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Is it possible to have a political stance without morality?

+2 votes
I haven't read much about post-left, but Wiki says it rejects morality just like Stirner. But in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's Max Stirner sections, it says that Stirner's conception of morality is narrow, it is obligations to behave in certain fixed ways, and Stirner values certain kinds of actions, and for him ownness is the only good.* So in this case, isn't post left's amoralism is also based on a narrow understanding of morality?

Saul Newman thinks that without any notion of morality and rationality it is impossible to develop a critique of authority.

*http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/max-stirner/   section 2.3
asked Oct 3, 2014 by Metalist (820 points)
My guess is that the answer is "no", but since I don't believe in pursuing concepts of politics or morality, I don't know. Of the all the people I know who say they have one, it appears to me they have the other. Could you provide a (brief) definition of each, and perhaps I'll take a swing at it based on that.
your question deserves a better answer than i can give atm, but i have to point out that post left is a set of specific critiques of leftism that actually have limited overlap with stirner's ideas.
the fact that lantz is throwing everything into the post left category is no reason for other people to follow their lead.

tl/dr: there is nothing inherent in post leftist thinking that precludes morality. and don't rely on lantz for clarity about post leftism.
Dot is just upset that his/her intellectual authority is being challenged (as if another thumbs down means anything to me). I wrote my answer in relation to the question, and the rejection of morality IS an inherent part of post-leftism. I looked it up, it's part of their critique on ideology. I'll save the rest of my criticism for the post-left critique question that I still haven't gotten around to answering.
You may also try reading Stirner himself first. Even in translation this is better than relying on secondary sources.

2 Answers

–4 votes
I would argue that, even using Stirner's definition, deliberate amorality and/or the rejection of moral judgement is still a moral system that guides a person's thoughts and behaviors, and so the whole post-left critique of morality is rather a moot point that, I would agree, is based on a narrow understanding of the concept.

I think your link provides the best critique when it says that:

"Stirner is clearly committed to the non-nihilistic view that certain kinds of character and modes of behaviour (namely autonomous individuals and actions) are to be valued above all others. His conception of morality is, in this respect, a narrow one, and his rejection of the legitimacy of moral claims is not to be confused with a denial of the propriety of all normative judgement. There is, as a result, no inconsistency in Stirner's frequent use of an explicitly evaluative vocabulary, as when, for example, he praises the egoist for having the ‘courage’ (265) to lie, or condemns the ‘weakness’ (197) of the individual who succumbs to pressure from his family."

In essence, he rejects all morality except the form of morality that fits his definition (which is still morality, despite his slapping a different title on it) and then he freely uses his own idea of morality to pass judgement on others, the same type of behavior that his "absence of morality" was supposed to get rid of.

Overall, the problem with amorality is that it is, like much of the rest of post-leftist thinking, philosophically sound (And what isn't, if you make up enough definitions and invent your own system of thinking to justify it?) but not realistic. People will never be free of morality, and it is naive to assume that is a possibility. Stirner's own adoption of what is essentially a moral system with a different name immediately after his rejection of moral systems stands testament to that.

 And even if humans could be free of morality, then they would have to face the fact that, as Saul Newman said, the absence of moral judgement makes it impossible to develop of a critique of authority. Why become an anarchist if opression is not morally objectionable to you?
answered Oct 3, 2014 by Lantz (170 points)
edited Oct 3, 2014 by Lantz
lantz: "Neitzsche's own philosophies aren't entirely consistent, but that's a dead-end conversation."

Consistent? Yes, you're right. N did say quite explicitly he wasn't a system-builder. There's plenty of 'consistently' stupid philosophy and philosophers, though.

lantz: "but that's a dead-end conversation."

Yes, you'd be way outside your 'expertise' on that one. Better stick to  nonsense like N arbitrarily separating 'self' from 'not self' and the proverbial finger-wagging accusations of 'arrogance.'

lantz: "and is some cases has even been used (incorrectly, I will admit) to justify those ideas."

So have collective ideologies. "We the people" is an appeal to collectivity. Nationalism is a collective ideology. Patriotism is an appeal to collective emotion. None of them have made Americans particularly egoistic, all egotism aside.

I do find it telling, in light of our previous dialog, that you believe 'validity' is derived within the parameters of *your* knowledge.

Edit: grammar
Collectively ideologies have resulted in nationalism and patriotism. Egoism has resulted in unrestrained capitalism. Which is "worse"?

And by valid, I mean that the argument has not been sufficiently refuted, therefore it is still a "valid" point that needs to be dealt with. This is a different context than validity as determined by the scientific process.
lantz: "Egoism has resulted in unrestrained capitalism."

Really? How did Stirner/Nietzsche result in 'unrestrained' capitalism? Both of them critique morality, both of them were anti-state, and neither of them seem to interested in shopkeepers, industrialists, and bankers. Even some of the American individualists  they influenced, such as Ben Tucker, were extremely critical of capitalism, even if they did maintain the notion of 'markets' (erroneously so, in my opinion).

Also, It will be fun to see how you link Novatore, Armand, and Palante to that old moralistic prune Ayn Rand and her ilk of paltry 'egoists.' As far as I can tell, the only influence that old goat-scrotum (Rand) ever got from Stirner was from the title of the latter's book, cuz she obvious never read it!
Also, despite the rhetoric to the contrary, capitalism is a collective ideology, if for no other reason (and there are plenty of other reasons) than the quantification of people.
I wouldn't call Ayn Rand "moralistic", though I suppose her philosophies might kinda-sorta fall in that category. I'm convinced that she was a sociopath.

I would say that Adam Smith had egoistic tendencies, with his idea that a multitude of self-serving "sins" leads to the overall good (capitalism).

My overall point is that both egoism and collective moralism are ideologies, and as such both have caused issues by people looking to manipulate them for their own devices.
+2 votes
If by "political" you mean a way of discovering and extending power over others, and if by "morality" you mean an eternal system of ethical condemnations, then no it's not possible. But I'd rather turn the question around and ask instead: Is it possible to have a moral stance without politics?

Because from what I can tell, morality is a way to justify when people behave unequally with others, just as politics is a way to justify how people behave in hierarchical groups. Neither holds much interest for most post-left @s.

I find oppression objectionable because it is arbitrary and capricious. I object to oppression because I feel (subjective and contingent) compassion for and empathy toward other sentient beings, not because of some abstract (and perhaps arbitrary in turn) philosophical principle.
answered Oct 4, 2014 by lawrence (20,630 points)
I think your first paragraph illustrates one of the primary issues with this argument. The definitions of these words are so loose, that every answer has a different interpretation of them. Personally, I think of "political" simple as a system of organization (for example, I think anarchy is a political system. Though it doesn't rely on a state, it still requires cooperation.)  And I think of morality as an internal set of guidelines, developed through personal experience and feeling (your example of compassion and empathy). To me, though morality is externally influenced, it originates from within.

This is a lot of the problem with philosophy as well. Morality as a philosophical principal and morality as a real thing are disconnected, with nothing to really connect the two aspects. Philosophers simply adopt whichever definition of these kinds of concepts suits their own ideas and work from there, so many different philosophies have absolutely no shared foundation, or any foundation at all, really.
lawrence: "I find oppression objectionable because it is arbitrary and capricious. I object to oppression because I feel (subjective and contingent) compassion for and empathy toward other sentient beings, not because of some abstract (and perhaps arbitrary in turn) philosophical principle."

Thanks! That summation is pretty much what I've tried to describe to others why I think and act the way I do.

Morality comes from a root ('mos') meaning 'rule(s)' and once codified is obviously nothing but the rules of the most powerful and leisurely (per leisure, I'm thinking of the philosophers like Aristotle and Cicero who *could* disdain labor).