on clear and present morality

cockaigne In “Their Morals and Ours”, Leon Trotsky laid out some sobering reflections on justification and sentiment:

A means can be justified only by its end. But the end in its turn needs to be justified. From the Marxist point of view, which expresses the historical interests of the proletariat, the end is justified if it leads to increasing the power of man [sic] over nature and to the abolition of the power of man [sic] over man [sic]…

Morality is one of the ideological functions in this struggle. The ruling class forces its ends upon society and habituates it into considering all those means which contradict its ends as immoral. That is the chief function of official morality. It pursues the idea of the “greatest possible happiness” not for the majority but for a small and ever diminishing minority. Such a regime could not have endured for even a week through force alone. It needs the cement of morality. The mixing of this cement constitutes the profession of the petty-bourgeois theoreticians, and moralists. They dabble in all colors of the rainbow but in the final instance remain apostles of slavery and submission.

The dabbling and application of moral sentiments is the emotive’s approach to ethical deliberation and action. Without clear and present investigation – critical as well as syncretic – we humans become slaves to the dominant narratives (as habituated infomatic regimes) infusing current institutions of extraction and alienation. And for what? For whom? Know your enemy, both within and beyond.

“‘Knowledge for its own sake’–that is the last snare laid by morality: we are thereby completely entangled in morals once more.”  – Nietzsche, beyond good and evil, #64

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