We have seen that regarding habits of natural law, internalism is true. That means that judgments of natural justice between men contain as part of them a duty-based — as opposed to desire-based — motivation to act morally.

Desires are generally meant to be satisfied; the purpose of duties, however, is to extinguish vicious desires whose satisfaction is naturally unlawful.

The external sources of motivation are three in number: 1a) threat of punishment, 2a) moral instruction, and 3a) charity. An unjust act is a sin, and the consequences of sin are also threefold: 1b) debt of punishment, 2b) stain on the soul, and 3b) corruption of nature.

It is asked, as per the Republic, what happens if a person is unjust but is able to convince everyone of his robust justice? Call such people T-people and their wicked deeds, T-crimes.

In such a case, say, when a person is a Mafioso but has everyone believing that he leads a respectable bourgeois life, he does avoid 1) punishment. One thing to notice here is that perpetrating this sort of deception is extremely hard for private persons; such a thing happens as a matter of course only in politics, wherein a mass murderer can be given a Nobel peace prize. Our Mafioso must always be on his guard, keeping his web of lies plausible. Moreover, society is not without means of defense: for example, since investigating crimes and administering justice are expensive, we can increase punishments for people who try to conceal their misconduct, thereby deterring precisely T-crimes.

Further, an unjust man does not normally bear the hatred of only society for him; he is reviled by himself and by God. A non-psychopath would tend to feel guilt for his crimes. But guilt entails a rejection of the pleasures allegedly secured by a criminal act. The profit of wrongdoing is annihilated within a person tormented by his conscience.

As a result, in order to be usefully unjust, a T-person must in addition suffer 2) no internal recrimination. But here’s the thing: a person who feels no guilt cannot build his own personality. By freeing himself from the restraint of moral inconsistency in interpersonal affairs, he by that very fact loses a crucial tool of self-making, of judging what’s going on intrapersonally, between the trinity within. Again, it must be exceedingly difficult if not impossible to feel no compunction at murder yet feel bad at a breach of modesty or temperance or some other self-regarding virtue.

In order to overcome his guilty feelings, one would have to feel (or even come to feel by slowly destroying his moral virtue) perverse pleasure in evil, but this only stains his soul still more, making him a filthy, unclean, disgusting individual on the whole, a degenerate.

That alone should give a T-person cause for concern.

Finally, it is man’s inner nature to love or at least not hate other people, both neighbor and mankind (and particular things in between). For a man who is unjust, regardless of how cleverly he hides it, his nature is corrupt, as he 3) hates neighbor in a Small Society and mankind in the Large Society. Recall that for Crusoe to aggress against Friday in SS is immediately irrational. If Crusoe nevertheless goes through with such an evil, then he reveals by his actions that he hates Friday more than he loves himself. Which is crazy. Similarly in LS: unjust actions reveal his hatred for society as a whole. The Mafioso is a monster, inhuman, and why should God feel any compassion for such a thing?

If a person is under the delusion that his criminal acts are in fact acts of charity, then he can be safely judged as insane and by that very fact still has a corrupted nature.

If the dubious profit of T-crimes outweighs for a person the extra cost of losing one’s humanity, then I have no other argument to persuade him to be just.

Thus, the fact that man naturally finds society to be extremely important for his own ends and therefore seeks not just not to harm it but in fact to strengthen it by becoming useful to society in his own turn is the first line of defense against criminal activity.

One’s self-love and indivisibility of virtue is the second line.

And when all else fails, the threat of punishment deters the most vicious of individuals.

We can see that a just man has 3 distinct advantages over an unjust man.

  1. The former is free from fear of being found out and punished (thus having integrity of the body);
  2. he is free from guilt which lets him concentrate on his self-regarding virtues (thereby possessing a pure will);
  3. and he lives in harmony with his fellow men, allowing the theological virtues to come forth, such as the pleasures of fellowship of friends (in so doing exhibiting clarity of the intellect).
Categories: Metaethics


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