Moral Compass

Everyone has their own moral standards, which might be compatible and incompatible to several other people. Different moral compass might enter into conflict, and they certainly will. What should we do about it?

If everyone has its own personal moral standards, which one is the right among over 7 billion? And why some people do want to impose their moral standards on others? 

Shocking events like shootings, bombings, terrorism, massacres are so common and widespread they don’t stun us anymore. They became only numbers, not terrifying facts that shouldn’t even exist.

Brazil had a shooting incident in Campinas-SP, where a man killed his ex-wife, child and other 10 people, 9 of them women, before killing himself in a New Year’s Party on January 1st, 2017.

The shooter said terrible nonsenses in his suicidal note. Things like: “inmates have 3 meals a day, sunbath, income, don’t wake up early for work, Human Rights representatives kissing their asses, while I spend 5 months of my income in taxes to fund it”, said that feminists are sluts and he hates them, that Brazilian Law “Maria da Penha” against Domestic Violence is the Law Slut of Penha and kept repeating things filled with hate and anger towards: criminals (he most likely agree with the phrase “good criminal is a dead criminal” like other 40% of Brazilians declared in a poll), politicians, and mostly against women (he said he would kill as much women as possible at the party shooting, a crystal clear feminicide).

What a start for a new year, right?!

The last couple of years were no different.

There was this white supremacist, Dylann Roof, who killed several black people in a Charleston’s Church. Recently in his court trial hearing, he said that he doesn’t regret what he did, that he’s not mentally ill, and that he feels sorry for “the innocent white people that are killed daily at the hands of the lower race“.

The Orlando Pulse Nightclub, in June 2016, had almost 50 people killed. All signs points to a massive hate crime and violence against LGBT people, and since the killer died we’ll never know his true motives for sure.

This reactionary and conservative moral compass based on fear, anger and hate fuels an engine that leads to a vicious spiral of violence against an “enemy”, whatever it might be  – communists? muslims? african-descendants? women? LGBTs? terrorists? refugees? …

Once inside this spiral driven by a sick moral compass the individual can barely withstand his own existence in some cases, so he ends up killing himself after his killing spree. I guess this ends on the individual not fitting in his own moral standards.

Here is a wise quote from Master Yoda:

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

According to Oxford Dictionary, the 2016’s word of the year was “post-truth“:

relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

A narrative appealing to emotions like resentment, fear, hate and anger can drive some people to all those extreme situations. This same problem can be seen in an even broader spectrum, of groups or large-scale democratic political decisions based on narratives that encourage such emotions.

For example, 2017 did not complete its first week yet and Brazil has already had two major prison rebellions resulting in, at least, 80 inmates dead, 50 in Manaus-AM, and 30 more in Boa Vista-RR. It’s worth saying that over 40% of the Brazilian prison population is made of inmates that are still in pretrial detention, they were not convicted yet – and Alexandre de Moraes, Brazilian Ministry of Justice wants to eradicate marijuana from South America. War on drugs worked like a charm in USA, just ask its more than 2 million inmates!

Beyond all this terrible news, it is astonishing to see some reactions after those sad incidents. Brazilian illegitimate President Michel Temer said Manaus-AM was merely “an accident“, AM Governor said “There were no saints!“, Temer’s Government National Secretary of Youth said “There aren’t enough of them. There should be a massacre a week!“, to the point where a Congressman tweeted something like “Manaus 50 vs 30 Boa Vista! Let’s go, Bangu (Rio de Janeiro Prison)! You can do better!!“;… and a lot of others not worth mentioning. 

The whole point is: the world is walking on a path based on the post-truth era of resentment, intolerance, fear, hate, and anger. The moral compass mostly based on those emotions is what drove us to Brexit, to Colombia voting NO, to Trump election, the recent Brazilian Coup d’Etat, and it is also what drives lone wolves to such mad shootings like Orlando Nightclub; Charleston’s Church; Campinas-SP, Brazil; and so on…

Like actress Maryl Streep said at her 2017 Golden Globe Awards’ speech:

And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.

All that hate that Campinas’s shooter wrote on his suicidal note is exactly the same thing we see reactionary conservative people writing every day on social media.

So I can say this moral compass’ north points to all kinds of violence, more and more. If we follow this path along with austerity, growing inequality, reducing Welfare State and Labor Rights, fighting the refugees, a system of mass incarceration, repealing Obamacare, ending Social Public Policies and supporting a narrative which appeals to emotion and personal belief (moral compass), we’ll be feeding an exclusivist and extractive society. Certainly a dark future! More inequality = More incarceration!

Are we heading towards a ‘post human rights world‘? I hope not!

The world already has a good north we can use for our individual moral compass, it is one on which all the human kind agreed upon, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or several nation’s fundamental rights and guarantees written down in almost all Western Civilization’s Constitutions.  

Therefore, we must set up a new kind of engine not fuelled by fear and hate of imposing our own individual moral standards over other people or the society, but fuelled by embracing solidarity and genuine empathy. An engine to move the world towards peace, more tolerance, freedom, dignity, inclusion, equality, prosperity and the pursue of happiness.

Maybe we were supposed to be living in the “Common Man” era if Henry A. Wallace had not suffered a coup inside the Democratic Party, like Bernie Sanders, and had become once again Franklyn D. Roosevelt’s running mate instead of Truman. According to Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States, the atomic bombs might never have been dropped, and the Civil Rights Movement might never have been needed to exist. 

But people like Henry A. Wallace, Bernie Sanders, and leaders like them are often pejoratively called naive. Actually, it’s the opposite, they are the ones that have enough courage to stand up for humane causes, for peace, not war, for equality and against the financial power.

A naive person said once:

You may say I am a dreamer
But I am not the only one!” (John Lennon)

I guess I am a naive dreamer too!