Rawls, Blending Goldfish, and the Avant Garde’s Thin-Good

As a member of the left, I can attest that it has had a conflicted morality for a long time. They will love Reniassiance Art, Opera, and the other trappings of European high culture and then talk about how much they hate Western culture. Maybe syllogism would forbid claiming operas and hunter-gatherers are both better than each other but it seems to be contingent on who they are trying to shame. If they’re speaking to an Etonian Tory, they hate Western culture but if they’re talking to a working class redneck, they absolutely love it but mostly the high culture parts. They’re horrified by militaristic jingoism and, especially, children wrapped up in it but they’ll defend violent video games and media to their last because their opposition defends jingoism and opposes violent media.

The left won most of the major cultural battles of the late 20th century but they did not have a moral system to replace the one they were destroying. They, for the most part, were ostensibly against public morality. Their principal approach was John Rawls’ “thin-good”, among my token philosophical punching bags. They probably didn’t spend much time thinking about what morality actually meant. To them, morals equated to hot culture war issues and they demanded the Rawlsian thin-good without much regard to the collateral damage that would do.

Most morals had almost nothing to do with the culture war issues nor, as Rawls may have imagined, did they cause massive conflicts like holy wars. The traditional virtues like honesty, modesty, humility, charity, politeness, gentleness, magnanimity, mercy, work ethic, moderation, friendliness, being cultured and rounded, patience, civicism, and the like. I’ve read the boy scout oath and, outside of the part about obeying authority, I think Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Falwell would whole-heartedly endorse it. It is a secular code of honor and chivalry which there was nothing wrong with but that John Rawls was hell-bent on destroying.

When my fellows on the left spout about how morals should not be purveyed in the public sphere, I think “What the fuck?! So, all of those traditional virtues should be abandoned by society?” Body positive feminists will say something to the effect that morals should not be purveyed, echoing their fellow left people, and then say that inner-beauty should outweigh outer-beauty. Well, if there are no virtue ethics then there is no character and if there is no character then there is no inner-beauty. Which is aside from the obvious fact that being against physical attractiveness as a metric of merit is purveying a moral, and one thicker than Rawls’ thin-good requires. If someone is shallow and only likes hot people then who in Rawls’ society can tell them they’re wrong?

A portion of the left, my least favorite portion, forced the rest of the left into Rawls’ thin-good. The Avant-Garde. The most glaring example I think of is the blending of goldfish Marco Evarsetti did in 2000. I am not a vegetarian but unless you’re have a gainful purpose in the death of an animal, you shouldn’t kill it and watching a creature die out of intellectual curiosity is beneath contempt. It was evil but the avant garde is filled with a lack of morals such as horror films which relish femicide and turn the mentally ill into cartoonish monsters, disgusting members who get excused for domestic abuse, rape, genocide, and much more because they’re supposedly special while the janitors who swept their floors and probably lived morally superior lives enjoy no such double standard, and more.

Marco Evarsetti requires a thin-good and to support people like him the left must support the thin-good. In that case, compassion for animals is a thick moral which must not be purveyed by society. For their horror films, the humane and respectful portrayal of the mentaly ill who should be afforded more consideration given their relatively lack of power must be abandoned. In short, to maximize creative liberty they must minimize moral constraints. It also negates the very edginess they seek because if we are at the point where we must be one step above moral nihilism and philosophical sociopathy and have elementary morals and the artistic community becomes kindergarteners we have laminated, numbered rules, for then they are much more lame and art is, itself, less chic, less stylish, less badass, and altogether, less cool.

When Marco Evarsetti blended live goldfish in that Danish musuem, he was being very philosophically lame because instead of being at the cutting edge of philosophy, he took philosophy back to square one. He took philosophy from graduate school to preschool and at the philosophical level of intellectually disabled inmate in DJJ therapists are trying to teach basic morals to. Of course, that is what makes the thin-good very lame. It is the morality for the lowest common denominator and keeps society philosophically at a preschool level and very lame. The postmodernists keep us debating between that laminated preschool rule poster and sociopathy. That debate is extremely lame. Philosophically, on a visceral level, that is my emotional opposition to the avant garde, John Rawls, and the postmodernists. Their philossphical lameness.

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