Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Antiquated Moral Code

Congrats to Yaron and Onkar for having their editorial published at (And check out the comments to see how much work we still have to do.)

Update: For more on this topic I highly recommend these two talks:
Religion and Morality
Atlas Shrugged—America’s Second Declaration of Independence


Anonymous Michael said...

the comments are rather amusing.

on another point what are your thoughts on tradition. I have often noticed that conservatives even secular conservatives appeal to tradition.

edward shils explains that all too often those who argue for the need for tradition are dismissed as mere "reactionaries" while the ideal of progress is heralded in opposition. He says that the idea of progress itself has constituted a tradition in that the movements and ideologies focusing on progress have outlasted a single itself and the branches of philosophy are based on a tradition (which is the inherited mode of inquiry itself)

Shils argues that he would like to see many traditions conserved; however, he does recognize the need for change in certain things. It is a precarious balance that must be exacted between the role of strict traditionalism and the role of progress. He notes that the voice of tradition must be heard and all too often it is silenced in today's debates over change progress.

basically progress brings new dangers and instates new practices which may have similar or substantially different problems than those experienced in the traditional practices. So a conservative attitude must be taken with respect to progress in order to avoid some of the dangers and uncertainty which result from excessive change. The forces of progress and those of tradition must be balanced.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doing something for the reason of tradition, i.e., because that's how it's been done in the past, is always wrong, even if the actual action is itself correct. We should act on ideas and a philosophy and morality (a general purpose in life; a set of important goals and values such as a romantic relationship, a meaningful job, and a serious hobby, that guide your life and all other actions) that are true. Truth--that the ideas are pro-life, pro-man's life in this world--is the proper standard for ideas and policy.

Progress (properly defined) is not done in the name of tradition. That's a ridiculous notion. Progress is pursuing truth and knowledge to be used to further one's life and happiness. Progress is done out of self-preservation, survival, value-achievement, and the pursuit of happiness.

The branches of philosophy have been kept because they are correct.

Ayn Rand had a good statement on tradition in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal:

"It is certainly irrational to use the “new” as a standard of value, to believe that an idea or a policy is good merely because it is new. But it is much more preposterously irrational to use the “old” as a standard of value, to claim that an idea or a policy is good merely because it is ancient."

There is no balance between new and old, progress and tradition, change and staying the same. The standard for ideas and policy is truth and the support of man's life in this world.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Thanks for your comment Jason, I generally agree. I would only add that it's typically worthwhile to see and understand why people approached a problem from a given standpoint, that's the only benefit to tradition. (I.e. in any endeavor it's worth looking at previous solutions and approaches, before deciding on your own course of action. But in the end truth is the arbiter.)

7:56 PM  

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