3.4.2, Moral and Material Means.

The part of me that wants to keep things clear in the practical earthly realm wants to restrict talk to talk about earthly things. This would involve restricting talk to that which takes up space, has size, etc. But, here at Puritanical Libertarianism, we take ourselves to be interested (or at least we represent ourselves) in production as a form of action. And in some ways production requires material means including stuff and know-how. In other ways that stuff is useless unless there is another kind of production, the production of virtue.

When we begin to talk of virtue we have left the field of practical consideration in the following sense. Virtue does not take up space or have size in any way that I care at this point to try and defend. And yet, I do not see how life can be well lived, how ends of any significance can be achieved, without it. Matter, ordinarily understood, takes up space. Property rights to it, rules about it, can be understood in a different and clearer way.

What is, in addition, true about the difference between these two types of means, is not only are property rights and legal rules not applicable to moral means, virtues, but here the means for producing the produce goods are bountiful and endless and such that I cannot be disabused of them. In fact, any effort to aggress against me only provides me with more material for the development of virtue.

Let me try and clarify with a few contrasts. I will call spatial things material. I will call soul matter that can be converted into a kind of capital or production goods feeling.

Material is alienable. Feeling is not. The point here is that there is a sense in which I cannot be robbed or aggressed of that which virtue is produced from.

In addition the alienability of material means that when it is converted through production into capital, production goods, consumer goods, it can still be stolen or misspent. But, that which is produced from feeling that is called virtue cannot be taken by force. It is hard for me to conceive how virtue could be given up voluntarily by he who has it.

That which is produced from material is, above mere subsistence, a production good, the means of production as Marx called it. A hoe enhances digging. A net enhances fishing. A sharp flint and taught cord in bow and arrow enhance the acquisition of meat. Virtue is a production good. It is a good for living and acting.

A difference between the two production goods. Material production goods are exhaustible. Wear and tear and replacement costs are to be considered. This is not the case with virtue. Virtue is inexhaustible. The use of real patience does not have limit. The use of endurance only builds endurance.

Both the material and moral means of production have costs. They require investment. The budgeted, foresightful and restrained employment of feeling to produce virtue is no different than the same in the material realm.

A note on the role of coercion and aggression and production. Both moral and material production are reduced by aggression and coercion. But there is a difference. Virtue cannot be produced by force. Material goods can be produced by threat. But they will be greatly diminished. Both are stimulated by the direction of he who owns the feeling or he who owns the material. And in the end neither can be gone in for but by the willing employment of the body or its willing restraint.

Finally, and those who stay long with me know this is coming, the means of production that is virtue is objectively more valuable than the means of production that is material capital or production goods. The former guides the good use of the latter. The former is, in a sense, required for the preservation and profit in the latter.

So, I recommend that he who goes forward to production first aim for production in feeling. What is produced is virtue. It is a power of soul that enables the work of the soul to be done well. For starters I recommend temperance, courage, and justice. Temperance deals with balanced feeling toward the pleasures. Courage aims for balanced feeling toward the threats and challenges to pursuit of pleasures. Justice aims for equality in action, giving another what he deserves. Courage and temperance are about feeling. Justice is about action produced by feeling.

Material fortunes are gained and lost by ingredients like luck, virtue or vice. Luck dumps it in your lap. But for how long can you hold it. Virtue produces through industry, endurance, foresight. Vices gains by aggression. Virtue can only be gained in one way. And it is the best means for the production and preservation of material goods.

Published by Purilib

Anonymously interested in grasping the good life.

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