A few weeks ago, I read this:
"Good ideas wrapped up in bad ethics leads to fascism."That had so many layers to it and just nailed the concept, I politely asked the author, "Is that your quote or someone elses? That is very pithy and good."
When I received the appropriate reply, "... that's all me." - I knew I had to ask. There is more that needs to be said; so I asked for more.
I don't do guest posts here often - but this was an easy call. Building off the quote above, I offer you the extended remarks of a previous guest post'r. Turn off the TV or music. Take a deep breath. Focus.
YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III, USN; the floor is yours.
An idea that exists on its own has no value. That is to say, an idea that only exists in the mind, and does not result in any change has no value. It is only in the ideas that lead to action that any value is derived. But, imparting value also imparts new aspects that fundamentally change the idea from its original form.
Ideas necessitate action. With action comes method, and it is through a method that ideas result in change. Such change can exist in various forms, a changing perspective or opinion regarding something, to revolution and other paradigm breaking phenomena.
In this causal chain of ‘idea-action-method’ there is a controlling factor—ethic. It is from an ethic that action derived from idea takes form, and method is implemented. An ethic is as fundamental as the idea itself. It serves to control the action and method resulting from the idea, thereby making an idea tangible and becoming nearly indistinguishable from the idea itself.
Think of Communism, the idea behind Communism isn’t inherently a bad one, “A theoretical form of Socialism where all individuals are equal, all property is jointly owned, and all decisions are made by consensus of the collective without the need for "the State".” but the method through which the idea manifested changed the idea into its conventional understanding.
Think as well of fascism, defined by Mussolini (in part) as “Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect [...] And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be the preponderant force in the transformation of society.”
Two ideas at odds with each other, whose methodologies made them more alike than they were different, and that are more defined and remembered by their methods than the idea itself. The ethic found in communist and fascist governments defined their form of government more than the idea behind the form of governance ever did.
A commonality between Communism and Fascism is that the idea behind the methods justified actions taken that would have been considered unethical absent of the idea—the ends justified the means. It may very well be that placing idea ahead of ethic, inevitably leads to such things as fascism and communism. Or, In short, ideas wrapped up in bad ethics leads to fascism.
In this sense, an idea is always at the mercy of an ethic, as the ethic will control how the idea is acted upon and the methodology of implementing the idea, even at the most basic individual level.
An idea as we perceive it is not just an ‘idea’, but in reality the combination of ethic, idea, action and method. It is this combination that is the basis of ascribing value to an idea. Good ideas are not enough on their own; a good ethic must be in place as well before the whole can be judged as good.
Read it again. Of such things books are written and PhDs are earned.