If morality really is about helping others so that ultimately we can feel good about our selves (it is), and if we fancy ourselves to be rational, data-driven beings, then we owe it to ourselves to take a serious, empirical, data-driven look at what works and what does not work to ACTUALLY help others. I mean, at this point we humans have a few thousand years of recorded history available to us. There oughtta be SOME evidence by now as to what helps and what hurts, dontcha think?
This is part two of a two part essay. In the Part One I offered a description of morality. In this part I offer a suggestion as to how we can all be more moral.
Rich and poor, happy and sad, tall and short, fast and slow – practically every aspect of humanity – if measured statistically and then drawn on a graph, would produce a bell curve.
If we could somehow magically flatten the bell curve of rich and poor by redistributing all the money in the world evenly among all the people in the world it would be only a matter of weeks, if not days, until there would be rich people and poor people and the curve would form again. The reason for this is all the other bell curves having to do with innate ability, ambition, and circumstances.
Attempts to improve the lives of people at the low end of the curve by focusing time, money, and effort mostly on them or on redistributive schemes aimed at flattening the curve can have only a marginal and/or temporary impact at best, if at all.
If we truly, honestly, realistically, want to make actual real-world practical improvements to the lives of the less fortunate then the most effective approach we could take would be to look for ways to move the entire curve. A rising tide lifts all boats.
Fortunately for us, the empirical data of human history shows us exactly how to do that.
Philosophically, strategically, tactically, and practically – from the world-wide perspective of the global view, and from the parochial perspective of the individual – the best, and arguably the only, methods that have been consistently successful at moving the curve for the better are capitalism and conservatism.
The all-foundation, process-based negative conceptions of liberty, equality, justice, and fairness (i.e., one set of rules that applies, and is applied, the same to all people), that with well instituted checks and balances like the separation of powers, free the invisible hand of human nature to work its magic economically AND socially are quite possibly the greatest inventions – more accurately described as discoveries – of the human race. It is they, and no other approaches, that have, more than any other, lifted millions from poverty, and even greater numbers from the shackles of oppressive regimes.
The same empirical data of human history ALSO prove that deliberate efforts to improve the lot of humans through the VISIBLE hand of one-foundation positive conceptions of liberty, equality, justice, and fairness (i.e., collectivist economic and social schemes of state enforced leveling of the bell curve, like socialism, communism, and yes, liberalism, which feature different rules for different types of people based on their membership in specific identity groups) are far less successful, and typically end up doing more harm than good because they in fact are oppressive regimes that literally trap people in poverty and prevent them from rising above it.
The economic scheme of capitalism and the negative-liberty social scheme of conservatism (e.g., The U. S. Constitution) are empirically, measurably, far superior at achieving liberal ideals like care, fairness, equality, justice, and bringing prosperity to a greater degree for more people to any and all positive-liberty collectivist schemes in all of human history.
Morality – our innate desire to feel good about ourselves by doing good for others – demands that we embrace the former and eschew the latter.