··· Tags pointing to: morality ···

Tyranny for Their Own Good

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

— C.S. Lewis  <link>

Unembarrassed Joy

Something I constantly notice is that unembarrassed joy has become rarer. Joy today is increasingly saddled with moral and ideological burdens, so to speak. When someone rejoices, he is afraid of offending against solidarity with the many people who suffer. I don’t have any right to rejoice, people think, in a world where there is so much misery, so much injustice.

I can understand that. There is a moral attitude at work here. But this attitude is nonetheless wrong. The loss of joy does not make the world better—and, conversely, refusing joy for the sake of suffering does not help those who suffer. The contrary is true. The world needs people who discover the good, who rejoice in it and thereby derive the impetus and courage to do good. …

— Josef Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), Salt of the Earth: Christianity and the Catholic Church at the End  <link>

Morality is always dreadfully complicated to a man who has lost all his principles.

— G.K. Chesterton  <link>

Natural Law

This thing which I called for convenience the Tao, and others may call Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitude, is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgments. If it is rejected, all value is rejected. If any value is retained, it is retained. The effort to refute it and raise a new system of value in its place is self-contradictory. There has never been, and never will be, a radically new judgment of value in history of the world. What purport to be new systems or (as they now call them) ‘ideologies’, all consist of fragments from the Tao itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to the Tao and to it alone such validity as they possess. If my duty to my parents is superstition, then so is my duty to posterity. If justice is superstition, then so is my duty to my country or my race. If pursuit of scientific knowledge is a real value, then so is conjugal fidelity. The rebellion of new ideologies against the Tao is a rebellion of the branches against the tree: if the rebels could succeed they would find that they destroyed themselves. The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than imagining a new primary colour, or, indeed, of creating a new sun and a new sky for it to move in.

— C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man  <link>

What is morality? It’s the difference between what is right and what you can rationalize.

— Christopher Moore, Practical Demonkeeping  <link>