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Thread: Immorality

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    Veteran Member George S's Avatar
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    Immorality

    Looking at not what is moral but what is immoral it occurred to me that all immorality has one thing in common. The lie.

    An honest thief can be a moral man in all other regards. His lie is his claim to others that he owns his stolen goods, his to use, his to sell.

    Not all lies are immoral of course. And not all untruths are lies, but mistakes. But deception is always a part of immorality.

    There was a time when Might makes Right was the way the world was. Land was claimed by "Right of Conquest." A King could order anyone in his realm executed. And he could pardon anyone as well. Every soldier pledged loyalty to his King. They fought and died at his order. It was immoral to break that pledge; to have lied.

    To go to war over a lie -- immoral.

    The current crime of the day is lying to the FBI.

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    A thief can be quite honest when selling their stolen goods to other thieves.
    And a rapist can blatantly take what they want because they can.
    No lying required.

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    If you steal the FBI's chance to know a truth that would help people if they know it ... something that'd harm people if they don't know it... THAT is the immorality. You've only asserting lying is sometimes immoral but didn't really explain why. Societal moral norms are generally based on what you cannot take from others: their lives, their freedoms, their property.

    So isn't it taking things that's immoral? Does it really matter that a thief claims the stolen goods are his? Isn't it that he took them and thereby hurt other people that's the wrong in what he did?

    Similar with the king. It's not that anyone lies to the asshole that matters. There's no good reason to be obedient to authority except inasmuch as, maybe, it helps people. If he wants you to steal things from people in a war (which is what wars are for) and you choose to break the pledge, then why is that immoral? Isn't it more immoral to obey him if he's saying "hurt these people for me"?

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    Why is a lie immoral? A lie in context can be better than truth. Is morality always a black and white choice?

    If anything IMO morality is about consequences not absolute rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George S View Post
    Looking at not what is moral but what is immoral it occurred to me that all immorality has one thing in common. The lie.
    No. The lie is to protect the person from punishment for their actions. However, when they are too powerful to punish there's no need for the lie, yet there can still be immorality. Look to some pretty vile dictators for examples.

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    Veteran Member Tigers!'s Avatar
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    The comic character ''Ándy Capp https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Capp'' once noted that immorality is done by those who are having more fun than you.
    NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George S View Post
    His lie is his claim to others that he owns his stolen goods, his to use, his to sell.
    No lie.

    He does own them.

    What does ownership mean beyond control and ability to use freely?

    And since he does own them he is free to sell them.

    The immorality of theft is based on the idea of personal property.

    It is a violation of the principle of personal property. That a person owns something when they either buy it or exchange something for it or are given it.

    Nothing about lying.

    And of course going to war based on lies, as the US did in 2003, is about lying.

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    I once heard it said that immorality is something that causes unnecessary harm to another individual. If something doesn't do that, it's tough to argue that it's wrong.

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    Veteran Member Wiploc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    I once heard it said that immorality is something that causes unnecessary harm to another individual. If something doesn't do that, it's tough to argue that it's wrong.
    Many would say it's also immoral to do unnecessary harm to yourself.

    If you don't brush your teeth now, you'll get tooth decay later. If you don't do your homework, you won't get a good job. If you get drunk at lunch, you'll get fired that afternoon. If you have an affair, you may ruin your marriage.

    Morality consists either of giving up some personal benefit so the group gets a greater benefit, or of giving up some immediate personal benefit for a significantly greater personal benefit later.

    Or so I believe, and I assume many others do too. Though I have been told that my theory of morality is not "robust."

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    Veteran Member George S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by George S View Post
    His lie is his claim to others that he owns his stolen goods, his to use, his to sell.
    No lie.

    He does own them.

    What does ownership mean beyond control and ability to use freely?

    And since he does own them he is free to sell them.

    The immorality of theft is based on the idea of personal property.

    It is a violation of the principle of personal property. That a person owns something when they either buy it or exchange something for it or are given it.

    Nothing about lying.

    And of course going to war based on lies, as the US did in 2003, is about lying.
    He does not have the right to claim ownership. His ownership was illegally or immorally acquired. Even the personal use of stolen merchandise is a tacit statement of "I not only own it by possessing it, but it is right and proper that I do." It is deception.

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