Assaults on Reason: Principles Without an Objective Epistemology

Principles are common, and it is easy to state a commitment to adherence to principles. However, people that state commitments to various principles are frequently found to have acted in violation of them. This is most frequently because of one of two reasons: The first is the one that incites public ire and is loudly denounced by everyone that claims to have principles. It is the hypocritical violation, in which the violation occurs because the person that claimed to be principled was not and had simply lied about being principled. The second is more common, but is typically forgiven regardless of the consequences. It is the “someone lied to me” violation. This violation occurs when a self-proclaimed principled individual takes some action based upon facts that they received second hand, and it is later discovered that those facts were false. This violation is usually considered to be a leader’s privilege, or in the most corrupt cases the whole process may be intentionally acted out specifically to obtain consequences of the vioation without harm to the conspirators. However, this forgiveness for the powerful can result in the violation of the rights of one or more individuals in such a way that it was not a consequence of a violation of the rights of thers by them. Therefore, this practice is Nietzschean and evil and should be shunned in all instances.

This conclusion will likely be argued against on the grounds that the leadership of certain big organizations and states must rely on trusted sources rather than first hand observations as a matter of practicality, simply because they have a limited amount of time and attention that they can devote to direct observation, and therefore that the privilege must exist in order for such organizations to exist and remain competitive with other organizations of similar size. This is not the case. There are methods by which leaders can improve the reliability of the facts that they choose to act upon, especially for the cases in which they know that there actions based on those facts will violate the rights of others if those facts are false. Such methods include having multiple (truely) independent sources consisting of both human and automated observers. For example, the president of the united states will never have to decide whether or not to launch nukes at Iran because of what Dale from the Treasury heard in the break room. Or more accurately, the president of the united states should always choose to ignore Dale in favor of more reliable sources in regards to firing missiles, but may choose to launch no harm investigations if Dale is otherwise trustworthy. The point is that an effective leader can always avoid violating people’s rights unnecesarily by the proper application of reason, and therefore it is an assault upon reason for such violations to be forgiven. This is not just limited to leaders, however. It applies to all individuals that wish to be considered to be principled. The correct conclusion to draw about a self-proclaimed principled person that frequently makes the second type of violation of their own principles is that they are not principled because they lack the requisite objective epistemology in order to be principled.

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