Re: Responsibility

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From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Thu Sep 14 2000 - 08:11:14 PDT

> My argument was that I consider the *entire* progression:
> love -> marriage -> kids
> to be "morally superior" to a life spent primarily on meeting one's own
> needs and enhancing one's own experience (e.g., backpacking).

Hmm. Interesting. At least we're being explicit, here. You're in the norm, E., I
think. I just don't see any reason other than evolutionary / social programming why
anyone would believe this, necessarily. I'm trying to use my "software" to probe
and question why the "firmware" is the way it is.

> This follows directly from my belief that love is the fundamental human
> virtue, and therefore a lifestyle which fosters (even requires) the growth
> of love is preferable to one which does not.

But wait, isn't love just an electrochemical gradient in the brain intended by
evolution to foster reproductive and mutually cooperative survival behaviour? ;-)

> Obviously this is a fairly strong value judgement. I'm not saying you have
> to agree with me - I'm just saying you're wrong if you disagree. :-)

Well, given that we've now identified this as an argument about "morals" I think
we're at an impasse.

> In my value system:

Now let's get it right: is this about "morals" or "values?"

> Are you essentially arguing for a value system where the choice between
> 'freedom' and 'love' (so defined) is at least morally neutral?

Not at all. I'm arguing --- if we scroll all the way back to the beginning --- that
legal institutions and govt's should not encode any particular preference for one
system of values over another, excepting the minimal agreeable set that incents
cooperative behavior and respects individual sovreignty.

I'll also say that I believe love is a great thing. I just don't believe the
progression love -> marriage -> kids is a necessary component to true love. (I have
several gay friends who would vehemently argue against the last step of that as
necessary, and by default would say you don't need the second, either.) Another
progression that's equally valid would be love -> cohabitation -> backpacking. Or
love -> separate apartments -> Habitat for Humanity on weekends. I think it's
incredible hubris to think that all persons who make choices in this matter which
don't agree with yours are somehow "morally inferior."

> If so, then at least we know where to agree to disagree (which'll put us
> ahead of Dave & Dan in the FoRK-ratings!).

I think the point of disagreement is just in whether or not "arguments about morals"
are worthwhile as opposed to simple "statements of values," and whether and how much
one person's choices in the matter should impact another's. Finally, I think the
only defensible "morally superior" position one can take is to simply not make moral
or value judgements about others. The only thing that's intolerable is intolerance
itself. (Think about that statement; it's Godel-like. Actually rather more



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