That seems to be the unspoken implication of an article i read recently about morality. The article features Jonathan Haidt’s ‘Moral Foundations’ theory, which purports to explain why morality varies among different cultures on the one hand while still showing some striking similarities on the other hand. The theory suggests that there are five universal foundations. Each culture in turn 'selects' a few of those foundations and builds traditions, norms and rituals upon them to construct a commonly shared morality. The five foundations in brief are:
1) Harm/care, related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. This foundation underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturing.Using the American political spectrum as a kind of case study, Haidt suggests that liberals tend to value harm/care and fairness above all else, while conservatives emphasize ingroup loyalty, authority and purity. He takes pains to suggest neither value grouping is objectively better than the other, merely different. I agree with him since there's no good evidence to suggest otherwise. What’s more, not only are values and moral biases at least in part, genetically heritable, the particular society a person is born into very often also plays an decisive role. What those two facts make clear is that conscious choice is not a relevant factor when it comes to generating most people’s sense of ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ As one author puts it, since most people cannot see what comes before (genetics, history and culture), they assume what comes after (their beliefs, biases and morality) are freely chosen. It’s obvious they are not. Moreover, not only are the moral biases that many empaths swear, live and die by not freely chosen, they are not even rational. The evidence coming in from research on morality indicates that emotions, gut reactions, play a leading role in moral judgments and that rationalization of those judgments follow. The human brain is a belief factory, and part of its job is to rationally justify moral feelings.Iif people want to reach a conclusion, they usually find a way to do so that has little to do with anything resembling sound theory or evidence; in short, it has little to do with reality. This partly explains why sociopaths can see the hypocrisy and absurdity that often passes for moral debate.
2) Fairness/reciprocity, related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. This foundation generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy.
3) Ingroup/loyalty, related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. This foundation underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it's "one for all, and all for one."
4) Authority/respect, shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. This foundation underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
5) Purity/sanctity, shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. This foundation underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).
Which brings us back to the subject. The sociopath is born with much less in the way of moral biases. We don’t need to justify our actions to ourselves, although we may go through the motions of justification with others because we know that’s what they expect and doing so is sometimes useful. More importantly, it’s clear to us in a way that it might not be for most empaths that when it comes to morality, there are as many ‘due norths’ as there are people. Until convincing evidence to the contrary comes in, there’s no reason to fix our so called broken moral compasses. We don’t need no stinkin' moral compass. Reality based thinking works just fine.