This is what I take you to be saying:
1) The fundamental moral nature of a human being is a disposition to be good.
2) This property essentially defines the "functional" nature of a human being, such that a perfectly functioning individual is a compassionate empathetic one.
3) Thus a good person is one that tends to match this ideal.
4) Because we are intrinsically good, being good is in our true self interest.
5) By pursuing our true self interest, we are living up to our ideal self-image and thereby living an authentic life.
6) There are many different ways a person can be good.
...What still seems to be missing is what determines goodness....
Now, if you take the compassion out of your system, I can't see anything left that would make it a remotely moral one ... if we leave it in, it is still unclear what use your system is to guide real moral behaviour as you do not explain how to resolve the competing interests of people for whom you are expectd to have compassion.
You use Mitt Romney as an example of a ... inauthentic person, but it is not clear what principles are being used to judge him ... Even if he is as self-serving as you suggest, your ethical system, if it is to be respected, surely has to address an argument and show why it is wrong in itself, before it can presume to judge the motivations or ignorance of its advocates.
I go along with points 1 through 3 that you list above. In point 4, I notice you are using the term "Intrinsic" at variance with the system ...and that is understandable since you only a read a snippet of the system instead of the system-as-a-whole. The opportunity was right there in front of you but somehow you skipped over it.
It sounds too like you haven't read my other posts here at the Ethical Theory Forum, as they speak to the question you write: "what use your system is to guide real moral behaviour?".
If one adheres to the Ethical principles which the system implies and generates, one will intuitively (or deliberately at first) know what to do in the face of 'a competing interest', namely find common ground - such as a concern for freedom, or for safety - and build upon that, using nonviolent communication (nvc) [which you can research on the web if you are unfamiliar with it], and showing personal respect for the one holding the uneducated-in-Ethics view, being very diplomatic, asking questions, making friends with him or her, and hoping that some day he or she may ask you what you believe
once the bond of friendship has been formed.
I would rephrase Point 5 as Having an awareness
that being authentic and empathic, and promoting the happiness and well-being of others, IS in one's own self-interest.
As to Point 6, there are many ways to be 'bad'; only one way to be good, some features of that way which you list and which were mentioned in paragraphs 3 and 4 on p. 20 as well as at the bottom of page 22 in A Unified Theory of Ethics [url]hytp://tinyurl.com/27pzhbf[/url]
The system recommends that you maintain your autonomy and individuality
, appreciate and treasure diversity (both of culture and of viewpoint), embrace those Intrinsic Values defined in End Note 4, and in general go in the direction of I-Value. Are you familiar with the HOV? Or with the three considerations if a moral dilemma arises? I mentioned them in a recent post. Choose the one defined by I (over E and S) and you can't go wrong. Creating value is what it's all about - as an entire chapter in the UTE informed you.
And how you can write that "seems to be missing is what determines goodness" really baffles me !!!
I have devoted so much space to that !
The very definition of "morality" in the system is derived from the Axiom of Value which constitutes the definition of "x is a good
C." In the case of an individual, say Bertrand Russell, the X is a proper name - in this case "Bertie." The Formula becomes: x is a good X. That means the individual, x, lives up to his true Self, thereby being honest, transparent (in motives), genuine, sincere, empathic, kindly, etc. x is a member of a unit-class, he is singular, and if you value him correctly, you will see him as "unique."
You write "it is not clear what principles are being used to judge him ." First of all, I don't judge him - nor anyone else. My theory of Ethics teaches me not to (morally) judge a person. I stand in judgment of no one
I spent many years as a psychotherapist; judgmentalism is out of the question for me. Satirizing public figures is okay, especially if they are extreme panderers. How would you size up one who takes every position on every issue? Authentic? Hardly.
With your grasp of the Means-Ends relationship, what do you make of those who advocated 'limited government', want to get rid of it altogether, but who strive to become a part of it? They want to join it but have no use for it.
Willard (Mitt for Banes) Romney requested federal money to implement his health-care plan in the state he governed, yet he swears he is opposed to government spending. Hypocrisy?? He intends to repeal the national copy of his own plan, and would let each state decide on its own health-care policies .... 50 different policies. Does that seem like a practical solution to you?
If you live in the U.S.A. you may be a Republican if you believe:
* Climate change is a liberal hoax.
* "Moderate" is a dirty word.
* Corporations are people too.
* Warren Buffet's secretary should pay taxes at a higher rate than he does.
* Creationism is a valid alternative to evolution.
* Extremely profitable oil companies should continue to receive government subsidies.
* Fox News is fair and balanced.
* Grover Norquist is a true statesman.
* Assault weapons are appropriate for self-defense.
* Barack Obama is a Muslim and/or a foreigner.
* The poor have too much money and the rich don't have enough.
And if - at the end of your post - you are asking "why it is wrong in itself?" and the "it" refers to being 'self-serving' (which in this context suggests to me "selfishness"), I respond: That is the antithesis of being ethical. After all, I devoted a whole chapter to that topic of self-interest vs. selfishness in ETHICS: A College Course. http://tinyurl.com/24cs9y7
- Chapter 9, pp. 47-53. Do you really
want me to reproduce the entire argument here? Wouldn't it be simpler if you would just read the citation
Is requiring some background knowledge an unreasonable request? Then we can discuss the argument after we both have a familiarity with it. I don't think that's asking too much. I give you credit
for you - unlike some "students of moral philosophy" - at least perused a few pages.