Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lawrence Davidson — America and the Plague of ‘Moral Idiocy’

When it comes to applying rules of international law and ethics, the U.S. government and its mainstream media operate with stunning hypocrisy, what might be called “moral idiocy,” says Lawrence Davidson.
It's a consequence of an inordinate belief in exceptionalism that result in extreme confirmation bias and projection of one's own shortcomings on perceived adversaries that are similarly asserting their own interests.

Moral Idiocy is not something this writer, creative as he is, has simply made up. It is a real concept in psychology that has been around for over a century. However, in our increasingly relativistic societies, it has fallen into disuse.
Briefly, it means the “Inability to understand moral principles and values and to act in accordance with them, apparently without impairment of the reasoning and intellectual faculties.” The key word here is “understand.” It is not that moral idiots do not know, intellectually, that something called morality exists, but rather they cannot understand its applicability to their lives, particularly their professional lives.
At best they think it is a personal thing that operates between friends or relatives and goes no further – a reduction of values to the narrowest of social spaces. This is paralleled by the absence of such values as guiding principles for one’s actions in the wider world.
Moral idiocy, that is, lack of a moral compass, goes hand in hand with liberalism taken to the extreme in ontological and methodological individualism, where "rationality" rules and there are no moral rules other than positive law. In this point of view, it is rational to violate the law to promote one's interest if the likelihood of gain exceeds that of loss. In asymmetric social situation, the more powerful sand to gain, with almost no risk of loss.

There are other terms for moral idiocy relative to lack of empathy — psychopathology and sociopathology. Many social systems are typically structured to promote selection of psychopaths and sociopaths in addition to moral idiots.

Consortium News
America and the Plague of ‘Moral Idiocy
Lawrence Davidson | retired professor of history at West Chester University in Pennsylvania


Kaivey said...

Interesting post. The psychopaths are powerful because they have no morals. In fact they despise ordinary people when they feel shame and guilt because they see this as a weakness. Inside psychopaths have this contempt and hatred for people and they believe that if someone gets in their way then they get what they deserve. Most psychopaths are in prison or the army but the functional ones do well in society and climb the ladder. Many climb to the top of companies and then do their harm.

Some psychologists say we should screen for psychopaths and remove them from positions of power. It is an illness although psychopaths aren't bothered. They get bored easily because they have no love for people and so life tends to be meaningless for them. Getting one up on other people is the only thrill left for them. And they tend to like drugs and alcohol to fill the void.

I read many books on psychopaths because I think I worked for one once. He bullied me and I knew that he would give me the sack if he could, just like that. I was a hard and loyal worker but I knew with him that meant nothing, so I felt powerless. Luckily enough he messed up because of his arrogance and my company got rid of him. I read up quite a lot on psychopathology because of him.

If there was no such thing as psychopathology history would have been so different. Hardly any wars, probably, and capitalism would have been okay.

Gary Hart said...

Are most politicians psychopaths?