He argues the slavery of whites is wrong, while slavery itself is not, because of the consequences, which he doesn’t spell out. ‘Consequences’ is so amorphous and undefined, that he’s undermining his own point. Also, consequences for who? I’m sure blacks would appreciate having white slaves. Without an objective standard by which to measure ‘consequences’ consequentialism is meaningless.
He speaks positively of stability and peace a little later on in that paragraph, but why are these values inherently better than chaos and war?
What makes these values objective?
You need an absolute to measure morality by or morality is little more than taste preference. It is nihilism gussied up.
It’s God or nihilism. Choose.
And God is a deontologist.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth.
“The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is he.
They have dealt corruptly with him;
they are no longer his children because they are blemished;
they are a crooked and twisted generation.
Do you thus repay the LORD,
you foolish and senseless people?
Is not he your father, who created you,
who made you and established you?
Remember the days of old;
consider the years of many generations;
ask your father, and he will show you,
your elders, and they will tell you.
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when he divided mankind,
he fixed the borders of the peoples
according to the number of the sons of God.
But the LORD’s portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted heritage.
(Deuteronomy 32:4-9 ESV)
God made man to spread over the world. He divided them so they to accomplish this goal and each nation was made to inhabit it’s own territory. He made them different and those differences are good.
Finally, on a tangent, the ‘murdering baby Hitler’ example is a poor poor way to compare consequentialism and deontology, for it adds time travel to the mix. The murder of millions of Slavs and Jews is an obvious moral wrong for which the death penalty would be a justified punishment. So, when you are ask if someone would be justified in murdering baby Hitler, you are not asking the question of whether it is permissible to murder babies if the cause is good enough.
What you are really asking is: is it okay to pre-emptively punish someone for an action they will certainly commit in the future, which is only obfuscated by the inclusion of harm prevention?
While this is an interesting ethical and philosophical question, it doesn’t necessarily draw a line between the two differing ethical systems. One could think of decent arguments for/against preemptive punishment on both sides of that particular divide.