Remember When You Were Three?

Okay, well Stefan it's been lovely here with you today - if you've got any grand philosophy from the mind of the Molyneux, please share it with the listeners.
Well, I was reading this article the other day, it was called "8 Questions Philosophy Will Never Answer" - I'll leave your listeners with this - and people can of course go to; podcasts are all free, no ads, free books, the forum is free, and people can - you know, 10,000 people chatting about philosophy, I hope people will check it out.
But one of the things, one of the standards that philosophy was never supposed to penetrate was: "There's no such thing as a better morality, there's no such thing as the right morality." You know this is cultural relativism, you know, "Everyone has their own way of doing things, and your way is not necessarily the 'right' way, and you have to be tolerant of other people's different opinions," and so on.
And - it really provokes my inner child - because this is what we say to adults when adults want to stand up for something that is right and true and good, like: "Hey, let's stop pointing guns at each other as a species to get shit done! Let's just try that! Let's just - I mean - let's try it as a thought experiment! What if we didn't have a violent control over the instantaneous creation of generation-enslaving debt ass-wipe paper money? What if we didn't have a violent monopoly on that? What if we didn't have a violent monopoly on the endless indoctrination of children by the powers that be, on how necessary the powers that be are and how you can never ever grow up from being a child? You can never save for your own retirement, you can never decide for yourself who you're gonna help or what kind of charities are appropriate for you. You can't even decide whether people should go mow down innocent civilians in foreign countries in your name! Unthinkable, that you should ever have a conscience to follow your conscience in those areas. You're never allowed to grow up."
But this is what we say to people who are adults - we say: "Eh, morality is kind of relative, you know it's - you can't be imposing your moral systems on other people..." And this is how we get dissolved in the spineless needy dependent entitled jellyfish screeching for the state to throw us a few more crumbs from the masters table, rioting in the streets if our goodies are even remotely cut off, if there's one less piece of bread and one fewer Christian-eating lion circus to entertain us with.
But - but - and this is the big but - and people who remember their childhoods will know what I'm talking about here - that is not how morality was inflicted or imposed upon us when we were children.
I distinctly remember, if I had the urge to push another child and take his toy at the age of 3 or 4, the other child who got upset and went to the teacher was not told, "Well, you can't impose your system of property on him! Nothing really is good or bad, it's - you know, it's cultural, it's different. You know, you have to not impose your 'wanting to play with that toy' on him."
No! I was told: "Give the toy back. Don't take. Don't push. Don't take his lunch money. Don't take his lunch. Don't splash him! Don't throw sand in his face! Don't use violence, don't use bad words, don't call names!"
That's what I was taught as a child - and there was none of this cultural bullshit rings of Saturn fog around the essence of morality!
I was taught two basic things: Don't take other people's stuff, don't use force, don't lie, don't call names - and I think that's actually pretty true! I think that if we just went back to the good old 'stuff that's on the wall of the kindergarten,' and sort of said, "Well, maybe that stuff is actually pretty good! Maybe a respect for property rights, maybe a denial of slander, maybe honesty, maybe a rejection of the initiation of force - maybe these are things that aren't just good for 3-year-olds - which we tell them with complete and perfect absolutes, as perfect absolutes of: this is right, and it is wrong to go take another kid's toy and it is wrong to push him in the dirt, and it is wrong to kick him down. It's wrong to take his coat! Don't mess up his artwork, and don't pee in his boots!
Whatever it is that's going on, we say this to children with all the moral righteousness and absolutism of dear Yahweh himself handing down the 10 Commandments to Moses!
We are certain of it, we know it - and then, when those children grow up and they say, "Hey adults – remember all that shit you told me when I was a kid about not using force and not lying and not hurting others and not stealing from other people? What the hell is it with this goddamned currency? Are you kidding me? Why the hell are all these wars going on? Why the hell were my parents forced at gunpoint to pay for a school where I was instructed never to use force to get what you want? Are you kidding me? Is this some sort of weird Satreian existentialist wet fart of a bad joke? Are you kidding me? It's mad!"
So - what if we just take those moral inscriptions in the kindergarten - which I think are right and true and good (I've got a free book on ethics called "Universally Peferable Behavior: A Rational Proof of Secular Ethics" - takes y'all through the deep steps of proving that kindergarten stuff) - what if we just said, "Hey, you know that shit that was absolute when we're 3, maybe it can be absolute when we're 30 or 35 or 55 for 95 - or, if we truly get the free society we want, 335, because that's how long we'll be living without all the bad shit is going on -maybe that stuff is true, and if it is true, what does society look like if nobody gets to use force legitimately? Nobody gets to initiate force legitimately? If nobody gets to taken anybody else's shit at gunpoint, and nobody gets to push you down in the mud or piss in your boots or steal your artwork? What if you are truly free - just as you were told to be free and let other people be free in kindergarten - what with the world look like?
My god, it would be paradise on earth - and we can achieve it.
We just need to stay true to what we were told when we were three.
Stefan Molynuex, is the host of Freedomain Radio (, the most popular philosophy site on the Internet, and a "Top 10" Finalist in the 2007-2010 Podcast Awards.

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May 2024

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