If we understand that morality is not something outside of us, imposed “outside-in”, but rather can only proceed from the individual and his values (or if his previous values are found irrational, his new values, guided by his high valuing of rationality and honesty), then all aberrations about morality disappear. Let’s look at a few of them.
One aberration that is commonly believed, is that morality is a struggle between what we want to do and what we should do. I have addressed this in the previous entry, but the answer should be even clearer now. To say that we should do something is to say that it proceeds from who we are. To want something also proceeds from who we are. While they may still need some reconciling, no part of this is imposed on the individual, and there is no fundamental struggle.
The most moral people in the world do not struggle. They are rational people who set their sights on noble goals and work towards them- be it as small as living a good life, or as big as helping to solve the problem of starvation or religion.
This struggle, rather, is wholly imposed by people who try to enforce their belief systems on others. The religio-political have led this battle against individual thought, science and self-governance for centuries. But they also benefit by making people believe that this struggle is the result of a childish rebellious spirit (as we observe believers of all stripe say when they attack non-believers). By displacing the result of their destruction of values on the individual’s mind, they further reinforce how evil individualism is, and how good submission is.
Another aberration is the belief that moral responsibility can only exist if it is imposed by a central authority. But moral responsibility comes from who we are. It makes no sense to say that someone is responsible for an action if that action has no relation to who he is, and any reward or punishment we would give him would have no justification whatsoever. To say that we are responsible for something alien to us is contradictory. Therefore only a causal basis for morality is compatible with moral responsibility.
Then there is the aberrated question: “why be moral?” Prima facie, this question is absurd because morality studies and evaluates human choice, and thus any question of choice can only exist within the context of morality. To ask “why be moral” is to contradict oneself. The mere fact of asking the question presumes that one believes that asking the question is better than not asking it. It is a circular question, just like asking why one should do physics in order to understand the nature of matter and energy, or why one should do economics in order to understand the flow of resources.
Of course, one is not obligated to study and evaluate his values and choices. One can live in the ignorant bliss of the collectivist fantasy world and only poke one’s head into reality to take a piss. Instead of using mathematics to make a space shuttle and astronomy to guide it, you can use New Age beliefs, tea leaves, or the Bible. You can ardently desire to be irrational, to fail the test of reality. And fail it you will- when your shuttle fails to start, or falls apart when someone bumps it. But of course in the fantasy world of collectivism, abject failure is just a signal that we need to persist with our irrational methods and just try harder, suffer more, or throw more money at it.
Finally, perhaps the biggest aberrated response to bottom-up morality is that it permits things that are generally seen as evil. They will say things like “if you decide what is moral, then what stops you from becoming a serial killer?”
First of all, we only decide what is moral in the sense that we are active epistemic agents. To be an individual moral agent is not to be nihilistic. On the contrary, morality, like any other study, must be concerned with causal principles. As for the specific example, I will not get too much into the principles involved (keeping things such as the virtue of non-coercion for another entry), but will simply point out one fact: society exists.
I would go beyond this and say that not only is morality not outside of us, but society and its factors are not outside of us. We are part and parcel of society, which is, after all, nothing but the voluntary choices of each individual in his interactions with others. Statist propagandists want us to believe that individual desires have nothing to do with society, and indeed are the enemy of social justice and social order, so that you willingly accept the system they use to co-opt your freedom. This is a form of what I was describing earlier, i.e. the religio-political process of putting the blame on the individual and his desires, and the merit on themselves and the collectivist fantasies they profess to serve.
In a free society, few people would desire to live with serial killers or encourage their values. So naturally serial killers would be stopped. This all arises from individual values and has nothing to do with a state, a “common good” or “common values.”