Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Clarification on the previous post


I don't mean, of course, that one can't do ethics without understanding that the final goal of human beings is union with God. One just can't do ethics correctly. All such attempts will ultimately break apart on the Gibraltarian rock of human dignity. In other words, what answer can they give to the question of "Why not kill the inconvenient, sick, very young, very old, disabled, or stupid?" Arguments can be made that it helps the general utility, that these people have no chance of eudaimonia anyway, that they are just members of the great mass of useless ordinary non-ubermenschen, and so can be disposed. These arguments have been made. Just read history. The only way to do ethics that properly respects human beings is to have a proper understanding of what a human being is: a creature of God, created for union with God. This fact changes everything.

The difficulty is in figuring out how to talk to people who don't share one's own starting points. We could congratulate them when they come up with the right answer (accidentally), but such praise has the danger of reaffirming their mistaken starting points. That is why I proposed relying on Augustine or Nietzsche to show just how empty their systems are. The way to talk to others about ethics will have to be destructive, a process of tearing down what they've done in order to expose their starting points and correct them.

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