Warning: This article explores a controversial, disturbing topic and leaves a question to the audience.
This is not written from a religious or political perspective. While many people approach life from those points of view, we can sometimes get to the core of a problem quickly by turning to more fundamental approaches. In life, we learn from two main sources; experience and logic. Experience is not always a great teacher, but when something just becomes "logical" we feel that it has been distilled into something believable or true.
Yes, we "feel" logic. There is sound to truth and it has a "ring." This ring can bring about emotion. It can bring pain, fear, happiness, etc. Lately truth has brought about a sadness in its rarity. From Glenn Beck's tears to the angry and hateful labeling of Americans as racists for speaking up, the truth is hard to hear.
Experience is less harsh, primarily because it is filtered by our memory. Experience is less powerful than logic, but can be much more damaging. A mistaken judge may create Case Law which is used to promote injustice upon man, but a mistake in logic is easy to point out. This is the tenet that America's founders inscribed into a Constitution based upon Logic and not the racist, power-hungry Experience of mankind.
Logic is the point of view of this document.
Logic and Truth
Logic is used to define truth, so what is truth? Is truth objective or subjective? Is my truth the same as your truth or are there fundamental truths that we all share? Laws of Nature and Physics seem to be fundamental truths. Again, our American Constitution is based upon the classical liberal western philosophy of Natural Law. This is "logical" because that is as close as we have come to absolute, immutable truth.
You do not need to be a philosopher to know truth, because there is a simple test of truth. Consider this test: "Truth is inside, then outside and finally in all things." Truth is first tested by your heart, then by viewing it outside yourself, and then by applying it to everything. "You know in your heart to be true" comes from this. You might also say that truth is revealed from inside, then in action and finally by consequences.
Lets apply this test to see how it works, but in the interest of brevity make our test simple.
"All Men are Created Equal." (Of course "men" is used as mankind and not gender specific.)
Because at conception we are all blank slates, it "feels" logical that I started at the beginning of life with zero capabilities. It seems logical that the people outside of me also started at the same place. When applied to everyone, the consequences include freedom of action, understanding and belief in others, and the advancement of society through individual excellence. It stands as true that we all started at the beginning of life as equals. It follows logically, in both directions, that our common starting point allows us to be equal and excel or fail individually. Maybe you would approach it differently, but the logic from any direction points to truth.
The Logical Goal of Good
Good is often used and rarely defined. Logically truth could be used for good or evil. It is not logical to think that all truth is good, but larger truth empowers individuals and humanity. Truth is largely knowledge, and knowledge comes at a great price. With this in mind, truth may not be evil, but some truth comes at too high a price.
To define Good from this logical perspective would then be the process of sharing truth. Good helps find inner truth at a lower price. Good expresses truth in action for others to see and comprehend freely. Good reveals larger truths through the consequences of our actions.
For example, the U.S. Constitution is based on the Logic of classical liberal western philosophy's Natural Law. Through the establishment of a government grounded in this logic the world has advanced from plows to tractors, from candlelight to electric light bulbs and the computer screen you are now reading. Promotion of inner truth through self-reliance and knowledge advanced the world further in 200 years than the previous 10,000 preceding years. We now only see classical human poverty, slavery and oppression in places where classical liberal western philosophy is withheld from the people. This is Good implemented by lowering the cost of "self-evident" and "inalienable" Truth to the individual, in action and in totality of consequence.
The logical goal of Good is to empower the individual to be self-reliant, express truth to others via our own unique free will, and consequently empower each individual to understand the truth from inside, outside and in all things.
The Logical Goal of Evil
Evil has been described as pure as innocence. The goal of Evil from a logical point of view is simple: To wrestle control away from others and subject others to your will. However, it becomes much clearer when logic, evil and truth are intermixed.
Consider the opposite of the logical goal of Good. If Good helps find inner truth, express truth in action and finally expose larger truths, then Evil, as the opposite, must obscure larger truth, hinder the action of truth and ultimately hide, obscure, or raise doubt upon the inner truth from each of us.
Does this stand up to logic? Lies obscure truth. Cheating obscures the consequences of action. Stealing obscures the value of individual action. Murder robs the world of examples who we could observe and learn from and the value of individuals who will never again exist. Oppression raises the cost of truth through threat of force or action or social pressure upon those who seek it.
The goal of Evil is the power to force submission of its will upon all individuals through their denial of inner truth and blindness to the greater consequences.
A Question of Religion and Good and Evil
This is not a theological excursion into religion, but there is one disturbing experiment of logic which begs a larger truth be found. I ask you to find it.
The battle between good and evil seems to be a central theme within each of us, in the world around us, and in the teachings of many religions.
Why must there be an ultimate battle between good and evil? The battle seems to rage on every front, and at all times.
If there was a prophet who promoted the logic and goals of Good, taught us to seek truth, and to submit to logic before experience, was there an opposite, who promoted the logic and goals of Evil, taught us to deny our inner truth, to submit to power, and deny logic in favor of experience? Use the tool, "Truth is inside, then outside and finally in all things," to find the truth of this question.
What's wrong with this picture? - The ever-amusing Krugmanesque Professor Menzie Chinn, arguing that data demonstrate that deficits are good for economic growth:
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