Glover’s theory of the moral resources
In the contemporary world, the 20th century represents the most brutal time in the history of human history, featuring a consistency of shameful events, for instance, the Holocaust, Stalinist era, the bombing of Hiroshima and the Rwanda massacre. The critical book by Jonathan Glover looks in depth the politics in the present world, as well as the roots of human nature in order, discover the reasons behind the many atrocities that were perpetuated and the manner we can create a conducive environment in order to prevent their occurrence. Jonathan Glover discloses that there certain degree of similarities amid psychology and those who tend to collaborate in, perpetuate and are quite complicit with different types of atrocities. The groups of the people portray certain elements that are common for instance blind adherence, personal responsibility that is questionable and eventually tribal hatred- characteristics that are closely related to the situation (Glover 170). This conceptual paper explores Glover’s theory of the moral resources contained in Part One of Humanity: A Moral history of the 20th Century. Then apply that theory to explain the moral psychology of waging war, tribalism, war as a trap, and Belief and Terror discussed in Parts Two through five of the book.
In Humanity, Glover explores principally at the human behavior or practice instead of theory, paying a close attention to the key atrocities that were unleashed by dictators and wars during the era of 20th century. On top of that, he portrays the psychology of actors who took an active role in the atrocities. Glover has got a deep thought we should appeal to elements which tend to short circuit the disposition of the people in order to respect dignity to the victims of the atrocities. On top of that, he asserts that it is good for people to appeal to the fact of moral identity in order to have the humanity of others. Though the theory is unflinching in nature, it tries its level best to describe the reason behind which people tend to fall short of their moral standards in certain areas in life. Therefore, the theory offers a chance for the people who are after studying human ethics due to the application of normative literature.
Paying a close attention to the Glover’s theory, his ambition seems to be quite different. His objective is not to just enlarge the research on ethics by clearly revisiting the moral frailty but also to make sure that contents to do with ethics are made albeit empirical and practical in nature. The concepts of ambition assume two components that are metaethical and normative. Glover seems to be quite pessimistic about any particular “external grounding” to do with ethics and has got strong believe that ethics must be developed people’s ways of attempts for self-creation based on psychological deposits to do with sympathy and respect to each other “The other human response is sympathy: caring about the miseries and the happiness of others, and perhaps feeling a degree of identification with them” (22). But these moral resources, says Glover, can be “neutralized” (33). In the case of the normative ambition, Glover tries to borrow from deontological intuition especially Rawlsian “reflective equilibrium” amid intuition and the concept of principle. Therefore according to Glover, the moral standards in human beings are constructed by different psychological factors. The concept of the doctrine of common sense acts and any omission lead to asymmetrical moral significance thus humanity is essential in addressing atrocities in the present world.
PART 2: The Moral Psychology of Waging War
According to Glover in order for a person to kill he or she needs to fully overcome the natural revulsion and especially in close combat for instance in the case of Massacre back at My Lai. The field commanders had to fully overcome their natural revulsion in order to drop a bomb in Hiroshima and attack civilians. The commanders during the war tried their level best to repress the moral resources in order for the people to be killed. Anything that resulted in common humanity during the war made the fighters quite hard to kill each other thus the concept of humanity is psychological in nature. Besides that, it is true according to Glover, humanity can be restrained through distance and that is exactly what made people bomb each other. To address the issue of war it is essential for leaders to speak without provocation, join opponents if the need arises, keep off from human fallibility and respond slowly to any outcome.
Part Three: TRIBALISM
Tribal conflicts tend to form the life of human condition. In Rwanda, an approximate of about a million people died during the war and it was a result of a political campaign in the region. In order for tribal conflict to arise political propaganda has to emerge in order for conflict to arise. In order for tribal conflict to arise human propensity must be there in order to create differences. Besides that political hatred speeches and propaganda also assume to the people. The cases of Yugoslavia and Rwanda try to exemplify the nature of tribalism, whose emphasis is strongly reflected in our psychology. Glover has a strong belief that “tribal hostility can be transcended… a moral identity rooted into commitments…” (152). Therefore, according to Glover any kind of tribal hostility can be rooted in religion, a profession that has got its values and standards that are related to conduct. On top of that, the tribal hostility might be grounded tribal membership that it good to consider humanity.
Part 4: War As a Trap
Glover concentrated on the World War 1 in order to clearly reflect the nature of human behavior. During this period, millions of people were killed. According to human nature, people are safe when peace exists upon which it might be recalled. People always are in fear but the media play a critical role in creating tension. According to Kant, war drives a nation to better as the case of morality. During the start of war some people participate passively but in the long run, through fear, they engage fully (Glover 170).
Glover defines war as just simple aggression basing his side on entrapment. In the actual sense, political leaders tend to be trapped by the reflections that they embarked upon thus can trap its followers to hostilities “find themselves trapped by the implications…” (155-156). Glover goes to the extent to show the manner enlightened political leaders are in a position to see the trap of war for instance during the case of Cuban missile JFK and his close associates were in a position to see. According to the natural law “Humanity” entails responding to others with respect and sympathy but in the real world no all human beings have humanity in them. Therefore to address the issue of tribal clashes it is essential to ease the political tension by allowing free integration of the people. It is essential for political leaders to preach peace and unity but not divisions.
Part Five: Beliefs and Terror: Stalin and His Heirs
Stalin murdered millions of Russians during his reign. He used forced labor, slavery and eventually political persecution. He was after the torture of the people. According to Aristotle, tyrants can retain power through rule and divide method. Stalin made use of Lenin’s approach in order to retain power. The ideological faith of the Marxism made Stalin lose his cruelty right. Kindness during the era rekindled everything and fear made people ignore cruelty. Glovers argue that ideology is only the factor that differentiates amid Soviet terror and the predecessor of the union “…resources to discredit the values… central to the people’s moral identity” (260). It is quite clear that resources are the key elements that are central to the morality of the people but greatly depends on the behavior of the people. This can be reflected in China and the Soviet Union on which humanity was not recognized at all and led to war.
Socrates had the idea that happiness came from internal integration. Therefore, the moral gap amid what we tend to do for outsiders as well as insiders tends to explain the degree of our cruelty. The case of the Athenian, Melon remained neutral and warned their counterparts for the need to have a fair game but later they were defeated thus internal resources related to human are sometimes quite insufficient when dealing with the outsiders. On the other hand, Stalin tries to reflect the impact to abstain from utopian transformations. The ideology in the real sense was barbarism in nature. Besides that, communism was quite dangerous as it ignored the respect of the people thus endangering them (Glover 170).
In conclusion, the applicability of Glover’s theory is quite valid in the present world. Humanity depends on psychology and resources. The atrocities in the 20th century were as a result of human behavior that implicated in human psychology. Fear and political propaganda are quite disastrous for the existence of peace. It is the high time we should develop ways to prevent an occurrence of atrocities.
Glover, Jonathan, and M. J. Scott-Taggart. “It makes no difference whether or not I do it.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes 49 (1975): 171-209.
VanDeMark, B. “GLOVER, JONATHAN. Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century.” ANNALS-AMERICAN ACADEMY OF POLITICAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE 1.578 (2001): 15-400.