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The Bases And Philosophy Of Ethics - Part 5

9- The communist View on the Philosophy of Ethics.

In the eyes of communists, ethics as well as sciences, philosophy, arts and law and other influential social factors depend heavily on economics and production means.

The slavery, feudalism and capitalism each had its specific characteristics which were doomed to failure in subsequent periods. At the rule of communists, there is a special ethics dominating the society. For instance, extortion, hegemony, theft, confiscation and hurting people all belong to the era of agriculture, feudalism and capitalism. All these are done away with at the time of proletariat and communism, Then it is claimed that these are substituted for by justice, equality and freedom.

However, in the communist system, an act is considered ethical if it can boost the development of the society and can advance the society from the agricultural, feudalistic and capitalistic stage towards the communist state.

Thus, if providing the hungry people with food and supplying the naked men with clothing and the curing of the sick all cause the communist revolution to halt, then these acts are unethical. On the other hand, if not stopping tyranny and not bridging the gaps between people make the revolution successful, then these acts are considered ethical and appropriate!

The communists believe that

    "الغايات تُبَرر المباديء"

"The objective justifies the means"

Since communism relies on principles such as the following:

a) The principles of dialectic materialism.

b) Historical materialism.

c) Historical determinism.

d) Economics as the underlying structure.

e) The notion that all revolutions are heading toward socialism.

f) The idea that the society is the base and everything should be sacrificed.

g) The notion that everything is dependant upon the production means even beliefs and moral affairs.

And since each one of the above principles has been found wrong, there is no room left for an act to be ethical, especially if it is of compulsory nature.67 The disintegration of the communistic society and the misery that such a system has forced on millions of people are clear clues to the unfounded nature of the communist system.

Thus, the claim that the criterion for an ethical act should be its impetus to make the process of communism smooth and easy is completely unfounded and ridiculous. This is clearly shown by the disintegration of the communist states of our time.68

10.1- The Relativity of Ethics in Hegel's view

Hegel, like communists, is of the opinion that society is always in progress and evolving. He assigns some features to each epoch and believes these features are revealed through the spirit of time.

However, some features and temperaments, such as chastity and restricted relations of men and women could be considered good at a specific era of time, such as at the agricultural age, but may be considered improper at another age, such as the age of automation.

Of course, this notion suffers from other drawbacks as well:

a) Is every society heading towards perfection? Societies, like vegetation, sometimes progress and at times deteriorate.

b) What is meant by "the spirit of time"? Who has discovered it? How do we know that these changing features are caused by the spirit of time?

c) Who has said that chastity was good at one time but bad now?

d) Who can consider some human traits such as justice, sacrifice and generosity good at one time but bad at other time?69

Thus, how is it feasible that, on the basis of an imaginary item called "the spirit of time", we should consider ethics a relative thing when we are aware that it has a deep root in man's innate – being?


67. In this regard refer to the Philosophy of Ethics; Lectures on the philosophy of Ethics; The pseudo–philosophers; The Marxsist dialectic methods; Lessons on Marxism; The government of justice after communism; Communism and Democracy; An Evaluation of marxism; Going Astray; An Analysis on marx; society and History from the viewpoint of Qur’an; A critic on Marxism; History and society; The Gorbachev USSR.

68. Return to p.16

69. Education in Islam, pp.96-97.

Adapted from: "Imam 'Ali's First Treatise on The Islamic Ethics and Education" by: "Zainol Aabideen Qorbani Lahiji"