Jimmy Stephens shares some ideas:
One problem I have with a neutral alignment view of humanity is that it fails to explain human history. Another is that it is inconsistent with a useful conception of motivation. I can get into those more but here’s a brief run-through.
Historically, man is consistently bad. As a child, he bites, screams, pitches fits, tries to get away with theft, beats up other kids – all things that, if children had the strength and wisdom of adults, would make them murderers and arsonists. Although age tends to assuage his barbaric child nature, teenage and adult humans are “good” for utility, egocentrism, or a hypocritical sense of self-righteousness just as often [minimum] as he has “good” motivations.
Children are not natural altruists. They have to be punished, disciplined, taught wisdom. When they are not taught such things, we see their natural state come out in barbarism. Even more telling is the fact that when children are abused, instead of becoming better people, this raises the chance of vengefulness, spite, loss of empathy, repressed grudges projected on unsuspecting innocents, etc.
When kids start to reach teenage years and young adulthood, they often grow a sense of mind-blowing pride. They act presumptuously as if they were adults, and when their parents question them, they act as if they’re providers are slavers instead.
Perhaps the most common teenage sin I’ve witnessed is parental complaints and taking life’s mercies for granted. Rare is the teenager who, when she is wronged, tries to be extra kind to the perpetrator. Exceptionally rare is the teenager who tells their parents every day that they love them.
Teenagers with abusing parents almost always blame their life problems on them, if they’re smart enough to see the connection. A teenager who says, “Praise God,” for abusive parents is next to unheard of.
Teenage boys use girls like candy. They put their pleasure before the woman’s life and then throw them away like a wrapper. Girls use teenage males like pawns. They are exploited for money, social status, or a sense of self-worth, a twisted sense of worship. Either way, the sexual use and abuse among teenagers is rampant where sexual restraint is not taught.
We are in a world where rape is rampant. People, including men, are physically assaulted for sexual purposes all across the globe. In many countries, sexual abuse is celebrated. Marital abuse is celebrated in some countries.
People pass up the poor all the time. Most people in the modern West pass the buck to the state, supporting a system of the government extorting people to redistribute wealth instead of putting out charity on their own kindness. A lot of people pass up the guy on the street so they can walk into the store and buy jewelry, so they can work out, so they can get lunch, etc.
Children are starving in foreign countries. That’s blood on my hands, because I have been wasteful with my money. I haven’t been putting out for the poor enough.
There is no point in history with world peace. People are always fighting a war, worrying about war, or scheming for one. History is brimming with the violence of man-on-man.
Technology has helped us cure diseases. It has also helped us hurt the environment. It has built us better weapons with which to grind our fellow man to mincemeat or turn entire countries into poisoned graveyards.
Technology is a tool. The ape that holds the club is not made more virtuous with a gun in his hands.
The cycle of history is that men come together, usually over a lot of turmoil, war, and natural disaster, they build a society, and after bloating on greed, subjugation, externalized violence, and so forth, that empire falls apart. The exception to this rule is the vile society that slowly dies or is wiped out by an empire at some point.
Almost every country is built on shady motivations, grows through shady means, and then implodes, is wiped out, or finds itself subjugated by another empire. That is the story of man’s nations.
Ancient Canaan: same story of violent beginnings, imperialist growth, and violent ends.
You want to get real bloody? Go to China. That place is built on the graves of millions and millions.
Rome, the Huns, the Aztecs
All barbarians, all murderous tyrannies, all violent imperialists
Has modernity seen any change? None whatsoever.
The grand plenitude of human beings across the earth support awful rulers, worship fake gods, whether the juju spirit on the mountain or money, and our just out to propagate their own purposes.
America bombs foreign nations while its people are starving in the streets. America stole land from Indians and others, and now steals land from its own citizens through “immanent domain.” America pretends to have been a killer of Nazi scum, and then turns around and funds an infanticidal holocaust that dwarfs the Nazis.
Europe praises free speech, then jails anyone who speaks their mind, labeling it “hate speech.”
Germany’s rape rate [by ratio] has skyrocketed recently.
Japan is full of perverts. From personal experience, I can tell you, that place is great at raising perverts.
They run an entire comic culture of porn justified with the idea that it’s just comics.
China persecutes religious folk, especially Christians. You share your faith with fear there. It takes true bravery to be a missionary in China.
We are now reaching an age where people call on the state to lock people in tiny isolated cages, steal their money, and abduct them just because they don’t use the “right” pronoun.
I’m sorry, but the idea that humanity is other than basically evil is laughable in the face of history.
The idea that humans are not basically bad is a fairy tale.
History is clear.
There is a more philosophical issue though. And that is the fact that our motivations necessarily function on moral facts. That is, everything we do takes into account care for others. As a Christian, I also think everything we do takes into account love of God.
Now let’s suppose people are basically neutral. They could turn out to be good or bad. The problem is that they cannot favor moral facts one way or another. Otherwise, they would be morally aligned.
But since all our decisions are motivated by altruism, a care and concern for others, or by egoism, preference of ourselves over others, that means we could not do anything. Or, at least, it means that moral responsibility is just unintelligible.