Saturday, January 26, 2019

Ascribing Moral Agency to Conventions is Intellectual and Moral Cowardice

There are those who will incessantly rail against this or that convention (institution, philosophical or political concept, religion or ideology) or inanimate objects as if words on a page or the inanimate object has some kind of sentience, moral agency or ability to act. The very notion is of course absurd as only human beings have sentience, moral agency and the ability to act. Just because human beings write the words on a page or construct machines this does not then imbue these things with a life and mind of their own. For those who like to claim words have meaning, yes words do indeed have meaning insofar as they convey ideas and information but that information has no force except when another human acts on it. This is an indisputable fact.

As conventions and inanimate objects cannot exercise free will and choice, why then do some people insist that they can? This can be seen in situations ranging bicycle social justice warriors challenging cars, or in their own parlance, "2000 pound death machines", firearms or the triggering of a boomer Indian and his buddies, the news media and an angry twitter lynch mob because a 15 year old boy was wearing a red "Make America Great Again" cap.  The answer is simply the moral and intellectual cowardice of those who hold this view. A refusal to acknowledge moral responsibility for their own choices or actions, a sort of "the devil made me do it", "I was triggered" or "I was just following orders" excuse. This is intellectual and moral cowardice in refusing to accept responsibility for their actions as well as their own moral and intellectual bankruptcy.

Not to be overlooked in this are those who rail against the real estate industry, corporations and banks, institutions that of themselves have and moral agency nor can be expected to have any. Morality is the sole province the the human beings that operate them and the only metric they can be judged against is whether or not they are obeying the laws governing them. Anyone who interacts with these institutions must exercise their own due diligence in interacting with said institutions and accept their own personal responsibility when the situations is unfavorable to them. That is as long as said institution was operating within the law which otherwise is a matter for the courts.

It may salve the ego to blame some institutions, 2000 pound death machine, guns or red baseball caps for when interactions go bad but again this is merely cowardice and laziness in which no lesson in personal responsibility or due diligence is learned. To maintain one is right in the face of this is the sign of a reprehensible character who must lie in order to make their claims of victimhood.

Donald Cavaioli

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