I’m continuing my reporting on the current installment of Conservative Estimate, the recently founded website that is devoted to demolishing Conservatism.
Yesterday, Alfred George concluded his discussion of the Myth of Tradition by noting that he had shown that neither Religion nor Tradition could provide the basis for moral behavior in society, and by promising to address the question, “How can we be moral without Religion or Tradition?”
Today he answers that question.
A short trip over the stringy orange twists will take you to our account of his post for today.
Mr. George begins by pointing out that his posts over the past few weeks have shown that neither Religion nor Tradition can provide the moral behavior that society needs to function smoothly. He also notes that he does not discount Religion or Tradition entirely, but that they claim far too much for themselves. Those who derive life-affirming principles from Religion and Tradition are free to cherish them, but they have no right to try to impose them on others.
[B]ecause Religion and Tradition have no foundation for their claims of absolute morality except insistence, such people should not try to impose their beliefs on those who do not find Religion and Tradition attractive or helpful. Conversely, those who reject Religion and Tradition should not try to browbeat religionists and traditionalists into rejecting the beliefs they find congenial. Nothing is more pointless and acrimonious than partisan warfare in which each party demands that the others recognize principles that are not their own.He then goes on to address the central question that now arises, namely, Without Religion and Tradition, how can we be moral? And he says that the only reason a person would ask this question is that he doesn’t see any other option.
The only reason anyone would ask this question is because he doesn’t see any other source of morality. There is another source, however, and it is located inside you. You can be a moral person simply by refusing to do anything wrong. . . .Then he points out that the perfection of right action comes when you no longer fear anything, so that you don’t need to avoid any particular outcome. Only then can you switch from the regime of Fear to the regime of Love. The regime of Fear is the province of conservatism; the regime of Love is the province of progressivism.
[I]f you are concerned with this question, you are already more ethical than most people. You are especially more moral than those who think they know right and wrong based on what someone else or some organization tells them. As long as you are seriously concerned with whether you are doing the right thing, you are doing the best you can under the circumstances.
Ultimately, there are only two forces that govern human behavior: fear and love. Because these two forces oppose one another and exist in varying degrees in almost everyone, there are two types of Religion: the Religion of Fear and the Religion of Love. And there are two types of Tradition: the Tradition of Fear and the Tradition of Love. Where Fear is the dominating force, morality has to do with punishment and submission. Where Love dominates, morality has to do with generosity and freedom.You can read the whole post here.
Of the two forces, love alone is compatible with creativity and joy. And with real morality. You can be perfectly moral by being perfectly loving. That’s all there is to it.
Tomorrow, Mr. George will begin his treatment of the final conservative Major Myth—the Myth of Capitalism, which move from the general sphere of morality to the specific sphere that controls our relations with others insofar as we concern ourselves with wealth, money, and economics.
I’ll be reporting back each day as a new installment appears.