AGAINST “RULES” OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS

I. Prologue

This is a conceptual argument against the use of rules or codes of professional conduct as a means to enforce professional ethics or morality because such rules are unavoidably conceptually arbitrary, random, and indeterminate and contradict the foundational concepts of our rule of law such as Due Process and Equal Protection and thus are immoral; are unnecessary given the availability of criminal and civil law to enforce whatever rules or codes of professional ethics are intended to enforce; and their teleological and pragmatic rule following works against the diversity of cultural and individual identity the rhetoric of United States rule of law culture states it wants in its culture of law.

 
The relationship between law and morality is fertile and omnipresent ground for analysis and argument in law in particular in philosophy of law. This is true of both analytic philosophy and of post-modern social justice continental versions of philosophy that used to be called in my law school days critical legal studies but now seem to be calling themselves critical legal realism among many other names. Many would argue all law regardless of whether it is a civil, criminal, administrative, or whatever form serves only to enforce dominant cultural and social power structures of the social group Powers-that-be creating and enforcing the rule of law. However, even if true, such structural evil would not be a sound basis nor a practical basis to argue for elimination of all rules that are called laws — at most it would be a basis for modification or elimination of some, many, or most; inevitably, modern civilization would not and perhaps cannot accept anarchy and “the greater evil of private retribution” instead of some form of law. ( Holmes Jr., Oliver Wendell. The Common Law. Holmes Press: Middleton, Delaware (2012) pp. 25-26.)

 
Similarly, except for outcaste nihilists, no one disputes ethics is a good and all assume inferentially that having rules of ethics is a good. There is a universally assumed inference from “ethics is good” to “rules of ethics are good”. Thus, what once were aspirational, exemplary, or at best custom and etiquette paradigms of professional conduct, often expressed informally and enforced informally, have become omnipresent rules or codes of professional conduct formally expressed and multiplying constantly so as to govern the conduct of every law student, lawyer, and judge in every known Bar of which I am aware and in every activity in every legal forum varying from the lowest clerk-magistrate conducting a traffic hearing or complaint application and on up to the Supremes of the United States and of each state. All assume rules of ethics are as necessary as are rules of law. Even though the Wittgensteinian Rule Following Paradox both as initially argued by Wittgenstein and as developed in its Kripkenstein versions provides fertile ground for challenging this assumption, legal culture ignores this Paradox and its implications when it comes to procreating rules and codes of rules of professional conduct.

 
The assumption that rules of ethics are as necessary as the rule of law is conceptually unsound and as argument is invalid. The Rule Following Paradox undermines not only the validity of the conclusion that rules of ethics are a necessary good but also the soundness of this inference when contemplated in the state of affairs in which and by which rules of ethics are enforced. Ultimately, conceptually through contemplation of the Rule Following Paradox, the conclusion must be that formal rules of ethics which by necessity must be enforced by some form of violence (such as by denying one the ability to earn a living as an attorney) serve only to enforce dominant cultural and social power structures of the social group creating and enforcing the rules of ethics. Given the rhetoric of present legal culture in the United States worshiping diversity of culture and individual egalitarianism as to meaning and understanding and even happiness in life, formal codified rules of ethics are not a good but an arbitrary and random structural enforcement of power dominance whose limited practical value for promoting and marketing a desired image of the legal profession is unnecessary while doing more harm than good. Codes of Ethics are unnecessary both conceptually and practically because the universal presence and acceptance of the rule of law in present society in and through criminal and civil law with its centuries of substantive and procedural Due Process guidance serves whatever purposes — including aesthetic purposes of image promoting and marketing the business of law as a profession — those in power desire to promulgate through codes of rules of ethics.

 
For purposes of this essay, I assume foundationalism in ethics: morally good principles are objective or natural kinds in reality existing either in the mind of God; as entities somewhere in the physical or some other universe; or wherever you want the Good to be. If the Good is actually some kind of social construct, my arguments here would only be stronger not weaker. Thus, we can avoid meta-ethics problems with rules of ethics. This essay is a conceptual analysis, though it could just as easily be a practical one. I keep it conceptual because my argument is a radical one disliked by all aspects and practitioners of the profession of law; as I have argued elsewhere, the practice of law has become a religion for many lawyers and in particular for those who make a living pontificating on the law as a reflection of natural law; as an embodiment of Rawlsian ethics; or as an exemplification of any variety of a vast quantity of other available conceptualizations equating ethics with some kind of either universal cosmic justice social construct good or with a universal morality — even social construct relativist theories of ethics assume a morality of universal application though they go through great distortions to avoid saying so. (See generally, Neiman, Susan. EVIL IN MODERN THOUGHT, an alternative history of philosophy. Princeton University Press: Princeton, N.J. (2002)). Regardless of my assuming there are objectively sound moral principles or entities of the Good, or whatever, it does not follow there can be objective understanding, interpretation, or even meaning for rule following called codes of ethics. Thus, my goal here is to create conceptual doubt for the omnipresent assumption that rules of ethics are necessary; once the doubt begins, practical and empirical support will be easy to find.

 
Personally, I admit to being a dupe in the random and arbitrary structural evil made up of professional rules of ethics. Personally, I also admit to having experienced the pain of watching many other good and honest attorneys become dupes of this random and arbitrary evil called “codes of ethics” as a result of their honest cultural and social inability to understand the dominant cultural language, etiquette, or customs of the wordgame rules or codes of professional ethics. This experience is my motivation for finally writing in essay form my conclusions reached during twenty-five years of trial practice. I say dupes instead of victims because we all come into the practice of law intentionally and knowingly and fully aware there exist professional rules of ethics we must follow or they will bite us if we do not. However, many of us because of a lack of sophistication and cultural indoctrination into the dominant culture of those writing and enforcing such codes of rules were duped into the naive belief indoctrinated into us by law school and the profession that these rules can be knowingly and intentionally followed and even understood and interpreted by anyone with a sense of fairness guided by rationality and that they are so enforced in a rational manner and with a sense of fairness (which they are not). It is this dangerous delusion protecting the emperor from admitting the nakedness of their clothing I am attacking. There is no problem with having a wordgame of ethics to promote standards of conduct and conversations about acceptable conduct; it is quite another form of life to have rules enforced by violence in such a wordgame and giving it a final necessary attribute of violence — the violence consisting of financial ruin and denial of an attorney’s ability to practice law.

 
Though much of my rule following analysis could erroneously be applied to law following, this is not my intention nor would it be rationally sound to do so. To paraphrase Voltaire, even if law following were ultimately to be shown to be a meaningless concept no better than a leap in the dark, if the rule of law did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it. It does not follow from the fact the United States was founded upon a rebellion in which its founders were considered by the rule of law to be criminals and traitors who would be hanged if caught that we should be an anarchy. However, if rule following in the wordgame of professional ethics is conceptual nonsense, it does follow we should be an anarchy as to professional rules of ethics because demanding logically impossible rule following from individuals is itself an immoral demand especially when the rules are enforced by violence; i.e., to demand the blind to see or to demand one both be and not be at the same time to avoid punishment are different in degree but not in substance to demanding one follow a teleological or even pragmatic rule whose meaning and rule following is inherently conceptually unknown or non-existent.

II. Realism Not Idealism Is Assumed

While assuming moral realism and not advocating nihilism, I am also not advocating nor admitting to ethical idealism by my assumption of a moral reality. In my lifetime, I have seen both ethics and law become secular religions. Though some dispute whether the latter is entitled to such worship, almost no one presently disputes ethics and morality and any rule following called ethical and moral rule following as entitled to such worship. This idealism toward ethics and its rule following has no basis in the reality of professional codes of ethics especially in the law. The first code of ethics for any Bar in the United States was adopted by the State of Alabama on 14 December 1887 and it served as the foundation for the canons of ethics of the American Bar Association which then spread to almost all states. The supposed motive was:

… to advance the science of jurisprudence, to promote the administration of justice throughout the State, uphold the honor of the profession of the profession of the law, and establish cordial intercourse among the members of the Bar of Alabama.

The object of the Code of Ethics is to condemn practices which have prevailed, and
which should be avoided, and to set the seal of condemnation of the association upon certain conduct which has been practiced to the detriment of the profession.

— Jones, Walter Burgwyn. “First Legal Code of Ethics Adopted in the United States”. American Bar Association Journal. Vol. 8, No.2 (Feb. 1922) pp. 111-113.

 

 

Beautiful sounding words but the reality of the goals and purposes of these words was to create rules to use and to be useful against “carpetbagger” lawyers and judges whom the esteemed lawyers and jurists of Alabama detested while being more than willing to accept in 1887 and for another seventy five years an Alabama in which racism and classism were not only considered morally good but this supposed Good was enforced by supposed ethical law following and rule following requiring courses of action varying from Jim Crow laws and social serfdom to mob lynching and forced de jure and de facto segregation of white from black and poor from rich. Id. Just as the Alabama legal code of ethics did nothing to make Alabama attorneys take courses of action now universally assumed to be correct and required by ethics and morality (in fact, given its true motive to control so-called carpet baggers who were trying to change Alabama culture to what is now socially considered to be a better society, this Code probably did more harm than good), there is no factual or rational reason for assuming any present legal code of ethics is making the law any more moral or an aspect of the Good with it than without it — even if I assume there is a moral reality the “science of jurisprudence” can know just as the eminent lawyers and jurists of 1887 Alabama assumed. Id. For those who worship the rule of law and moral reality, present professional rules of ethics may be as much a mockery of their worship of the law and morality as was the 1887 Alabama code of ethics. Regardless of how real morality may be, especially given the conceptual problem presented by the Rule Following Paradox, academic scholarship and the law should not assume rules of ethics are moral.

 
III. The Rule Following Paradox

The presently called Rule Following Paradox (RFP) is shorthand for various contemplations of problems in the philosophy of language and of mathematics by the analytic philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in his Philosophical Investigations (PI); the most direct expression of the Paradox in the PI is: “[t]his was our paradox: no course of action could be determined by a rule, because any course of action can be made out to accord with the rule”. (Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations. Hacker, P.M.S.; Anscombe, G.E.M; Schulte, Joachim; trans. Blackwell Publishing: West Sussex, United Kingdom (2009) at ¶201.) This Paradox was highlighted; made more explicit; brought into the mainstream limelight; and studied in analytic detail instead of the dialectical Socratic method of the PI by the philosopher Saul Kripke in his Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language in which he writes this Paradox is: “the most radical and original skeptical problem that philosophy has seen to date” because it undermines the possibility of ever following rules in our use of language and thus the possibility of ever having objectivity in the meaning of words. Because many dispute Kripke’s treatment of the RFP, it is often treated as a distinct RFP and referenced as Kripkenstein.

 
It is not my purpose here to get into a rigorous all-encompassing contemplation of RFP. Given my realist assumption that moral principles or the Good make up an objective reality we can come to know and understand as we do sense experience, there is no need to do so. A basic understanding of the essence of the RFP and of how it occurs in natural language is sufficient.

 

Both Wittgenstein and Kripke and most philosophers contemplating RFP begin by analyzing mathematical language as an expression of RFP because mathematical language is the clearest example of what is almost universally assumed to be clear and precise rule following expressed in unambiguous words applicable to an infinite number of cases that share with natural language the potential for an infinite number of meanings for words, sentences, and rules derived from a finite set of experiences — in the case of mathematical language unlike natural languages however, the infinite possibilities are clear and precise and the rules determinate. If RFP is a real problem in the language of mathematics, it is a real problem in any natural language. Therefore, I will also begin with an analysis of RFP in mathematical language before natural language.

 
Since I have assumed realism for moral principles and their Good, for consistency, I will assume realism for numbers and numeric entities in my reasoning. Again, as with morality and ethics, if numbers are really just social constructs, my argument here only becomes stronger.

 
We must begin by a holistic understanding of the transition from the finite nature of our empirical experiences including the experience of speaking a language to the infinite conceptual possibilities of reason and language. Not only is this transition the source of the RFP problem, it also marks a conceptual wordgame distinction between descriptive and normative rule following:

… although an intelligence tester may suppose that there is only one possible continuation to the sequence 2, 4, 6, 8, . . ., mathematical and philosophical sophisticates know that an indefinite number of rules (even rules stated in terms of mathematical functions as conventional as ordinary polynomials) are compatible with any finite initial segment. So, if the tester urges me to respond, after 2, 4, 6, 8, . . ., with the unique appropriate next number, the proper response is that no such unique number exists, nor is there any unique (rule determined) infinite sequence that continues the given one.

— Kripke, Saul. Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA (1982) p. 60.

 

 

An intelligence tester asking me to predict the next number in the sequence 2, 4, 6, 8, . . . is on the surface testing my understanding of rule following having descriptive meaning — in this case the descriptive meaning is also predictive. The obvious course of action for anyone with the necessary grammar school experience and understanding is to predict the correct answer to be 10; the rule to be followed is the function add(x + 2). However, this answer is not obvious because of any descriptive rule following that is an experienced fact of this state of affairs in the same way the numbers are experienced facts: we experience no addition or other function in the facts. There are an infinite number of possible rules I can experience and follow and resulting courses of action that will predict the next number in this series and go on to predict any number at any point in a following infinite series of courses of action and of their numbers.

 

The remainder of this essay is at AGAINST RULES OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS .

AN EXISTENTIAL META-ETHICS: ARGUMENT FOR A RETURN TO ITS ROOTS IN NIHILISM AS A MORALITY

I. PROLOGUE / THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM

 

A slave begins by demanding justice and ends by wanting to wear a crown. He must dominate in his turn. — Albert Camus

 

The correct answer to the trolley problem thought experiment omnipresent in academic, philosophy, and experimental psychology studies on ethics and morality has finally been revealed through the acts of a two-year-old toddler who despite his age is an old school existentialist and is shown in the YouTube video entitled “A two-year-old’s solution to the trolley problem” at Trolley Problem. The general form of the thought experiment is as follows. You see a runaway trolley moving toward five incapacitated people lying on the tracks. To save them, the option exists to pull a lever thus diverting the trolley onto a side track where it will kill only one person. What do morality and ethics require be the good and evil decisions? The video shows a two-year-old boy happily playing with his trolley set when the Power-that-be in his life consisting of his father interrupts him for an important life lesson on good and evil. The Power puts five pretend persons on one rail line and one pretend person on the other rail line, as the pretend trolley reaches a fork in the one line leading to the two lines with the pretend persons, the Power asks “Oh oh, what do we do now? The train is going to crash into these people”. So, the kid dude takes the single pretend person from the one line, adds them to the five pretend persons on the other line, and then happily pretends to run the trolley over all six then continuing with his play as he was before the Power interrupted him with a stupid experiment dependent on a pretend almost impossible chain of events that serves only to indoctrinate human reasoning into a cold-blooded calculation of unimaginative restricted options. The trolley experiment is more suited to training concentration camp guards as social engineers than in learning anything about good and evil in the supposedly diversity thinking modern social justice world in which clear options are usually nonexistent.

 
Here is a more old school existential experiment in normative thought. You are driving your two seat car by a bus stop and see three people there: 1) a physically injured person trying to get to a hospital; 2) an old close friend that you have not seen in years; 3) someone you recently fell in love with. You can only give one of these people a ride in your car because there is no room for more than two people. So, who gets the ride? The nihilist answer is: let your old friend drive the injured person to the hospital while you stay with your love at the bus stop.

 
The kid’s nihilist response to the Powers’ wordgame of ethics so he can concentrate on his game of trolleys puts him in the true existential hero ranks of Camus’ Sisyphus, Meursault, and the Rebel/Conqueror of Myth of Sisyphus. As with Sisyphus and his boulder, we must leave the video imagining the kid dude happy as he continues in his meaningless task. (If one has a satirical sense of humor normally not allowed in proper company, the music video version of the toddler’s solution is funnier:  “Kids Solution To The Trolley Problem THUG LIFE”. )

 
The true old school existential question in the trolley problem is not concerned with the freedom of the few Powers authentically controlling the trolley switches but with the freedom, if any, of the vast majority of humanity consisting of the individual incapacitated tied to the tracks. That is, of the waiters out there that new school existentialism ridicules for their being too good at their job and therefore inauthentic. As they “hear Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near; And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity” should they abandon all hope and as did Meursault lay their existential “heart open to the benign indifference of the universe” or engage in Kierkegaard’s religious final stage of hope in God to make the existential “qualitative transition of the leap from non-belief to belief”. Or, more practically, given the chance, how many of the Other tied to the tracks would they kill in a Nietzschean will to power act to save themselves? If history is any clue, the answer is pretty much all of them. But, how many are they allowed actually to kill and who is it that decides whether this natural law of survival is the same Natural Law derived from Divine Law that actually allows them the choice for killing of the Other? How do questions of individual life become questions about cosmic Natural Law?

 
Beginning in the modern world with early 19th Century Soren Kierkegaard and continuing to mid 20th Century Albert Camus, it was the contemplation of the meaning or lack of meaning of individual life that was the foundation of existentialism not social engineering. Kierkegaard and Camus sought individual passion for life as the foundation for meaning in life. However, a passionate life by its very nature is existentially the greatest act of discrimination.

 
As the modern world becomes a Technological Society in which by the conceptual and practical necessity of the epistemology of science and of the methodology, economics, and technique of technology, humanity is becoming C.S. Pierce’s “colony of insects” whose group knowledge far exceeds the knowledge of any expendable individual, old school existentialism is needed more than ever. As Orwell accurately predicted, “[b]y comparison with that existing today, all the tyrannies of the past were half-hearted and inefficient. … The possibility of enforcing not only complete obedience to the will of the State, but complete uniformity of opinion on all subjects, now exist[s] for the first time.” Old school existentialism saw the possibility of an individual life of passion despite despair. New school existentialism sees passion and the individual discrimination that passion by necessity creates between that for which we are passionate and that for which we are not as cause of despair not the solution. Rather, it sees social engineering and ethics reducing everything to the needs of cosmic equality as the only hope out of despair thus serving the necessary need of Technological Society to reduce the individual to isolated paper cutout worker bees — genderless; raceless; no ethnicity; no national, group, or social identity; no family or marital allegiance; nor any acceptable sense of community other than their work including academic work; and pretty much eliminating any passion that would threaten the technological collective — while at the same time whining about the technological collective. All individuals are reduced to being a social construct identity but no individual is allowed to be a social construct identity.

 
Passion is the will to power that compels the individual to cut through the meaningless of life to seek that which the individual decides is worthy of singling out, loving, and fighting for either in offense or defense despite the struggle being without hope of victory. Existentialism is supposed to be the enemy of the authoritarian and the collective. Yet, it has become the exact opposite. New school existentialism with its post-modernism and social justice theory has simply hijacked passion to imprison it within aesthetics so that no one notices the passion is gone.

 
Instead of going old school, we get the new school existential groupthink of Rawlsian utilitarianism, structuralism, post-structuralism, post-modernism, social justice theory, or whatever the Powers-that-be want to call their foundational need for cosmic so-called social justice chaining all individuals to the tracks of their wordgames of ethics and morality — living, dead, or yet to be born — except for the few Powers controlling everyone’s trolley so as to make sure they run over only the individuals they have decided should be run over. Kierkegaard and religion are now irrelevant and subservient to the law and Camus would not even be considered an existentialist any longer just as he denied he was one toward the end of his life because it appears he saw what was coming. Other than serving as an object of satire for Woody Allen movies, old school existentialism has become irrelevant to the class struggle of history.

 
What happened?

 
What happened are the success and aesthetics of Technological Society: its technological material power over the banality of the universe gives the Powers the necessary pragmatics to avoid physical nihilism; and its power of Orwellian propaganda — though it constantly whines about the threat of nihilism — gives the Powers the conceptual power to avoid nihilism as an opponent to its ideology. This propaganda derives its power from the aesthetics of morality and ethics: the ontology present in their wordgame of an objective ultimate value called “good”. Nihilism is a threat to this ontology by making the aesthetics of good and evil equal.

 
Nihilism is the one fear of all successful philosophies: Buddhism seeking the oneness of the whole or the wholeness of the one — which it is, I forget — to the pretend nihilism of Nietzschean continental philosophies worshiping Christianity without a Christ and onto the analytic rationalists and also the empirical pragmatists who all fear the existence of a social ethical and individual moral vacuum in human society as so irrational or so impractical as to make civilization unworkable. This is true even for my boyhood hero Camus and for existentialism as it morphed into social justice engineering. His quote from The Rebel that I use as an epigram is his last genial comment on nihilism and the last intelligent one to have come out of existentialism and its progeny founded on the ramblings of Sartre and his followers’ hijacking of existentialism. Camus goes on in The Rebel to conclude with a condemnation of nihilism:

Nihilistic passion, adding to falsehood and injustice, destroys in its fury its original demands and thus deprives rebellion of its most cogent reasons. It kills in the fond conviction that this world is dedicated to death. The consequence of rebellion, on the contrary, is to refuse to legitimize murder because rebellion, in principle, is a protest against death. — Camus, Albert. The Rebel. p. 285.

 

Camus came from a dirt-poor background and thus likely did not get to play with trains as a child, so why he eventually chose to adopt socially acceptable philosophy is understandable; though — as I will later contemplate — to his credit he subsequently began to regret his sellout to the Powers before his untimely death. However, even those who must have been able to play with trains in their youth such as the proponent of philosophical phenomenology Bruce Wilshire (who ironically ended his career in philosophy as chair of the philosophy department at Rutgers University which at the time was one of the most dominant analytic philosophy departments in the United States) have nothing good to say about nihilism:

Nihilism means to mangle the roots of our thinking-feeling-evaluating selves, to lose the full potential of our immediate ecstatic involvement in the world around us. It means to lose full contact with our willing-feeling-valuing life-projects to have a shallow sense of what is valuable in human life. It means to be arch, smug, dried out — to be a talking head among other talking heads. Speak and reason as we will, we are no longer moved in our depths. — Wilshire, Bruce. Fashionable Nonsense, a critique of analytic philosophy. State University of New York Press: Albany, NY (2002) p. 2.

If all the Powers and their intelligentsia are all opposed to nihilism, there must be something to it, especially for those that are not in the Powers — either Inner or Outer Party.

 
I will argue that existentialism started with nihilism and it should have ended with it as its meta-ethics foundation for all other existential thought — including for morality and ethics — instead of treating it as an “evil” problem to be solved as does social justice theory in all its forms whether it is the analytic rationalism of a John Rawls or the Nietzschean relativists proclaiming the death of God in order to birth themselves and multiple gods in their image.

 
Meta-ethics seeks to know whether there are properties or attributes common to all instances of the words “good” and “evil” in all their forms as normative universals of ultimate value. The term “normative” as are all words is vague and indeterminate with many uses and usefulness. Meta-ethics deals with the conceptualization of evaluative and perspective normative good and evil. It does not deal with the normative in a descriptive rule-following or descriptive predictive sense (though rule-following will be an issue in meta-ethics) such as for example: “to play chess, one must cannot move the pawn more than two spaces”; “to get to manhattan quickly, one ought to take the subway”; “to help your plant live, give it more sun”; “To get to the moon, follow classical physics”. Meta-ethics deals with good and evil in terms of ultimate value: “honesty is good”; “robbery is evil”; “killing is evil”; “all humans have equal human rights”.

 
The conceptual problems raised by various meta-ethics proposed properties and attributes for the words “good” and “evil” in all their forms as normative universals is well known — varying from the famous Hume’s Guillotine and Moore’s Open Question Argument to J.L. Mackie’s error theory and Susan Neiman’s history of philosophy as an inquiry into the nature of good and evil. Though it is important to seek theories of knowledge that can naturalize morality and ethics or at least by Rawlsian style rationalism link them to knowledge about the world, in many ways this problem in meta-ethics is simply irrelevant to modern society. In Technological Society, because its power of propaganda exists independently of any epistemic worth other than for power as an end in itself (As Orwell wrote in 1984, “God is Power”), it is morality and ethics that now often decide not only what ought to be the state of affairs but what actually is the state of affairs — not just as theory-laden language but ontologically as the language of fact and truth. For example, “gender is a social construct” is no longer a question of fact but of ethics; the Powers want it so, it is so. Thus, given this state of affairs, I will argue that nihilism not only acts as individual morality but also as a theodicy because God is the ultimate nihilist. The following I will argue in this essay are all ontologically true, not just linguistically true as a matter of language based on there being “nothing outside of text” or a similar philosophy of language, but ontologically objectively true — to the extent these words can have meaning — for the concepts of evaluative and perspective normative ultimate valuation of good and evil:

1) In the language wordgames of ethics and morality, there are no objective foundational prescriptive or evaluative values for good or evil in a normative sense though these wordgames always assume objective foundational absolute values. Saying there is no truth is a contradiction and nihilism does not require such inconsistent skepticism toward descriptive reality and truth especially toward scientific truth and this is not the nihilism that I will be contemplating. Saying there are no objective values for ultimate normative good and evil is not a contradiction. Nihilism accepts this lack of value as factual truth.

2) Good is anything that one approves as giving meaning to one’s life. Evil is anything of which one disapproves because it opposes or threatens that meaning.

3) Morality and ethics are distinct conceptual forms of life or wordgames. Morality consists of rules by which an individual analyzes compliance with their Good. Since all rules are talked about by public language, morality seems to be public but ontologically it is an individual construct that exists ontologically only as action. Ethics is a set of rules by which a social group defines what is good for the group. Because groups cannot act except through individuals, ethics is ultimately decided by the most powerful of any social group and thus ethics is always ontologically ruling class ideology.

4) A necessary and final ontological attribute of all morality and ethics is violence. If an individual is unwilling to enforce their morality upon the Other by violence then it is simply habit. An ethics unwilling to enforce its ideology by violence upon the Other is simply etiquette or custom. Ethics reaches perfection as ruling class ideology with a monopoly on violence: that is by becoming law. The more a society is dependent upon ethics and law for its social cohesion, the more a society is dependent upon violence for its social cohesion. To paraphrase the philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine’s comments on science, the language fabric of normative language impinges on experience only at the edge of the dagger hidden beneath the fabric: acting upon its attribute of violence.

5) There is no interpretative language that can logically derive normative language from descriptive language and thus neither moral nor ethical beliefs need be based upon true assertions of fact: one can rationally say without contradiction “it is snowing but I do not believe it is snowing” or “Trump is President but I do not believe him to be President”. Epistemically, the foundation of ethics and morality is having norms that are not based on descriptive reality but on what reality ought to be. This gives ethics and morality the power of being the only descriptive wordgame in which a concept of non-pragmatic truth is more than just a deflationary assertion of what is: one can rationally say “there is no objective basis for rape (murder or whatever) to be wrong but I believe it to be objectively wrong”. However, this creates the weakness that pragmatic truth — that is whether an ethics or morality actually works to solve a problem — and descriptive assertions of what is are irrelevant to ethics and morality. For example, for those of a certain ethics, “Trump is not President” becomes a true assertion of fact regardless of whether he is or is not President because according to the norms of such speakers Trump ought not to be President — and similarly the same could have been said of a Clinton if the election results had been different.

6) Modern Technological Society ruling class ideology will by necessity seek through ethics to have power and control over all individual morality including religious morality just as it needs control over everything else in reality. This necessary methodology serves humanity’s needs as a form of life to discover, explore, and conquer the universe trying to kill both the individual and humanity and requires a building of collective knowledge at the expense of individual knowledge — C.S. Pierce’s “colony of insects” with the individual and their morality expendable if not subservient to ruling class ideology.

7) The early religious existentialist Kierkegaard saw hope for individual meaning for the individual living even in necessary servitude to the arbitrary and random Fates through three ascending stages of what are now called phenomenological experiences: aesthetic, ethical, and religious. The incomplete work of Camus reversed the ascending experience: religious, ethical, and aesthetic. I want to begin anew the early thought of the work of Camus by dissolving all three stages into nihilism as a morality based on action not words for the individual trying simply to find meaning in the unavoidable incapacitating ruling class ideology — its ethics — of Technological Society. An opposition struggle to Technological Society so as to continue historical struggle cannot derive from ethics or even from socially acceptable morality but only from nihilism as a morality.

— The remainder of this essay is found at: AN EXISTENTIAL META-ETHICS: ARGUMENT FOR A RETURN TO ITS ROOTS IN NIHILISM AS A MORALITY

COSMIC JUSTICE AND THE LAW

The economist Thomas Sowell is a true working class hero. He was born in the Jim Crow South in 1930 with his father dying shortly thereafter leaving his mother, a housemaid, with five children to raise. As a child, his encounters with white people were so limited he did not know blond was a hair color. He and his extended family eventually moved to Charlotte, North Carolina then to Harlem, New York City. After serving in various manual labor and other odd jobs, he was drafted into the military in 1951 during the Korean War and was assigned to the Marine Corps. After his honorable discharge, he went on to use his G.I. Bill and subsequent educational opportunities to attend Howard University, Harvard University, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago to get his Ph.D. in economics. He is now at Stanford University.

 

In many of his essays and subsequent books, he argues against the concept of cosmic justice that is required talk throughout the American upper class, its law, and its intelligentsia — its social justice warriors — to hide its will to power. He defines cosmic justice in relation to traditional concepts of justice as follows:

For those with this view, “genuine equality of opportunity” cannot be achieved by the application of the same rules and standards to all, but requires specific interventions to equalize either prospects or results. As Rawls puts it, “undeserved inequalities call for redress.” A fight in which both boxers observe the Marquis of Queensberry rules would be a fair fight, according to traditional standards of fairness, irrespective of whether the contestants were of equal skill, strength, experience or other factors likely to affect the outcome– and irrespective of whether that outcome was a hard-fought draw or a completely one-sided beating. This would not, however, be a fair fight within the framework of those seeking “social justice,” if the competing fighters came into the ring with very different prospects of success — especially if these differences were due to factors beyond their control.  “The Quest for Cosmic Justice” by Thomas Sowell

I have spent most of my life disagreeing with him, but I must now admit at least partial error in my disagreement. Gradually, as I have gotten older and fortunately or unfortunately my idealism has been diluted by pragmatic reality, I have learned to agree with him but only to the extent of rejecting cosmic justice in the rule of law but not as a normative goal through social and cultural goals that existentially may never be achieved. The existentialist absurd individual who has made a leap into morality as an individual dealing with other individuals in daily life must continue to struggle for cosmic justice as an end in itself with its own independent meaning. As I have argued before in this series of essays, social economic classes are a necessary part of human social group struggle against the universe. We need to admit their existence in order to minimize their unfairness and for society to prosper even though existentially I will always protest their existence in reality.

 

One objection to Sovell’s arguments is that even traditional concepts of fairness such as those exhibited by the rules of sports incorporate pragmatic means outside the rules to make them fair. For example, in boxing there are weight classes. It would not be considered a “fair fight” for a 135 lb. lightweight to be matched up against a 235 lb. heavyweight. These types of class distinctions are made in all rules of sports varying from baseball with its various levels of amateur and pro playing to golf with its handicaps and onto Formula and Moto racing with classes based on engine size. Mr. Sowell seems to admit to the validity of this objection in some of his other writings and implies the need for a social equivalent to sports classes. For example, in his criticism of affirmative action, he argues it disadvantages the lower classes because they cannot compete on the same level as upper class college students and thus drop-up at higher rates; he argues they would be better off attending a college with others of their class thus allowing them to graduate and work up to upper class education. “”Affirmative Action Around the World” by Thomas Sowell.

 

Furthermore, as a young man, I objected to his argument because I took on as a moral code the classic so-called Warrior Ethos: “I will never leave a fallen comrade.” Why should I leave any fellow workers behind in my battle for victory over the powers-that-be, especially if I win the battle or the war? Is that not also the Christian Ethos: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves”? Romans 15.

 

My first step to agreeing at least partially with him was my military service and reading of military history. Turns out warriors leave their comrades behind all the time. The trials for cowardice of the Battle of Arginusae generals for leaving stranded drowning sailors behind and the Marines dragging their frozen dead with them as they retreated from the Battle of Chosin Reservoir were a rarity in military history including Marine Corps history and for all military units in world history, on land and on sea. During hasty retreats, leaving behind the wounded, the dead, and the equipment while running like hell was much more common.

 

Next, I was changed by my years spent in the American system of injustice. In it, though one might occasionally win a battle against the powers-that-be, in the end, one always lose the war. The law is full of talk of diversity, victims, and social justice but the end result is the same as in all systems of injustice throughout history: maintain the power of the status quo. The reality of cosmic justice at work in the law is twofold: 1) changing from time to time whom it advantages and disadvantages so as to keep competing social groups including the male and female sexes in constant conflict; 2) transforming being a victim of injustice, including its own, into a culture of victimization that gives meaning to victims’ lives and to those who want power over them so they do not become motivated to force real change in life. In fact, many cosmic justice warriors and their camp followers are more happy in their culture of victimization and poverty than I have ever been or will be in fighting to avoid it; so much so that they are willing to promote and procreate their myth onto messing up the lives of posterity.

 

One clear example of this process at work is American Indian culture — a fabricated culture that does not really even exist. If there is any meaning to the words “American Indian” other than to give upper class Americans and their intelligentsia something to pity, it would be only to reference a particular trial culture, i.e., Cherokee, Navajo, and so forth. However, these tribal cultures died out long ago with the best and brightest individuals of those cultures long ago having mixed into American culture as all other immigrant groups of the past have done and as occurred throughout history between conquerors and those conquered. What remains of those dead tribal cultures consist of a bunch of modern day Americans pretending to be tribes as a source of meaning in their lives and as a means to get government assistance. American Indians are the most impoverished social group in the country and statistically lead in single parent households, mental illness, child abuse, crime, drug problems, and education dropouts with a resulting lead in juvenile crime. Yet, their so-called leaders with their will-to-power need to protect their fiefdoms of power on government provided reservations continue and foster the farce of American Indian culture. At any level of power, those in power, including the big fish in the small pond of American Indian reservations, will convert any intentions — either good or bad — into a means of power as an end in itself, even intentions of cosmic justice. No good deed will go unpunished by the powers-that-be if they can use it as a means of maintaining their power or of obtaining more power.

 

A future example of this culture of victimization will be the black Americans left behind by their upper class brothers and sisters using new school racism as a means to get and stay upper class. Please see my previous essays on New School Racism. As I predicted in those essays and in greater detail in “Between the World and Us” (that is already coming to life by the demands of black Harvard University students for a separate graduation ceremony for black graduates), the solution for racism by Ta-Nehisi Coates and other black members and friends of the upper class is: establish a separate but equal education system for “black bodies”, letting black men commit self-genocide by continuing to kill each other, letting black women raise families by themselves, and creating black ghettos with the help of a new 21st Century slave master: government. Thus, thanks to cosmic justice warriors, we have come full circle: the solution to racism will be racism.

 

For any working social construct concept of fairness to be useful to humanity’s struggle with the universe to survive, as with fairness in rules of athletics and other sports, it must accept the presence of social economic class struggle as a present and future necessity. This presence is not a basis to create laws giving preference or preventing discrimination among class as occurs with all preferences present in civil rights laws serving only to hide class conflict while aggravating it. The acceptance of the necessity to have class conflict is necessary as a basis to eliminate and negate such law in order to allow classes to work and struggle within themselves for individual success and to compete with each other for overall social success. Civil rights laws result from the arrogance of the Orwellian High who view workers as hopeless idiots doomed to a life of misery, drug addiction, violence, and meaningless deaths without their aid and control. Billions of Orwellian Middle and Low throughout history have loved and been loved and have struggled and triumphed in every day struggles for life, property, and liberty. These struggles have created modern Technological Society. As basic fairness, this Society must allow us the freedom to continue our struggles among ourselves to control the present and future of the Technological Society our struggles have created.

 

A cosmic justice concept demanding illusionary equality for all enforced by the law’s monopoly on violence at the expense of equity for all through social and cultural pragmatism helps only the powers-that-be. The first stumbling block for application into Technological Society of Sovell’s “genuine equality of opportunity” with social economic class acceptance will be the law. How can we bring this pragmatic concept of fairness to life in the present delusional reality of the American system of injustice in which law negates and then demands a monopoly of violence for its power of negation of all social and cultural norms other than its cosmic vision of justice?

THE MYTH OF JUDGES OF PROVEN INTEGRITY

An omnipresent myth universally marketed by American legal culture is that judges are experienced, honest, impartial, and of proven integrity. To anyone with any significant experience with either a state or federal court system or in the selection either by appointment or election of judges, this myth is a joke. Somehow, it continues. Most likely it continues because most people are so frighten of getting involved in legal disputes that they do not even want to think about those involved. Once they do become involved, such people become “litigants” (or worse, criminal defendants) and thus lose credibility with the rest of society desperately trying to avoid getting involved.

Most judges start out as average human beings with one serious defect: they want to be judges. That is, they want to have a lifetime job in which they sit in judgment on the lives of their fellow human beings; cold-bloodedly view their problems; and then make their lives worse in some way so as to maintain whatever social order exists — be it the order of a North Korean dictatorship, a Russian oligarchy, or an American oligarchy. Judges maintain such status quo by the sacrifice of the individual — unless the judge is sympathetic to the individual — with all decisions required to be universal and not accepting of diversity nor individual personality or morality. There is no curing of disease, no invention, no epiphany, no theorem proven, no joy of pure analytical thought, no joy of experiment, no critical thinking to a solution, no scientific method, no glory of winning, and no agony of defeat — any type of honest emotion and good faith belief in a principle or good or evil is to be avoided (other than “law and order” that actually means just order). The only joy is in the power of playing god except for the fact that they lack the courage to do any killing themselves but have others do it for them — however, the judge cannot admit to such playing but must hide behind the smokescreen of law, pretending there is something more to their decision-making than just their arbitrary decision of what personal ethics and morals to enforce and which not to enforce. Hiding this reality of the judge’s job, American legal culture in all federal courts and in most state courts gives life tenure to average human beings with such an obvious character flaw plus grants them no accountability for their acts — forgetting power corrupts.

For example, present Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor stated in an Associated Press interview that she wanted be a judge by age 10 after watching a Perry Mason episode at which point she “realized that the judge was the most important player in that room”. What were you dreaming about at age 10? At age 10, I was just trying to survive until the next day. If I did dream, it was to become an astronaut, an explorer of the world and the universe, to cure cancer, to become a military hero, about the girl sitting next to me in class, or of having love and a happy family, or doing something great to help my fellow humans. The few times I watched Perry Mason, I sympathized with the innocent defendant being railroaded through the system by the powers — including the moron judge — miraculously saved from imprisonment or worse only by the hero Perry Mason. Ms. Sotomayor despite having a loving, extended family supporting her path not only to survive but to prosper in life instead was dreaming of being the moron judge simply because he had the most power. What a sick mentality. This sick mentality gets worse as we go up the power chain to such power fiefdoms as the Supremes. Lower court judges are actually the most fair and wise since they must work with real people in real world situations instead of living in ivory towers of power being an end in itself.

Have you ever read or even heard of any judge, in the present or in history, leaving their judgeship because of stress, worry, guilt, overwork, in rebellion, or as a matter of principle? Neither have I. In fact, especially at the federal level, judges have to be carried out in their senile old age while desperately trying to hand-on to their job of being a demigod. The federal system is full of “senior” judges past the suggested retirement age of 70. The idea of becoming part of humanity that is judged instead of those doing the judging is their greatest fear.

There are no merit or competency tests or requirements for being a judge. The only test, regardless of whether a judge is elected or appointed, is a political one. They are usually former government prosecutors or big firm attorneys who spent their whole professional career following orders, not making waves, and taking whatever politically correct position they believed was necessary to get them the needed political credentials for appointment to a lifetime umbilical cord of a government job. They are supposed to be the best and the brightest of an adversarial legal system in which the best attorneys are supposed to take the greatest risks defending the unpopular and powerless of society such as did Attorneys Atticus Finch of “To Kill a Mocking Bird” and Abraham Lincoln — neither of which could ever be appointed to a judgeship but instead would most likely be disbarred in our modern legal culture for their antics. Instead, as attorneys, most judges were the bottom of the barrel in terms of adversarial and analytical skills and courage — their only skill was politics but they even lacked the courage to run for political office.

This myth is present in all legal systems even going back to the sophisticated legal system of the Roman Empire. In fact, it is this myth that is the greatest weakness in the monopoly of violence that is the law and is usually the one way that it can be beaten. Eventually, as the status quo empowered by judges gets further and further out-of-step with technological and material progress, those charged with executing the judgments of judges get tired of their incompetence and stop executing the judgments. Since judges are incapable of doing their own dirty work, this is when things finally start to change. Judges and the “rule of law” consistent with their dishonest nature take credit from our Honored Dead for historical progress that led to the abolishment of slavery, of Jim Crow laws, of forced segregation, of denial of equal rights to women and minorities, of destruction of unions and the imprisonment of their members, and of almost all injustices that in their time were legal and enforced by judges. In reality, judges have throughout history always been on the wrong side of history and were on the wrong side of these listed now abrogated laws. Violence or some type of civil or military revolution has always been required to get judges on the right side of history.
This reality is still true despite judges’ present claims, again, that they are on the right side of history. These present claims by them and their worshipers hint at more than just character flaws to the presence perhaps of insane delusion. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. — Albert Einstein. For a more detailed analysis of this myth, please see two of our sponsoring books The Law Illusion and Between the World and Us .

THE MYTH OF A FOUNDATION UPON THE “RULE OF LAW”

This is the omnipresent cry of all socially accepted members of United States legal culture (and of most modern nations’ legal systems): our Nation is founded upon “the rule of law”. This is the predominant myth in United States legal culture: the United States was founded upon the “rule of law”. By “rule of law” is meant the principle that law should govern a nation as opposed to governance by the arbitrary decisions of individuals. This is the law’s strongest marketing myth yet the easiest to see through its deception to the truth once one bothers contemplating it in the context of history.

 
Neither the United States nor any modern industrial or technological nation — including any of the major nation state players in the modern world such as Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and so forth with the possible exception of Japan’s Meiji Restoration or of satellite nations such as Canada that are castaways from the major players — were founded upon the rule of law. The United States was founded by religious fanatics seeking freedom from all secular law and by criminal revolutionaries motivated by desires for individual freedom exempt from all law and by various forms of a master morality will to power varying from avarice, anarchy, and bootlegging to piracy, sex, tax evasion, and wagering. By “criminals”, I am not referring to the fact that many were slave owners because owning slaves was legal under the rule of law at our founding as it was for all systems of law throughout history until a couple of centuries ago when slavery’s rule of law was abrogated by armed civil revolution. The revolutionaries of our American Revolution in relation to Britain and Europe had more in common with present day Somali pirates than with any enlightened believers in “rule of law”. (In the same way that the British of the 16th Century in relation to Europe had more in common with present day Somali pirates than with any enlightened believers in “rule of law”.) They were a minority who by violence intended to force and did force their minority views and rebellion against established British law upon the Loyalist majority not by any rule of law but through violent tactics and atrocities against Loyalist civilians and their property that would be called terrorism and war crimes in our present world. A detailed chronological history of how a violent criminal minority was able to start and win our American revolution can be seen at www.redcoat.me.uk/Rev-War.htm . In short, the fanatical minority criminal revolutionaries of the American Revolution in trying to give meaning and power to their individual lives used the atrocious, illegal, and deceptive tactics of all revolutionaries in history without consideration or respect to any concepts of “rule of law” other than “might makes right”.

 
The difference is that our revolutionaries because of their unique place in time and space were successful in revolting against the established rule of law. This success has more to do with physical geography and the availability of new industry and technology than of any inherent good in the revolutionaries: luck, destiny, fate, or whatever you want to call it. See www.redcoat.me.uk/Rev-War.htm .

 

The worse and best aspect of the founding of the United States is that such rebellion against the rule of law is what had to occur to make us the first country in history in association with the dawn of the Industrial Age and now the Technological Age to be founded not upon principles of “rule of law” through kings, queens, emperors, military leaders, senators, representatives, judges, or other demagogues but upon principles claiming the individual not the individual’s community is the measure of all things. As such a country, we have been for more than two hundred years a beacon of hope to all humanity still living under the natural and ancient “rule of law” that individuals to survive in a universe at best indifferent to our existence must surrender their individual needs and goals to the needs and goals of the whole to survive. Revolutionaries of the American Revolution said, “F___k the whole” and spit in the face of the indifference of the universe and its “rule of law” to explore, discover, and conquer their universe in a struggle, perhaps never ending, to make their own individual heaven on earth.

 
As a result of their success in founding a nation through might with no respect for any rule of law, our revolutionary rebels were then faced with the issue of how to rule their new nation. This leads me to the second false myth about the rule of law: the rule of law protects the powerless from the powerful

FALSE MARKETING MYTHS OF LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE / INTRODUCTION

Though legal culture in the United States calls itself a profession, it is really a for-profit religion having a monopoly on violence to produce one product: you. Its business goal is to tell you what you ought to be and what you ought to be doing to produce a “you” in its image. The secular religion of law uses well marketed false myths to stay in business: 1) the United States was founded upon the rule of law; 2) the rule of law protects the powerless from the powerful; 3) judges are experienced, honest, impartial, and of proven integrity; and 4) there is a difference between law and the ethics and morality of judges.

 
I will cover each of these myths in separate essays. As I have written elsewhere, in trying to contemplate and write about the general principles that govern such issues as law, it is not my goal to create an idiocracy by oversimplifying the problems of creating a workable social system for adjudicating disputes so as to avoid private violence and internal conflict among individuals or groups that would disrupt the viability of United States society or of any society. However, our modern technological world is so very complicated that it is easy to forget the basic premises of human thought that have made us successful so far in beating the natural world’s will to kill us and wipe our societies from the universe. For example, mathematics is incredibly complicated, yet all of its incredibly convoluted rationally challenging complexity begins with one operation: addition. If you do not understand that 2 + 2 = 4, all of mathematics is worthless farce. To freely operate in a free and open society, one must accept that “freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If that is granted, all else follows” — Orwell’s 1984. Modern legal culture loves generating law libraries of verbiage to hide that 2 + 2 = 4. One of its methods for denying us this freedom is through the false marketing myths that I will be contemplating. To be free in an open society, these myths must be seen as false and rejected. We can then go on to a more subtle contemplation of the nature of the concept of justice in a modern technological society.

 
The false myths that I intend to contemplate are universal to all legal cultures but are most powerful and thus have the most adverse effects in United States culture because the United States is so powerful and successful. As with all past societies and especially empires, as they achieve more power and greater success, the few who possess most of that power and success start to generate smokescreens that hide the foundation bases upon which the power and success were built resulting in their being ignored and the foundation allowed to crumble thus eventually crumbling down the society and empire built upon them.

A SYSTEM OF EMPATHY: REBUTTAL TO AN EXISTENTIALIST THEORY OF JUSTICE

An existentialist theory of justice would be a contradiction and a betrayal of existentialist philosophy. In the present and most likely future of technological society in which even Christianity is surrendering the individual to the needs of the will to power of the few, existentialism is the last philosophy founded upon the power of the individual as morally superior to the indifference of the universe. Existentialism recognizes and must continue to recognize that there is no justice in life nor in the next life, if any, and there is no justice in or out of court. Justice as with ethics and any system of normative principles is a means created by the powers of any given system of power to maintain the status quo of that system of power. Taking “justice” as a serious ontological reality or creating an existentialist “justice” would be just another system of power to maintain the status quo of power. Rather, existentialists who have decided to act as social agents for change must seek an alternate ontological reality. This alternative must involve struggle not peaceful acceptance, but struggle with empathy for all involved in the struggle of power with the indifference of the universe.

 
Existentialism in both its secular and religious form is an attempt to avoid nihilism: an attempt that always fails. In the end of its logic, existentialist reasoning must accept nihilism. Such acceptance does not deny truth. Nihilism denies meaning in life not truth. As soon as some nihilist states there is no absolute truth in life they have contradicted themselves and established that there is absolute truth. At a minimum, there is the absolute truth that I exist and therefore I think and I want more than to exist.

 
Nihilist truth is pragmatic. Once I reject suicide and decide to give meaning to the universe, I must choose an ontology and morality necessary to achieve that meaning. If what I choose works to achieve my result, they are true. If they fail, they are to be rejected or revised or I can go back to contemplating suicide. Regardless of how I proceed, by necessity existentialism involves struggle not peaceful coexistence with what is not “I”. The universe does not care about my existence, it is its own existence. Unless I am one of the few beloved by God and thus made a god alongside of Him or I become a god myself as a being content with my own existence as an end in itself and thus do not ask existentialist questions nor need its reasoning, I will always be one of the poor hated by God and thus always involved in a struggle with His meaningless universe. This struggle with a meaningless universe includes all, including others, who may be out there. There is nothing one can do to make the struggle with the universe any less painful. It is what it is, and in the end it will always win the war regardless of how many battles we fight and win.

 
The struggle with the others who may be or seem to be out is a different situation. Rationally, existentialism has the benefit of avoiding solipsism: there must be others ontologicaly existing out there because I cannot will what I want. It is in the struggle of my will to achieve power over my life and my will’s constant inability and outward failure to do so that proves I am not alone in the universe. There is something out there, it may just be God but it is out there. If it is just God, He is taking so many forms to make my life miserable that He might as well be a multitude of others and pragmatically I must accept such an ontology to survive. Assuming that I am alone would only lead to being a god. Unless that is my destiny, I cannot make that assumption and must deal with the others out there struggling with me or against me in my will to power.

 
Unless I am destined to be a god, pragmatically empathy is the only option for an existentialist to create a system of social normative principles. If I am destined to be my own god, justice is the choice to make to enable and to enforce my will to power. Justice consists of the desire to sit in judgment of others’ will to power; determine how it is interfering with my will to power; and then to force them to conform their will to my will to power. If I am powerful enough, I can do this on my own. In the modern technological society, such justice requires the joint effort of an Orwellian Inner and Outer Party working together. Justice does not care about the ultimate struggle between the individual and the universe. Its concerns are only with the present. That is why no system of justice has ever been nor will it ever be on the right side of history.

 
Empathy is the ability to understand the nature of the struggle with the universe; the others’ struggle within that ultimate struggle; and to force myself to limit my will to power to the minimum necessary so that I and the others’ struggle will not hinder either of us in our ultimate struggle with the indifference of the universe. Unlike justice that inherently wants and creates the power to enforce its will to power, empathy is a matter of luck. Just as the existentialist struggle to give meaning to the universe is a solitary struggle, empathy is a solitary struggle.

 
The substantive question for an existentialist who wants to be an intentionally and knowing actor in the stage of social change is: can systems of empathy be created to replace systems of justice? There are significant generalities and details to be worked out in any such replacement. First of all, the concept of justice as a virtue must be eliminated; it must be seen as a meaningless concept in technological society. In terms of general principles, such a result is difficult enough to achieve for Christian communities that in substance are the only modern technological communities who expect justice only in another life and accept love and mercy as the only obtainable virtues in this life. However, for all practical purposes, it is impossible to achieve for fake religions such as Islam and for Old Testament religions such as Judaism in which justice is seen as a virtue achievable on earth. In terms of details, a system of empathy would require judges who are appointed as “judges” based on pragmatic merit as existentialists and their intelligence and empathetic abilities; who are appointed only for limited terms so that they are not corrupted by power; and are greatly limited their power to act affirmatively on anything. This is impossible in all modern technological societies in which judges are secular religious appointed to be fanatically loyal to the justice called “rule of law” and the delusions associated with such secular religion.

THE ‘RULE OF LAW’ DELUSION

Maintaining the “rule of law” is always pontificated by  the powerful as a necessary good of both Western and Eastern Civilization as a means to protect the weak from the powerful, and “rule of law” is almost always used by the powerful interchangeably with “system of justice”. Historically, there is no reason for such pontificating nor with such synonymous use of these terms. What should be pontificated upon is the “rule of power” and the means to control it — including controlling the power of the law. The rule of law is only concerned with maintaining a given social status quo. It is the rule of power that changes the status of quo. In terms of pragmatics, a “system of injustice” is as much a rule of law as a system of justice, in practice they are the same: justice and injustice are two sides of the same coin and both necessarily serve to maintain the powerful few in power over the many. Rather than protecting the weak from the strong, the rule of law and its social system of norms called “justice” serve to protect the few strong from the many weak who in combination, if allowed, would overcome and kill the few in power resulting in chaos, anarchy, and the creation of a new powers-that-be. This is the nature of reality that is accepted by the rule of power but not by the delusional rule of law called justice.

 
Philosophers of law are always crying about the horrendous state of existence in which humanity would be absence “the rule of law” consisting of constant random and arbitrary violence absence  — that is if humanity were still ruled by the law of the jungle in which the strongest rule by force over the weakest. They seem to ignore that the law of the jungle is as much a rule of law as their version of it in which the law holds a monopoly on violence. Without doubt, historically, the primitive state of humanity was and would be a violent one in the absence of an organized system of so-called justice to control personal vendetta and retribution for all actual or perceived injustices among humans. The recent book “War in Human Civilization” by Azar Gat accurately delineates how Thomas Hobbes’ view of the primitive state of humanity was much more accurate than the Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s view of it. Of course this crying comes from philosophers of law — including Hobbes and Rousseau — who are all either members of the ruling class of their society or its house servants. What these house servants ignore or fail to state is that a system of injustice working as a rule of law will serve the same purpose. The inmates of a modern maximum security prison in the United States live in society maintained by the rule of law in which random and arbitrary violence is more absent than in any rule of law community outside of prison. The same could be said of the rule of law in North Korea or in any efficiently operated military dictatorship — or even of the military. Any efficiently run rule of law will eliminate the constant random and arbitrary violence of our primitive state: either a system of justice or injustice. No honest review of history or the workings of social struggles would support a view that “the rule of law” is intended to defend the weak from the strong, but rather the intent is to protect the few strong from the many weak whose power in a conglomeration would be greater than those few.

 
Anyone not among nor working for the powers-that-be who contemplates the reality of social interactions between the strong and the weak whether in a primitive state or in any state would realize that the individual who wants to live and survive in life wants power, wants to be strong, and will grab power over the weak when given the chance. I am not saying this as if it were an evil, it is the reality of life. Even if a group of humans loves each other, cooperate, and get along in peace as most seem to preach they want, nature will not cooperate with this goal. Eventually there will occur a natural occurrence such as disease, famine, cold, heat, flooding, or some other “Act of God” that will force a peaceful community of humans into a battle against nature to survive. In this battle, the strong will survive, the weak will not. By ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ I am not referring to physically strong or weak nor any popular conception of evolution — which has nothing to do with the scientific concept of evolution operating essentially as a statistical spreadsheet for sense experience of those who survive and those who do not. Who are the strong and the weak in any given situation is dependent on the situation. The defining characteristics of those who will survive in any given struggle for power over nature will be those with the strongest will to power over it and all parts of it, including their fellow and sister humans, plus being lucky. Sometimes this will to power will be physical, other times mental, others social, and so forth, depending on the nature of the struggle for power.

 
Living in a modern technological society, we have lost sight of the misery and struggle over nature by our ancestors that has gotten us here and that is hidden by technology though the struggle against nature is the motivating force of all life, human or not. The individual is faced with a few existential truths about life that must be accepted to live: “I exist”; “there is something out there that is not I”; and “I need power over that something to live.” If anyone reading this wants to contemplate this reality, I suggest Sand Pebbles Podcast.

 
When these individual existential realities become social, we have social classes and class struggles that also are not evils: they are a necessary part of reality. There is no basis in reality to hope for a Marxist end to social classes and class struggle: they are the substance and essence of reality. For some reason, God hates the poor and weak and wants to keep them poor and weak. The poor and weak must struggle to overcome this reality; they can only do so when they unite enough to overcome it; but despite any material progress they are doomed to fall back into being the poor and weak. This is the rule of power. If anyone reading this wants to contemplate this reality, again I suggest Sand Pebbles Podcast and Between World and Us. As summarized by George Orwell in is book 1984:

Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way or the other.

 

This is the reality accepted by the rule of power. This is the reality ignored by the delusion, a delusion perhaps intentionally created, of the rule of law. The law is just another means by those in power to stay in power. Slavery, forced colonialism, forced imperialism, apartheid, and all evils of which those worshiping the rule of law complain were all legal in their day. It is delusional to maintain that the evil powers of the rule of law can or must be corrected not by simply removing the evil powers but by giving the rule of law new and different powers that will eventually become just as evil as those powers eliminated. The power of the rule of law will on its own try to expand and magnify and will expand and magnify as needed to keep the powers-that-be in power. To maintain and grow as a civilization, non-lawyers, honorable lawyers not part of the law’s 1984 Outer Party, and those not part of any given system of justice/injustice must acknowledge and be guided by the rule of power to fight and minimize as much as possible the law’s expansion and magnification in any form: Jim Crow laws are as evil as civil rights laws; legally enforced integration is as bad as legally enforced segregation; and so forth. Social bonding; communities of cooperative individuals; and creating empathetic communities of diverse individuals but not communities of different colors, races, and sexes who think and act the same and hate all who think differently require the absence of the rule of law as a secular religion not its presence. From the Roman plebes to the present working classes, it is only their knowledge of the rule of power and their acting upon it that creates civilization.

AN EXISTENTIALIST THEORY OF JUSTICE

Existentialist thought as a philosophy has primarily served substantively and practically as a personal philosophy dealing with the meaninglessness of life and the moral decision of suicide. When it tries to deal with social or ethical concepts beyond the needs of an individual, it becomes primarily a means for French dudes to get laid and makes little sense either in theory or in practice. Such result is predictable given its premises and conclusions that all is meaningless and that all social and ethical concepts are equal in the end. Don Juan, the Actor, and the Conqueror are all equally moral individuals when all is meaningless. However, I do not believe that this is a necessary result of Existentialist thought. This is the necessary result and truth when one faces the choice of suicide, however, once one has made the choice to live and to reject suicide, this choice makes possible an Existentialist theory of social ethics or justice that must be systematically studied. It is not necessarily true that Existentialist thought must accept the Conqueror whose strength is his will to conquer as morally or ethically equal to those whose strength is their will not to conquer. An Existentialist theory of Justice is possible.

Once one chooses to live, the second unavoidable realization after ‘I think therefore I am’ is that ‘I think therefore I need power to continue thinking.’ Living requires power. Though life may be gifted to us at conception without our choice, one who wants to live must get the power to continue staying alive from the moment the choice to continue living is made. The individual born rich or an ascetic surviving on small needs may not need to acquire further or much power to live but regardless of how little power one needs to acquire, living does not occur naturally. If we let Nature or Natural Law have its way, both the individual and any society of individuals would die of ‘natural causes’ quickly and most likely painfully and miserably. I refer to this need as ‘power’ or in the classical sense the ‘Will to Power’ because such choice of words best describes the various forms of work and effort in which human life engages in order to survive. This is true of all life. Animals and plants spend their whole existence hunting each other as food to get the power to live. The human need for power in life goes beyond just food: humans want the power to control their lives and thus eventually, once one starts interacting with at least one other individual to form a society, the power to control the lives of other humans (whether real or imagined). Thus, having survived the absurd reality that life is meaningless, the Absurd Man must now face the absurd reality that life is meaningless and unjust. Not only will one never naturally get what one needs to live, survive, and to have some fun and passion in life, but one’s attempts to live, survive, and have some fun will unavoidably be conflicting with and most likely will be threatening to someone else’s attempts and need to do the same.

Furthermore,the need for power and the ability to satisfy the need for power are never in balance. A poor man who is lazy and uneducated and a captive of his vices will most likely always remain poor both materially and in spirit. However, a rich man who is lazy, ignorant, and a captive of his vices will become, with a little bit of luck, a President of the United States and rich in all things. Though hard work may get the poor out from poverty, the cost of such success will be either destroying their spirit by such hard work or the selling of their spirit to the needs of the rich. Either way the poor have lost and sold themselves to those rich in power. The only way a poor man can keep his virtues is to remain poor and surrender hope for a better material life. In short, there is no justice in life; this is not a contingent fact but a necessary fact of life. As the Good Book says,the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that is the way to bet.

As with suicide, in standard Existentialism there are two ways for the Absurd Man to respond.

One can respond with the ‘Leap of Faith’ prescribed by the first Existentialist, Soren Kierkegaard: if there is no justice in this life, believe there is justice in the next. Secular existentialists are too quick to reject this option and such quickness shows an irrational bias and prejudice that should not be present in a philosopher. Religion has faced and dealt with the injustice of life for millennia; there is no justification to reject such experienced thought outright without at least understanding or at least trying to understand its complexities and subtleties. The Christian answer is very brilliant, powerful, and has served the Western World successfully and pragmatically for two thousand years now and is best summarized in the Parable of the Workers’ in the Vineyard. This simple yet intense and profound parable dismisses injustice in life because love exists between God and Man. It in no way attempts to hide the true nature of God as the ultimate Power that can do as It pleases with nature and the humans It created. It shows ‘justice’ to be a human concept; an all-powerful Being who created nature can do whatever It wants with it. Trying to attach the term unjust to such a Being as God that in essence defines the Natural Order or Divine Order of existence is meaningless and exhibits only the arrogance and stupidity of humanity.

God is defined as the reason there is something instead of nothing. Christianity offers us union with such power through God’s manifesting itself by becoming human in the Person of Jesus Christ. This is quite an amazing conceptual structure and thought. It turns the arbitrary power of God from being the source of injustice into the negation of the concept. The reward for such a Leap is incredible and it is very tempting to jump if one views it objectively. If faced with a beautiful woman who may be a bitch, a man is still very attracted to her and wants to fornicate with her as long as her beauty lasts regardless of the bitch factor. With God, you know the beauty will never fade and the union will always be  great, so why not put up with the bitch factor especially when by doing so you are essentially becoming One with all of nature and humanity and thus ending all the conflict that is the source of injustice? Christianity has even developed the concept of the Holy Spirit to act essentially as a marriage counselor between God as a Man and God as the supreme Deity the Father.

Of course, the Absurd Man would protest that such a critique misses the point: accepting injustice as answer to the question of justice is the same as accepting suicide as the answer to the question of meaningless. This would be a correct critique if one were still debating the issue of meaningless and suicide. Once one accepts life, such a critique is no longer sound nor valid.

The other option is to go the opposite way and reject nature and the God Who created it. By rejecting such, I do not meet substituting it with another god as usually occurs. I mean nihilism and I mean it as a good. The Absurd Man instead of seeking the power to live by constantly seeking power should achieve such power by constantly fighting all others’ seeking of power without heightening the battle for power. We must remember that in this critique we are no longer dealing with morality or with just one individual’s battle with meaningless and suicide; when thinking of social concepts such as justice and ethics, there is always at least one other person out there trying to get or to share in the same power and thus inevitably trying to defeat us or to conflict with us in our Will to Power. Even if we were to reduce ourselves to the bare essentials of life living in a village of two people with all the resources in the world, unless we die of boredom there will come a time of conflict when the other will want to take power from us or power over us. When that moment comes, the options are either to choose to be a conqueror and fight over such power or to run away, in the end these options are the same because neither change the nature of life and the choices are morally equal.

However, I submit that the Absurd Man has a third option: he can spit in the face of destiny and fight not the conqueror but the fact that the conqueror holds such power. He can in defeat spit in his conqueror’s face. In the latter situation, the Conqueror, Don Juan, and the Actor are not equals. The first cannot but relish, seek, and enjoy power over others. Though the latter also enjoy such power, their enjoyment does not necessarily come from taking power away from others but in multiplying, magnifying, and sharing it. Of course, the latter’s means to power will in the end be defeated by a new or another conqueror just as in the end God will defeat all of us, but that is not the point. Having chosen life, the Absurd Man to exist as a social being must choose the path to power that is unnatural with the same passion that he chooses life. When finally beaten by the bitch factor in a beautiful woman, the Absurd Man will see it and recognize it and reject the whole beauty as unjust. In doing so, though one passion is being lost, a greater passion is gained by the knowledge that one has at least for the moment beaten the unjust nature of life. In this situation for example, the Don Juan who continues to seek dominating power over his woman is no longer ethically equal to the Actor but ethically worse because he does accept and uses the other as a source of power for him. This type of analysis can continue with the Actor and with all others.  I submit it is this power analysis that can be used to discern just and good individuals and acts from unjust and evil individuals and acts in an Existentialist world and in any supposed system of justice and law in it.

Obviously, there is a need to work out the details of such an Existentialist theory of Justice; however, it must first be recognized that such is possible.

THE REFUGEE by Philson Ong

I sit at a bench in the park. The sun is setting, staining the sky with beautiful red and gold. It is autumn and the leaves fall to the ground at the slightest wind. They are as colorful as the sky. I sit there admiring the view. Then I notice him. An aged man walks in my direction. He wears a black silk-lined coat and has black hair. He carries an ebony case, but his most distinguished feature is his eyes. They are the blackest I have ever seen, yet as dark as they are, they seem to have a glow about them. I think he is a European refugee, very wealthy, having to escape his country from conflict. The refugee sits next to me and views the sunset.

The silence is broken by him. In a deep, slightly accented voice he says, “I like music.”
Slightly startled by this question, I regain my composure and respond, “What kind?”
“This.” He waves his hands and cane indicating the scenery.
Finally I ask him, “You’re not from the US are you?”
“No, I am a displaced person.”
“I am sorry. Would you like to tell me about it?”
“I would be wasting your time.”
“Not at all, I have nowhere to be.”

With a sigh he begins to tell his story. “These days it is a familiar story. A leader so blinded by his own glory that he can no longer see his blunders. He developed delusions of greatness and posed as the final judge over everything from birth to death and therefore created seeds of his own destruction. It was inevitable under the circumstances.” Rage boils inside me. No man should have that much power. I see his views so vividly; I would have gladly fought this man, were I in his country. “The revolt didn’t succeed?” “No, it proved too weak, too early. It was crushed. Then came the purge. Nearly all of us died. I organized that opposition. I still think it was justified but I dare not go back.”

I try to comfort him. “You are in a free country now. You can call the president anything you want and nothing will happen.” He continues, “I am not welcome here either. No man can truly be free unless he is beyond his enemy’s reach. When one’s foe gains control of every channel of propaganda, uses them exclusively to present his case and suppress the mind and damns the truth as if it were lies, there is no hope for me.”

The sun has set and the moon is full. It shines in such a way as if it were focusing on him. He stands up and he seems enormous, almost as towering as the trees from my sitting position. He seems not of the world as the moon lights his face. He walks away, his coat in the night breeze resembling billowing wings. As he walks away, I ask his name.

He turns back and looks deep in my eyes, “my name,” he says softly, “is Lucifer.” He disappears into the darkness.