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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 440821  
Subject: Origin of Morality Date: 4/2/2002 11:12 AM
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The origins of morality have been debated before on the boards, with some
posters arguing that morality requires the existence of a higher being to
have any validity and other posters arguing that morality is completely
relative. Neither of those answers is satisfying or complete, and so
another poster and I have undertaken to derive a moral code that is
neither relative nor dependent on a God figure. The moral code we have
developed springs from empirical facts about the human condition.

Human beings are created with a specific set of physical needs (food,
water,air, shelter) that are universal to the human condition. They are
also endowed at birth with free will. Free will is the characteristic of
an individual's mind that understands the concept of existence and allows
the individual to consider his own needs as an individual and then make
decisions about his environment in an effort to satisfy those needs.

Individuals, when created, are born with the same basic needs and the same
basic rights to be secure in their person and to exercise their will. These
rights and needs are allocated in equal measure to all individuals at
creation. No one individual has a greater share of these rights or needs
than another at the time of creation. Since, at
creation, rights are equal, it stands to reason that the equivalency of
rights persists until such time as an individual voluntarily chooses to
give up some of their rights to another individual for whatever reason.

Since all individuals have the same rights to exercise their free will
until such time as they voluntarily cede them, it follows that no
individual has the authority to compel another person to do anything,
unless the person has voluntarily given the individual permission. From
this we can derive the first tenet of morality:

1) All individuals are sacrosanct with respect to their person.

Two sub-tenets could be added to make clear the intent of the first
maxim. They are:

1a) no individual or group may compel the assistance of another without the
other's voluntary consent
1b) no individual or group has the right to initiate an assault on the
person of another

It has been shown that the equivalency of rights persists until such time
as an individual voluntarily chooses to give up their some of rights to
another individual for whatever reason. It stands to reason that an
individual would only voluntarily cede some of their rights to another if
they felt they would receive something of equal or greater value in
return. In other words, the individual would choose to give up some of his
right to unfettered exercise of his free will only if he thought he had
more to gain from giving up the rights than he would have gotten by
exercising unrestrained free will. The act of placing constraints on the
free exercise of one's will in the pursuit of one's core interests must, by
definition, be an act of free will in and of itself. This leads us to the
second tenet of morality:

2) Interactions of any kind between individuals must be the result of the
exercise of free will

Since interactions between individuals involve potentially trading away or
limiting an individual's most fundamental rights, , it follows that each
party is obligated to deliver what the other party expected from the
exchange. The system of interactions between individuals can not function
if the honesty of the transactions are not maintained. That leads to tenet
2a).

2a) Honesty is the cornerstone of free will interactions

It has been shown that individuals enter into agreements with other people
for the express purpose of satisfying some portion of their interest that
they would not have been able to satisfy on their own. Since interactions
between individuals are predicated on the exercise of free will, and free
will is defined as the ability of each individual to pursue their own
interests, it follows that an individual can not be compelled by another
into a transaction that goes against their interests. That can be stated
as tenet 2b).

2b) no individual can be compelled by another into a transaction that goes
against their interests

While pursuit of personal interest can result in the greatest benefit to an
individual, we need to consider that for some individuals, events may occur
in life from which they can not recover on their own. While no individual
has the right to compel assistance from another, it is nonetheless
appropriate for individuals to freely assist those who are in need. Our
condition of humanity and our natural preference for life over death give
us a common bond with other people that justifies providing voluntary
assistance. That leads us to a third sub-tenet under #2, namely,

2c)The proper exercise of free will includes providing voluntary assistance
to those who require it.

So far, we have shown that no individual has the right to compel assistance
from another and that any interaction between individuals needs to be based
on a voluntary exchange of things perceived by both parties to be of
similar value. As individuals set about pursuing their personal interests,
they may begin to amass property to allow them a higher degree of comfort
or to provide security against lean times in the future. This property is
the result of the individuals exercise of free will and represents a thing
of value created by that free will. As such, no individual can be
deprived of his property by another individual or group. To do so would be
to violate tenet #2 regarding the interactions between individuals, and
ultimately tenet #1, since seizing a persons property might leave them more
exposed should hard times come. This leads us to tenet #3, namely:

3) Individuals shall be secure in their property. No person has an
inherent right to the property of another.

There are two main classes of property - animate property, and inanimate
property. The rights of an individual regarding the disposition of their
inanimate property are limitless. Since the property is the direct result
of the exercise of an individuals free will over time in the pursuit of
their interest, it follows that they can do whatever they wish with that
property so long as they don't negatively impact another individual.

Animate property, on the other hand, has basic rights by virtue of its
existence as a living thing. To treat animate property inhumanely is to
trample its basic rights as a living thing, and therefore is not
moral. Ownership rights of animate property are predicated on the humane
treatment of the property in question.

That leads to 2 sub tenets to tenet 3, namely:

3a) Rights to animate property are predicated upon humane treatment by an
individual for the animate property
3b) It is the right of the individual to dispense with their inanimate
property as they see fit.


That makes the complete code as follows:

1) The individual is sacrosanct with respect to their person.

a) No person may compel the assistance of another without the other's consent
b) No person has the right to initiate an assault on the person of another
for any reason

2) Interactions between individuals must be the result of the exercise of
free will

a) Honesty is the cornerstone of free will interactions
b) No individual can be compelled into a transaction that goes against
their interests
c) The proper exercise of free will includes providing oluntary assistance
to those who require it.

3) Individuals shall be secure in their property. No person has
aninherent right to the property of another

a) Rights to live property are predicated upon humane treatmentby an
individual for the live property
b) It is the right of the individual to dispense with their inanimate
property as they see fit.

These rules for morality provide an underpinning for society as well.

The unrestrained exercise of individual free will in the pursuit of
satisfying individual needs offers the individual the opportunity to gain
the most benefit from activities he undertakes. However, not all the needs
of an individual can generally be met by exercise of his abilities alone,
and so the individual bands together with others to form a
society. Society is a voluntary agreement between individuals to place a
focused number of restrictions on their complete freedom to attain the
benefits offered by interacting with other individuals with different sets
of physical skills. Society can only function within the context of the
rights voluntarily ceded by the individuals making up the society at the
time of its formation. The rights of the individuals comprising society
can not be further restricted by society except with the unanimous consent
of the individual members. To do otherwise would be to violate the first
and second tenet of morality. All laws and regulations passed by a society
need to conform to the 3 tenets of morality to have any validity.
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