Moral norm system of liberalism and egalitarianism: The compound method of cultivating elements of both moral emotion and moral volition n the national moral character

“The law of virtues and morality” indicates that, on the one hand, the better the morality is, the less everyone is suppressed, restricted, and harmed, and the more benefits and pleasures the morality gives to everyone, accordingly the greater everyone’s desire, motivation, and volition for conforming to morality and to being virtuous will be, the better and nobler their moral character will be; on the other hand, the better the morality is, the more consistent it is with the objective nature of behavioral fact, the easier it is for people to follow, and thus the more moral actions people will carry out, and the better and nobler people’s moral character will be. Then what kind of morality advocated by a society can be regarded as excellent after all?

There is no doubt that the moralities practiced in any country are innumerable, and some of them are certainly good and some of them are bad, but it is impossible that all of them are either totally good or completely bad. Therefore, it is only in the light of the basic or central morality, namely the decisive morality among them that we can say that the morality prevailing in a country is bad or good. If the decisive morality in a country is good, then we can say that the country pursues a good morality; conversely, if the decisive morality in a country is bad, then we can say that the country pursues a bad morality.

In the system of moral norms in any country, only the general moral principle or standard, not the particular moral principle and rule, can act as the morality that is the basis or center and thus is decisive. There are four categories of general moral principles or standards. The first is the ultimate moral standard, or the ultimate value standard of state institutions, namely the quantification of the ultimate goal of morality or state, i.e., “increasing everyone’s quantum of interests.” The second is the general moral principle of what all ethical behaviors ought to be, namely the so-called “good.” The third is the moral principles of others-regarding, mainly being the value standards of state institutions, which make up the fundamental value standard of state institutions, i.e., “justice (equality is the most important justice),” and the highest value standard of the state institution, i.e., “humanity (freedom is the most fundamental humanity, and alienation is the most fundamental inhumanity).” The fourth is the moral principle of self-regarding, namely so-called “happiness.” Morality is a social contract, and thus in the moral norms system, the moral principle of self-regarding or “happiness” obviously cannot be its basis or center. Therefore, judging whether the moralities in a country are good or not, in the final analysis, entirely depends on whether “the general moral principle,” “the ultimate standard of morality,” “the highest value standard of state institutions,” and “the fundamental value standard of state institutions” are excellent.

According to research in normative ethics, the ultimate moral standards of deontology and the general moral principle of altruism, which are advocated mainly by Confucians, Kantians, and Christian ethicists, are the worst. Although deontology and altruism adhere to “selflessly benefiting others” and encourage people’s selfless and enthusiastic dedication, yet they are opposed to the pursuit of all personal interests and have abandoned the principles of “benefiting others for self-interest” and “self-realization” (namely the realization of one’s own creative potential). Consequently, on the one hand, they mostly suppress and restrict everyone’s desire and freedom: they suppress and deny everyone’s desires and freedom for all purposed self-interests, attempting to make all people’s actions reach the peak of “selflessly benefiting others”; on the other hand, they most slowly promote the interests of society and everyone, because they deny “purposed self-interest” and oppose the pursuit of all personal interests, thus blocking everyone’s most powerful source for promoting the interests of society and others. In short, the morality of altruism and deontology would be the morality which gives the greatest ratio of harm to benefits to everyone, thus being the most vicious morality.

In contrast, the ultimate standard of utilitarian morality and the general principle of the doctrine of benefiting both oneself and others, which have been advocated mainly by Socrates, Hume, Darwin, Helvetius, Holbach, Bentham, Mill, Sidgwick, and Moore, are the best, because they regard “selflessly benefiting others,” “benefiting others for self-interest,” and “pure self-interest” as pluralistic criteria for evaluating whether actions are moral. Consequently, on the one hand, they least suppress and restrict everyone’s desire and freedom: they merely suppress and negate people’s desires and freedom to harm others, and demand “selflessly benefiting others” and self-sacrifice only when personal interests conflict severely with others’ or society’s; on the other hand, they most rapidly promote the interests of the whole society and everyone. This is because they not only advocate “selflessly benefiting others” and self-sacrifice, encouraging people, while facing a conflict of interest, to practice “selflessly benefiting others” and self-sacrifice without benefiting oneself by harming others, thus increasing the quantum of interests of the society; they also, moreover, advocate “benefiting others for self-interest” and “self-realization,” favor all actions of self-interest without harming others, and encourage all pursuits for personal interests that are beneficial to society and others, thus opening up the most powerful source for promoting the interests of society and everyone. In short, the ultimate standard of utilitarian morality and the general principle of the doctrine of benefiting both one’s own and others’ interests are just the morality which gives the greatest ratio of benefits to harm to everyone, thus being the most excellent morality.

The value standard of the state institution of despotism, which has been advocated mainly by Confucians, Mohists, Legalists, Taoists, Aquinas, Hobbes, Jean Bodin, Machiavelli, and others, is the worst. This is because, on the one hand, it upholds one person’s sole authority over the supreme power of state, and violates the principles of political equality, economic equality, and equality of opportunity, thus depriving all people of equal rights to which they should be entitled, and making all people live in a hierarchical society with extreme inequality, injustice, and no human rights; on the other hand, it upholds one person’s sole authority over the supreme power of state, and violates the principles of political liberty, economic freedom, and freedom of thought, depriving all people of all rights of freedom to which they should be entitled, and thus making all people live in a society where people are subjected to total enslavement and alienation without freedom, so as to be completely devoid of individuality and be unable to realize their creative potential, and consequently it is bound to be the extreme hindrance to social development and progress, resulting in social stagnation. In short, the value standard of the state institution of despotism would most severely suppress and restrict everyone’s desires and freedom, promote the least the interests of society and everyone, and give the greatest ratio of harm to benefits to everyone, thus being the worst value standard of a state institution.

In contrast, the value standards of the state institutions of humanitarianism, liberalism, and egalitarianism, which have been advocated mainly by Plato, Aristotle, Dante, Lorenzo Valla, Giovanni Pico della Mirándola, Johann Gottfried Herder, Spinoza, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, Hume, Smith, Bentham, Mill, Hayek, Rawls, and others, are the best. This is because, on the one hand, undoubtedly they least suppress everyone’s desires and freedom, or even advocate that everyone’s freedom should be extended to the maximum permitted by the existence of society; on the other hand, they certainly promote most rapidly the interests of the whole society and every person by means of the principles of “humanity,” “freedom,” “justice,” “equality,” and “promoting everyone’s interests,” which are undoubtedly the fundamental conditions for realizing everyone’s creative potential, mobilizing everyone’s working enthusiasm, and ensuring the prosperity and progress of society. In short, the value standards of the state institutions of humanitarianism, liberalism, and egalitarianism give the greatest ratio of benefits to harm to everyone, thus being the most excellent value standards of state institution.

Consequently, if a nation pursues the value standard of a despotic state institution as well as the moral norm system of deontology and altruism.

which can be shortened as “system of despotic moral norms,” then the morality and value standard that the nation pursues, in terms of their basis or center, is the most vicious, and thus, regardless of the other moral norms it pursues at the same time, the nation’s morality and value standard are the most vicious. Accordingly, on the one hand, their repression, restriction, and harming of the national people will certainly be enormous, and the benefits and happiness that they bring to the national people will certainly be the least; on the other hand, it is hard for people to observe them, because they deviate from the objective nature of behavioral fact. Therefore, people’s motivation, desire and volition of complying with such a morality and value standard so as to be virtuous people will certainly be extremely weak, and thus their moral character will certainly be low and vicious.

In contrast, if a nation pursues the value standards of the state institutions of humanitarianism, liberalism, and egalitarianism, as well as the moral norm system of utilitarian morality and the doctrine of benefiting both oneself and others, which can be shortened as “the moral norm system of egalitarianism and liberalism,” then the morality and value standards that the nation pursues, in terms of their basis or center, are the most excellent, and thus, regardless of the other moral norms it pursues at the same time, the nation’s morality and the value standards are the most excellent. Accordingly, on the one hand, their repression, restriction and harming of the national people will certainly be very little, and the benefits and happiness they bring to the national people will certainly be very great; on the other hand, it is easy for people to follow them, because they are certainly in conformity with the objective nature of behavioral fact. Therefore, people’s motivation, desire and volition of complying with such a morality and value standards so as to be virtuous people will certainly be strong, and thus their moral character will certainly be good and noble. Therefore, “the moral norm system of egalitarianism and liberalism” is the method of forming a national people’s strong motivation, desire, and volition for being virtuous people, thus being the compound method of cultivating the two elements of moral emotions and moral volition of national moral character, and the basic method of improving national moral character as well.

 
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