PM5101: Concerning Ethics

Ethics is the study of what is right and wrong, good and evil, of one one ought to do and what one ought refrain from doing. Much ethics is derived from religion, although some have also attempted to found ethical systems on a non-religious basis.

Ethics in general

Divisions of ethics

As a branch of philosophy, ethics has three main subdivisions:

  • meta-ethics asks questions such as: what do ethical statements mean? in what ways are they the same as, and in what way do they differ from, non-ethical statements? do ethical statements have objective truth, or are they merely subjective expressions of opinion or emotion? are ethical statements ultimately reducible to non-ethical statements? how can we know what is ethical and what is not?
  • normative ethics asks what are the basic principles of right or wrong: is morality fundamentally about the consequences of our actions, the inherent nature of the acts we perform, or our character as actors?
  • applied ethics seeks to apply ethical principles to concrete social issues, such as abortion, euthanasia, human sexuality, animal welfare, the environment, poverty, etc. Applied ethics inevitably depends on the positions one adopts in the areas of normative ethics and meta-ethics

Meta-ethics

Some of the major positions in meta-ethics include:

  • moral subjectivism rejects the idea that ethical statements are objectively true or false. The most basic version is naive subjectivism, in which 'good' is defined as 'what I approve of'. More advanced versions, such as emotivism, do not see that as a proper definition of good as such, but nonetheless see ethical language as having the sole function of expressing one's own feelings about issues, and encouraging similar feelings in others
  • moral naturalism believes ethical properties can be identified with non-ethical properties. For example, the word 'good' might be defined as 'whatever causes the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people'. Precisely how a moral naturalist defines good will depend on which particular theory of normative ethics they adopt.
  • moral non-naturalists deny that ethical properties can be identified with non-ethical properties. Although it may well be true that whatever causes the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people is good, that itself cannot be a definition of good. G.E. Moore is the most well-known advocate for this position - he believed that, since "Is whatever causes the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people always good?" appears to be a valid question, that cannot be a simple definition of what good is, even if the answer is 'Yes'. He compared it with questions such as 'Are all bachelors unmarried?' and 'Are all the barbers in the village bald?'. Although the answer in both cases could be 'Yes', clearly in the first case the answer has to be 'Yes', whereas in the second case it doesn't have to be, even if it actually is. He saw questions about morals as being like the second rather than the first question ("open" rather than "closed" questions), and hence he concluded the property of being good could never be simply defined. This argument of his is known as the open question argument. He saw 'good' as being like 'yellow' - we cannot give a precise definition of it, but we can indicate what it is by giving examples.
  • moral sense theory believes that all human beings have an inner sense, like the external senses of vision or hearing, by which one can directly and immediately ascertain the truth or falsehood of moral propositions - although, just as some people have better vision or hearing than others, this sense may be more accurate for some people than for others
  • divine command theory believes that the good is simply whatever God commands; if God had commanded murder instead, then murder would have been good. The problem with this view, is that if 'good' is simply whatever God commands, then to call God himself 'good' is an empty statement (of course God obeys his own commandments). An alternative viewpoint sees 'good' as being part of God's nature, which is unchangeable - God could never command murder, since to do so would violate his own nature

Normative ethics

Some of the major positions in normative ethics include:

  • consequentialism, which calls an act good if it produces good consequences. The most famous version is utilitarianism, which believes that the good is whatever leads to the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Some versions of utilitarianism are purely hedonistic, seeking whatever will cause the most pleasure; others are more discerning, as exemplified by J.S. Mill's famous words "Better to be Socrates dissatisified, than a pig satisified". Preference utilitarianism seeks to fulfill as many people's desires as possible. Act utilitarianism judges each act individually for whether it has the best consequences; rule utilitarianism seeks to establish rules of general application in order to maximise the consequences overall, and then judge individual acts for conformance to those rules, even if in some individual circumstances the results are worse for obeying the rule than they would have been had the rule been violated
  • deontology believes that certain acts are wrong in themselves, regardless of how much good it may result. This is particularly associated with Catholic and pro-life thinkers - certain acts, such as taking innocent human life, are wrong, irrespective of how good the consequences might be. This also describes the viewpoint of many Libertarians, followers of Ayn Rand, anarcho-capitalists, etc. - they see violating private property rights as always wrong, no matter how good for society the consequences might be.
  • virtue ethics focuses, not on our acts, but on our character. It analyses character into positive traits (virtues) and negative traits (vices). A person with a good character will inevitably do good acts; a person with a bad character will inevitably do bad ones.

Applied ethics

Positions in applied ethics inevitably follow from those one adopts in meta-ethics and normative ethics. For example, if someone believes that 'good' is simply an expression of what people like or dislike, their positions on issues such as abortion will inevitably reflect their own personal feelings. Whereas, if they believe that 'good' means obedience to divine commands, they will seek to discover what are God's commands before answering this question.

Similarly, if someone is a utilitarian, their ethical judgements will be driven by whatever they think causes the most pleasure or happiness for the most people. They may well conclude that sexual freedom causes the most pleasure or happiness, and thus adopt liberty as their basic sexual ethic. Whereas, if someone is a deontologist, they may hold that certain sexual acts are wrong, regardless of how much happiness or pleasure results, and thus adopt a sexual ethic which rejects those acts unconditionally.

Applied ethics is an enormously broad field. The following is a necessarily incomplete list of some of the issues it seeks to address:

  • human sexuality - what is the moral status of homosexuality? pre-marital or extra-marital relations? polygamy? pornography? contraception? etc. - see sexual ethics
  • family issues - what is the best way to raise children? what is the proper role of parents v.s. the state or the wider community? to what extent do children have rights opposed to their parents?
  • life issues - is abortion permissible? what about euthanasia?
  • issues around biotechnology - genetic engineering, cloning, stem cells, IVF, artifical insemination & surrogacy
  • social issues - what are our obligations in the face of poverty or inequality? should these obligations be fulfilled primarily by private charity or by the government? do we have ethical obligations in the area of workers rights? what is the most ethical economic system? what about private property, taxation or slavery?
  • criminal justice issues - is capital or corporal punishment permissible? torture? should crime be punished, and if so how? what are the rights of the accused or convicted, and how to balance them with the rights of victims or society?
  • environmental issues - what are our ethical obligations to the environment? how do we balance those obligations against the needs of economic development?
  • animal welfare and animal rights - is it moral to kill animals for food or clothing? to kill or injure them for scientific research?
  • racial equality issues - what are our ethical obligations with respect to racial inequality? what is more important - freedom of speech, or preventing the spread of racial hatred?
  • gender issues - gender equality, gender roles, transsexualism
  • does ethics demand a particular political system (such as democracy?) when is government interference in personal freedom morally permissible, and when is it morally prohibited?
  • ethics of warfare - when is war morally permissible? are particular weapons or tactics (such as use of nuclear weapons) moral? see just war theory

With some of the above issues - in particular questions of what is the most ethical system of government, law or economics - applied ethics overlaps with political philosophy.

 Descriptive ethics

Descriptive ethics does not seek to pronounce on what is right or wrong, merely to describe what people think is right or wrong, and to investigate how ethical beliefs vary across time and space. As such, unlike the rest of ethics, it belongs not so much to philosophy, but rather to anthropology, sociology, history, etc.

Ethics in Maratreanism

Overview

The fundamental principles of Maratrean ethics are as follows, as expressed by the life and teachings of the most holy Prophet Travancus, as recorded in the Maratrean scriptures. The holy Travancus expounded that at the base of all truly divine law lies two fundamental principles: Now one came unto the most holy Prophet Travancus, and inquired of him as follows: Tell me, what say you be the greatest of all the commandments of divine law? And Travancus replied unto him as follows: First, love with your utmost capacity she whose love for you far exceeds your own capacity to return her love; in loving her, and realising that all others are one with her, and you are one with her, you must love as her yourself and all others. And, second, serve the good, which service is her Cause, and lead the many to it, yet be not harsh against those who have not reached this goal, for it is by her will that they have as yet not reached it, and great are the beauties which are purchased by their tardiness, beauties in which you must believe though you not see them. These are the two great principles of divine law, from which all truly divine law follows. And they asked, how are all one with her? And he replied, She is not other than you, for She was once you and shall be you once more; and you are not other than her, for you were once her and shall be her once more; and she is not other than all, for she was once all and shall be all once more, and all were once her and shall be her once more; and thus neither are you other than all, for all were once you and shall be you once more, and you were once all and shall be you once more - from one single soul at the beginning-end of time, every soul ever existing dividing and in the end returning to which once more; thus everyone is a past and future self of everyone else, and thus all are the same as all

Maratrea loves herself with a perfect self-love, a love of such greatness that none other can equal or approach it; yet, with this love she loves not only herself, but all her children, for her children are not other than her. And she shows her love for us through the favour of being, the favour of blessing, and the favour of the cause; and through her promises.

Unlike some other worldviews which see ethics as subjective, as incapable of being objectively true or false, but merely expressions of personal preference or cultural prejudice, Maratreanism believes in the existence of objective moral standards, based in Maratrea's nature as perfectly good, which she has revealed through her true Prophets and true Scriptures, and also written into the hearts of those who truly love the truly good and truly beautiful - and indeed this same love is present in the hearts of all, even though in some it be greatly obscured.

Travancus summarised Maratrean morality as being based on these chief principles:

  • love with your utmost capacity she whose love for you far exceeds your own capacity to return her love
  • in loving her, and realising that all others are one with her, and you are one with her, you must love as her yourself and all others
  • serve the good, which service is her Cause, and lead the many to it
  • yet be not harsh against those who have not reached this goal, for it is by her will that they have as yet not reached it, and great are the beauties which are purchased by their tardiness, beauties in which you must believe though you not see them

We can see here the two great principles, each of which has two chief parts, producing in some other enumerations four principles in total.

Maratreanism believes that the realization of the fundamental identification of self with other implies treating self as other, or in other words the Golden Rule of Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. However, the as you would have them done unto you of this Golden Rule must be taken as referring to what one's best self would have them do unto you, not what any desire for self-destruction would have them do unto you.

Maratrean morality sees human life as following a divine plan, which has two phases - in the first phase, obstacles are placed in the path of the union of souls, that there be time enough for being; and from the particularity of what is, follows the particularity of being and the particularity of love for being, and amidst this blessing. In the second phase, the process of the union of souls is begun and lead through to its completion. Deviation from the divine plan in areas such as human sexuality is wrong; however, unlike some other religions, Maratreanism does not see the divine plan as being exclusively (or even primarily) heterosexual.

Maratrean meta-ethics

Maratrean meta-ethics are objective, rather than subjective. Maratreanism believes in objective axiology - in the objective correctness of certain theories of evaluation, certain systems of duties or oughtness.

Axiology has the following subdivisions:

  • aesthetics - this is concerned with what is beautiful, and what what one ought to do maximize beauty, and that one ought to maximize beauty
  • ethics - this is concerned with what is good, and what one ought to do to maximize goodness, and that one ought to maximize goodness
  • rationality - this is concerned with what it is rational to believe, and what one ought to believe to maximize rationality, and that one ought to maximize rationality. (Rationality cannot simply be identified with truth; at times there will be falsehoods which are rational to belief, and truths which are irrational to believe - it is rational to believe a falsehood if one believes it for rational reasons; it is irrational to believe a truth if one believes it for irrational reasons.)

Each is a system of rules which evaluate situations positively or negatively, a system of obligations, of acts which should be performed and of acts which should not be performed. The three are all equal in objectivity to each other, and equal in objectivity to statements of fact (fact from Latin factum, deed). The three stand or fall together; either they are all objective, or none of them are; and axiology and fact stand and fall together also, being either both objective, or neither of them being objective.

Many people want to separate rationality from ethics; yet they are mistaken. For while ethics judges acts positively or negatively, and commands or prohibits them, rationality judges beliefs positively or negatively, and commands and prohibits them. And what are beliefs? A belief is a disposition to act, a disposition to assert a proposition, internally (by thought) and externally (by speech, writing, and other means of communication); and a disposition to act as if the proposition were true. As beliefs are dispositions to act, they are as subject to ethics as any other disposition to act.

We should see these three-fold subdivision of axiology, in aesthetics, ethics, and rationality, as an imperfect subdivision; ultimately, these three form one organic whole, and the boundaries between them cannot always be defined.

Maratreanism teaches that ethical properties are non-natural, rather than ethical properties; axiological properties cannot be identified with non-axiological (factual) properties, or simply defined in terms of them.

Maratreanism teaches that all human beings have an internal axiological sense, an axiological intuition, by which they can perceive the truth or falsehood of axiological propositions. This sense is not perfect, and different people may possess this sense in differing degrees, which explains differences of moral and other opinion. But, it is possible to develop this faculty to a greater degree, which will bring one closer to axiological truth.

Maratreans believe that Maratrea, being perfectly good, perfectly beautiful and perfectly rational, possess axiological perfection. Her will also is perfect; but axiological propositions cannot be simplistically identified with her will (as divine command theory would suggest); rather, they reflect her perfect nature, with which her own will complies, her perfect nature which could not be other than it is.

Maratrean normative ethics

In Maratrean ethics, it is important to consider:

  • the inherent nature of an act
  • the consequences of the act
  • the motivations, intentions, disposition, attitudes or character which tends to produce such acts

Unlike some ethical theories, which wish to take one of these factors and make it the most important, Maratreanism sees all three as equally important.

Maratreanism teaches that we ought to always try to do what is best in each unique situation; at the same time, we need some rules of general application: for we lack the mental capacity to consider every situation from first principles, and the unique features of each situation may not always be known to us. At the same time, any such rules so adopted must be open to review and revision as necessary.

Maratreanism teaches that we should seek to maximize everyone's happiness, and the fulfillment of everyone's preferences; at the same time, it believes that some forms of happiness are to be preferred to others (as J. S. Mill said, "better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied"), and that we should seek to fulfill the preferences of everyone's true self (their true will), the preferences they would adopt for themselves in the best situation, rather than false preferences of some false self.

Maratrean applied ethics

Maratrean sexual ethics

See Sexual ethics—in Maratreanism

Quick summary: The fundamental purpose of human sexuality is to foretell and remember and prepare for the union of souls; Maratreanism bases its entire sexual ethic on this basis. It has no objection to homosexuality or consensual multi-partner relations, since they both contribute to the union of souls. It rejects rape and other forms of non-consensual sexuality, since they contradict the principle that the union of souls is undertaken voluntary: souls will merge only when they will to do so, they are not forced into merger against their will.[1] Unlike some religions which see the fundamental purpose of sexuality being reproduction, Maratreanism actually sees reproduction as a distraction from the real nature of sexuality - something ordained to lead souls astray, but only for a time, to provide time enough for the worlds to be. Thus, Maratreanism has no objection to contraception or to non-reproductive forms of sexuality. Celibacy is seen as something wrongful, as denying the fundamental spiritual purpose of sexuality in preparing souls for unity - although it cannot object to celibacy when it is involuntary, or when it is voluntary chosen for a limited period. Incest is prohibited for it signifies a return to origin before the proper time, leaving not time enough for the worlds to have their being. Bestiality is prohibited because it confuses the distraction of animal sexuality (purely reproductive or pleasurable) with the deeper purposes of which only human sexuality is capable. Commercial trade in sexuality - such as prostitution or commercial pornography - is opposed for reducing to commerce something far nobler than anything commercial, and for engaging in capitalism in an area in which capitalism must be most strongly opposed. There is nothing wrong with masturbation in general, although it could be wrong in certain particular cases.

Maratrean views on the family

What is the best way to raise children? What is the proper role of parents v.s. the state or the wider community? To what extent do children have rights opposed to their parents?

Maratreans support rights for young people; at the same time, people with non-mainstream views should be free to raise their children in accordance with their own viewpoint, so long as they don't abuse or neglect them.
If you take away people's right to pass on their own ideas to their children, then you are at the gates of tyranny. Instead of many parents, with many different views, passing on those different views to their children - and thus maintaining a variety of viewpoints into the next generation - a single uniform viewpoint will be imposed by the state on all children, resulting in a reduction in intellectual diversity, and ultimately a reduction in intellectual freedom.
Many "social workers" and "child protection agencies" are out of control, victimizing many parents and children with their tyranny. Children should only be removed from their parents based on significant evidence of serious harm, not just the say-so of social workers.
It is not a function of the state to ensure perfect parenting; only to intervene in cases of seriously bad parenting. Parents with flaws or problems are not to have their children removed - even if that is arguably causing some harm to their children - but only when the level of harm to the children rises from a moderate to a significant level.
Children have the right to be free of abuse (physical, sexual or emotional) and neglect from their parents. We are completely opposed to all forms of corporal punishment for children, believing them all to constitute abuse.
Adolescents have the right to make their own decisions. Where there is a breakdown in the parent-child relationship, adolescents should have access to alternative living arrangements.
Adolescents are not children, and it is insulting to refer to them as such.
The age of majority, at 18, is too high, and should be lowered. Furthermore, we should move away from the idea of a single uniform age of majority, but rather acknowledge that different people mature at different rates, and so we need to make case-by-case decisions rather than using a single uniform age.
Young people need to be protected from sexual abuse or exploitation at the hands of older people; but again, rather than a system of prohibitions based on fixed ages, there needs to be an evaluation of the circumstances of each individual case.
Young people have the right to sexuality with others of their own age, and so the criminalization of sexual relations between adolescents of the same or similar age is immoral.

Maratrean views on life issues

Is abortion permissible? What about euthanasia?

Maratreanism accepts abortion, on the grounds that in most cases where abortion occurs the foetus does not have a soul - for a foetus to gain a soul, its mother must want it; an unwanted foetus is thus unlikely to gain a soul. Maratreanism accepts euthanasia - to cling to life no matter what is not compatible with belief in a better life coming after death.

Maratrean views on biotechnology

genetic modification, cloning, stem cells, IVF, artifical insemination & surrogacy

Maratreanism has no objection to the use of new technologies in creating and preserving human life - including genetic engineering, cloning, stem cells, IVF, artificial insemination, surrogacy, etc. From many conservative religious perspectives, God created human sexuality as the proper means of reproduction, so to deviate from that means of reproduction is to interfere with God's plan. But from a Maratrean perspective, the ultimate purpose of human sexuality is not reproduction at all - it is to foretell the future union of souls. Maratrea intentionally associated sexuality with reproduction, not to lead us to truth and goodness, but to lead us away from them; but not forever, for even as she leads us astray, she ensures we will eventual find our way back to the right path - but she leads us astray for a time that the many worlds have time enough for being. Hence, the increasing development of non-natural and non-sexual methods of reproduction is a sign of the end - but not a negative sign, of things getting worse as we near the end - but a positive sign, of things getting better as we near the end of all things.

Maratreanism sees no inherent objection to practices such as sex selection.

Maratrean views on social justice

what are our obligations in the face of poverty or inequality? should these obligations be fulfilled primarily by private charity or by the government? do we have ethical obligations in the area of workers rights? what is the most ethical economic system? what about private property, taxation or slavery?

  1. Poverty is created by Maratrea - some must lack so that others may gain - but whatever anyone lacks herenow so that another may gain, elsewhere and elsewhen they shall gain what they now lack. Thus, the poor in one universe are rich in another.
  2. Poverty is among the evils she has created, not among the goods. The goods she has created are good-in-themselves the evils are good only as means to something good in themselves.
  3. She wills that in the earlier days evils predominate, until in later days they shrink until total defeat. We are at the beginning of the later days.
  4. Thus, the holy Cause is dedicated to reduce poverty as part of its divine mission.
  5. Maratreanism believes in treating the root causes of poverty, rather than focusing on the symptoms.
  6. The number one cause of poverty is a lack of the truth that Maratreanism supplies. We can help others to help themselves.
  7. Those who would give up all the good things in life, to fight poverty, thereby blaspheme the good and the beautiful. By living only for others, and never for themselves, they refuse the very thing which can make any life (their own or others) valuable. They may well help many others, but their false motivations in doing so cancel out any good they might achieve. They spread physical goods, but in doing so spread mental evils.
  8. Maratreanism accepts a role for both the government and for private charity in helping the needful. In a Maratrean state, there is no Maratrean charity separate from the assistance of the government; but there may still be private non-Maratrean charities
  9. Maratreanism supports the right of workers, including the right to form unions, the right to workplace democracy, and the right for any workplace disputes to be held by an independent tribunal. In the context of the Maratrean economic establishment, these rights are implemented through the guilds and through guild and employee representation on enterprise boards.
  10. Maratreanism is opposed to the extremes of capitalism, and believes that the Maratrean economic establishment represents a better economic system than either capitalism or state socialism
  11. Maratreanism supports the right to private property; at the same time, that right is not absolute, but subject to just limitation for the common good
  12. Maratreanism acknowledges the right of the governing authorities to charge reasonable taxation, for the furtherance of the public good and economic equity
  13. Maratreanism totally opposes slavery, and anyone who teaches the permissibility slavery is a false prophet. The sections of the Bible which permit slavery were without doubt written by false prophets.

Maratrean views on crime

is capital or corporal punishment permissible? torture? should crime be punished, and if so how? what are the rights of the accused or convicted, and how to balance them with the rights of victims or society?

  1. Maratreanism is totally opposed to all forms of capital punishment. In the Maratrean view, capital punishment is murder, and among the worse forms of murder possible. Although many murder, few do so under the colour of state - but capital punishment, is a murder under colour of state, and thus more heinous than murders not under the colour of state. Even when the state engages in summary executions or covert assasinations, the fact that it does not in doing so resort to a judicial punishment is a sign of its shame at its own wrongful acts; whereas, when the state associates its murderousness with a pseudo-judicial process - for no truly process which was truly judicial could ever justify murder - its murder is far worse, since it is doing it under a colour of justice, albeit justice falsely so-called - the false justice of the earth, which usurps the true and perfect justice that can be found only in heaven. Most murderers, though they murder, do not claim before the whole world that what they are doing is right; but these murderers claim before the whole world that what they are doing is right - thus they are among the worse of all murderers.
  2. Likewise, Maratreanism is totally opposed to all forms of corporal punishment and torture.
  3. Maratreanism opposes punishment and justice. True and perfect justice can only be found in heaven; only heaven has the only the only truly and perfectly fair and commensurate and condign punishment (although, those who truly comprehend its nature will not consider it punishment, for they perceive the irony of seeing it as such); and the only perfect and completely commensurate compensation is that of heaven. They say, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. But one eye cannot be for another eye, nor one tooth for another tooth, which is the best the earth can do; but heaven, can for one eye give the very same eye, and for one tooth give the very same tooth - a perfectly condign punishment.
  4. However, although Maratreanism opposes punishing wrongdoers upon the earth, it supports restricting them - that is, opposing on them restrictions to ensure the protection of others. But these restrictions are subject to certain conditions:
    • They cannot be for a definite period - a restriction is only justified as long as it is necessary. We cannot say beforehand how long it can be necessary for, so a sentence of X years is impermissible
    • The jury system is impermissible, since juries are not required to give reasons for their judgement (nor can their reasons be inquired into). Those who judge without giving reasons are not acting morally, for their reasons cannot be challenged (only guessed at), and hence cannot be sufficient reasons to justify the imposition of restrictions. A verdict rendered by a jury is never acceptable to justify restriction
    • Equally, compulsory jury service is impermissible - to stand in judgement over another, imposing restriction or considering whether to exercise a power to do so, is a weighty moral burden; to seek to impose that burden on another without their full and free voluntary consent is immoral, both with regard to the other one is imposing upon, and also in terms of devaluing the weightiness of that burden - if one did not freely choose that burden for one's self, one cannot pursue it with the necessary seriousness
    • Legal immunity for judges, prosecutors, etc. - those who sit in judgement cannot be held immune from judgement when they judge wrongly; otherwise, their judgement is a judgement of hypocrisy, a judgement without moral value, a grave wrongdoing itself
    • The decision to restrict them must be reviewed ab initio/de novo on a regular basis. There can be no deference to prior or lower judgements, no abuse of discretion standard (there is no discretion). That said, a new hearing may relying on the record for witnesses, rather than hearing them again, if there is no new line of questioning to be addressed to them.
    • Likewise, the idea that introducing a theory or argument upon appeal or in a later hearing is barred because it was not argued at an earlier hearing or a lower level is to be rejected - every argument is to be given a fair hearing, however untimely its introduction - it may well be that no one thought of it before, or they did not realise its cogency originally
    • There must be full freedom to appeal to the highest level, with no leave to appeal, cert denied or similar. That said, if the highest level is being swamped with cases, it should have the freedom to prioritise those it sees as most important, and not to let dealing with these appeals overwhelm its other duties; but at the same time, if anyone demands an appeal by that level, it must be granted to them in due course. But the agents of the higher and highest levels of appeal should feel free to use gentle dissuasion (but not bribery or coercion) to discourage unnecessary appeals to them.
    • The right to habeas corpus cannot be limited or restricted in any way
    • Those who are reasonably believed to pose a danger to the safety of others, it is permissible to restrict their freedom; but the restriction must be the minimal reasonably necessary for the safety of others, and not any greater; the idea of imposing restrictions for the means of punishment (which is impermissible on earth) must be rejected; where some restriction is necessary, the utmost must be done to mitigate it or compensate for it, even if doing so would cause certain activities to be significantly more expensive than they would be for the average person
    • The proper response of a noble state, and noble authorities, to those who are hurting from the pains of this world, is not to indulge them in delusions of earthly justice, but to lead them to rely for justice solely upon heaven; to understand their present misfortunes as necessary for great beauties, which maybe as yet they cannot perceive, but which shall be revealed to them in due course; and a noble state must do all in its power to reveal this to them
    • Those who would by their speech harm victims by encouraging them to demean themselves to look for compensation upon earth rather than beyond it may have their speech suitably restricted. The restriction must be most severe for those who advocate this in concrete cases; the more abstract the advocation, the more liberty we are to extend to them.
  5. Those who seek to punish crime on earth thereby demonstrate their disbelief in heavenly reward and punishment. However, while it is not permissible to punish wrongdoing on earth, it is permissible to do what is necessary to prevent it - including by restricting the freedom of those who have demonstrated tendencies to commit wrongdoing.

Maratrean views on the environment

environmental issues - what are our ethical obligations to the environment? how do we balance those obligations against the needs of economic development?

Maratrean views on animal rights and welfare

is it moral to kill animals for food or clothing? to kill or injure them for scientific research?

Maratreanism prohibits the killing of any animal, except for:
  1. Self-defence
  2. Obnoxious insects
  3. Hunting, but only permissible when necessary to survival (e.g. if one is lost in the bush, and starving, and has no other sources of food). Hunting in any circumstance is prohibited.
  4. Euthanasia - but only when the animal is sick or in pain - the euthanasia of perfectly healthy dogs and cats by pounds simply because they are unwanted is EVIL. It is a Sacred Animal Holocaust
About the eating of meat - Maratreanism permits the eating of meat of unsacred animals, but not the meat of sacred animals. But non-Maratreans can kill the meat of unsacred animals, and sell them to Maratreans as food, providing certain rules are obeyed.
The eating of sacred animals is prohibited, except in any possible circumstances in which cannibalism is permitted. You are permitted to eat sacred animals if and only if you are permitted to eat humans.
Maratreanism applies the same principles to animal-derived clothing and other substances which it applies to meat. However, milk and wool are permissible, since they do not require killing or injuring the animal to be obtained.

Hunting for recreational purposes is prohibited in the Maratrean religion. It is however permissible in exceptional circumstances, where no other sources of food are available.

Hunting sacred animals is prohibited in all circumstances.

Maratreanism supports legal bans on recreational hunting; in a Maratrean society, recreational hunting would be illegal.

Maratrean views on racial equality

racial equality issues - what are our ethical obligations with respect to racial inequality? what is more important - freedom of speech, or preventing the spread of racial hatred?

Maratreanism is a racially egalatarian religion, believing in the fundamental equality and identity of all races. Everyone, regardless of their race, used to be Maratrea, and will be Maratrea once more; all people of all races used to be everyone else of every other race, and will be so once more. Maratrea created all races, for her pleasure, and for the pleasure of their admixtures.
Maratreanism is anti-nationalist, and thus opposed to all forms of nationalism
Interracial couplings tend to improve the quality of the gene pool, and thus should be encouraged. This is the hybrid vigour known to animal husbandry and horticulture. Improving the quality of the gene pool will advance the Cause.
Freedom of speech is more important than hurt feelings. A sign of rationality is to be willing to argue with anyone, not matter how wrong their ideas are. To refuse to debate with someone because their ideas are wrong, is to put certain ideas beyond debate, and that is ultimately not rational.
Confronted with racism, the rational thing to do is to hear what they have to say, and then refute it, rather than just say so obviously wrong we aren't even going to try. Reasonable refutation is the path of reason; believing some ideas are so wrong that there is no point trying to even answer them is the path of irrationality. Otherwise, others could announce that your own views are so wrong there is no point in trying to even answer them, and you would have lost all rational grounds for complaint by taking the same approach itself to a different issue.
Saying that racist ideas are too ridiculous to warrant refutation ignores how racism spreads - a lot of people, including people you would think of as reasonable and intelligent, have at least tendencies to racist thought. It is just an inherent part of the way the human mind works, the tendency to stereotyping, confirmation bias, looking for patterns that aren't there, need for someone to blame, etc. Now, these people, encountering some seemingly reasonable racist argument, may be inclined to accept its conclusions. If other people can rebut the racist argument, and point out it is not at all reasonable (even if it seems to be to some), then maybe such a person will end up rejecting the argument's conclusions as a result. But if people think it is not worth rebutting, those already inclined to accept its conclusions are more likely to do so. If your aim is to stop the spread of racism, the better approach is to refute the racist's arguments, rather than treating them as beneath response.
Another point - prohibiting racist speech only feeds the persecution complex of racists - If they persecute us for saying it, it must be true. So prohibiting racist speech doesn't actually work to reduce racism, on the contrary it helps to maintain it.

Maratrean views on gender issues

gender equality, gender roles, transsexualism

Maratrean views on political philosophy

does ethics demand a particular political system (such as democracy?) when is government interference in personal freedom morally permissible, and when is it morally prohibited?

Maratrean views on the ethics of warfare

when is war morally permissible? are particular weapons or tactics (such as use of nuclear weapons) moral?

  1. If anyone ever forced soul-merger against the will of one of the souls involved, it would inevitably produce another branch in which they did not so merge; thus only, by fully consensual merger can the original-final unity be reattained.
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