Boagie, Mr. Fight The Power,
Sorry for my absence. I have been undergoing some medical tests since Thursday (light-headedness).
I hope you two don't mind if I try to jump back in on this important discussion now.
Mr. Fight The Power wrote:
I think the greatest difference between my opinion of the individual and pythagorean's opinion is the acquisition of morality. It seems that Pythagorean holds the opinion that humans will behave without moral consideration if not for the rule of law. I, on the other hand, think that humans (most, some have natural barriers) can form an acceptable moral code on their own (that is without rule of law, not without society itself).
In fact, I take the opinion that rule of law tends to enforce immoral or at best, amoral behavior.
It is like an old theological question: Is a man moral because he obeys God or because he agrees with God?
EDIT: I don't know if that is actually an old theological question, but it seems to me like it should be.
The portrait that you have drawn regarding an innate, natural human morality is a compelling one and has some obvious merit. But I would point out to you that laws are made by individuals and so adherance to law also conforms to your idea of an innate morality. So that acquisition of morality via the law is also a subjective acquisition of morality via the original law-makers who created the original social institutions.
The original law-makers must have looked inside themselves and at other historical examples of human virtue in order to come up with a code that fit their subjective views regarding their project of society. They created what exists today as a living common-law.
The intention of law is, in my opinion, to form society itself, so that there can be no society, no language, no knowledge, and no 'world-structure' in which humans could orient themselves (and discover reality, and posit their priorities) without law. And since there can be no morality without the existence of immorality I would make a strong argument for the existence of immorality - of natural innate immorality. If we were to look at history we can see many examples of immorality. And the only correction to an immoral state of affairs would be the rectification of former immorality visa the imposition of law based upon the subjective determination of morality in opposition to what is considered immoral.
Also I think it is quite possible for whole nations and even the preponderance of the world's people to live in chaos and immorality, which they have done for many thousands of years in history. In fact, the question of whether evil can be stronger than good can only be asked by those who live in a luxury of goodness (i.e. in a pre-existing benevolent society). The rest of humanity who dwell without this luxury should know that evil is strongest and chaos the rule.
(I would compare the natural triumph of chaos and evil in the world with the notion that things tend to run down in physics. It takes energy and effort to make things run. Things tend naturally to burn out and fade away and die. Energy is always limited in nature, there is no perpetual motion machine, there is no free lunch, what goes up must come down. Evil and chaos rule by common inertia as well.)
The question arises whether or not the law is just, whether the law is good or bad. In order to determine that we need to be able to appeal to some outside (outside of the law) arbiter of what is right and wrong.
I think that confusion comes in at the point at which we consider that the law is for an earthly, or a worldly purpose and if we consder that there may be more to life and the universe than the earthly imposition of social regulations. There may be a higher plane of existence in which the law pales in significance to it. In this case the earthly law seems like a petty thing. But I would only suggest that we humans need to begin with an earthly, practical set of rules in order to climb to the highest peaks and to see whether or not the law is indeed just in certain cases. And also to climb up to the heights in order to see the temporal nature of all human created, earth-bound, low forms of pragmatic existence in relation to more divine and cosmic conceptions of a grander and more awesome law.
To put it bluntly, there might be something super-natural that is innate in (some) human beings (as in that value-creation potential). We are however, dependent upon the basic services of society, eg. education, language, and human examples, in order to ascend towards and fulfill this super-natural something beside which the earthly law looks so meager.