In nature, that is, existence apart from human beings, there is no good or bad behavior. Animals, for example, kill and eat each other and in doing so survive (but survive for what, there is no reason why they should survive for if there is reason for them to survive then there would be reason why they should not kill each other).
Among human beings those called realists actually behave like nature and animals; they do not have a sense of good or bad, they do not have morality; they do that which they believe serves their self-interests, that which makes them survive (but what are they surviving for if it has to be done amorally, there is no reason why they should survive).
American and Western law is predicated on pragmatism; there is no morality in Western laws; by and large, the laws are designed to protect the powerful and exploit the weak and tell him that he is not exploited; the operating philosophy is that people live in a jungle where the strong live off the weak; the fittest survive and weak die out and such is life; don't cry for it.
America is a jungle without morality; the powerful survive at the expense of the weak (while befuddling the weak with what is in the bible that is called morality even though in that same bible the God of Jews told them to kill and displace their neighbors, meaning that there is no morality in the bible, just pragmatism, what serves Jews interests (but if that is the case why should Jews survive; there is no reason why they should survive; they survive because they desire to do so but that does not make other people to go along with them).
IDEALISM LIKE REALISM IS A TOTAL LIFE STYLE
If you are an idealist that frame of reference permeates your entire life style; idealism is a total life style; if you are idealistic you are idealistic in every aspect of your life.
The idealist engages in wishful thinking; he uses imagination to wish to magically alter reality and make it as he thinks that it should be: perfect (what is perfection...it is a mental construct not an empirical reality).
By the same token, realists are realistic in every aspect of their lives; realism is a total life style. Realists do practical jobs like law, engineering, medicine, science, finance and accounting etc. Idealists do philosophy, psychology and social work and other professions in which they wish to change themselves and people; idealists run into brick walls and are frustrated.
Realists rule the world while idealists complain about the world.
No one can change his dominant life style; that is, idealists cannot become realistic or realists become idealistic; each pursues vocations that suit their needs.
The idealistic person tries to superimpose his purely mental constructs of morality, good and bad behaviors on people. He is the one that uses his thinking and imagination to come up with what he calls good or bad behaviors and tries to superimpose them on society. He feels guilty when he does not live up to his idea of good behavior and wants other people to feel guilty if they do not do what he calls the right thing.
Of course, other people, especially the realists do not feel guilt from doing the wrong thing for they do not recognize what the idealist calls the wrong thing as wrong thing.
Approaching the world from good and bad, morality is an idealistic thing to do; in reality there is no good and bad in nature. Good and bad is when nature affects you negatively; but what to you is negative may be positive for the entirety of nature.
Consider the eruption of volcanoes: they kill people; but they are also responsible for the production of such islands as the Hawaiian Islands that today folks consider tropical paradise!
Nature can visit a town with earthquake, volcano, hurricane, tsunami, flood, tornado, plague of diseases like Ebola etc. and wipe out thousands of people regardless of whether they are good or bad people (what is good or bad people). There is no good or bad in nature, period; to say otherwise is to be idealistic and confused.
In international politics political actors are generally categorized as either idealistic or realistic; realists see the international arena as a jungle where the strong rule and the weak are eaten; they believe that their nations ought to be strong or else strong nations would eat them up; they strive for balance of power as the only way to maintain peace in the world (while secretly striving for superior power for their nation).
Human behavior has consequences. If you do not believe in morality and harm other people they would not like it; since they want to live they would protect themselves; sometimes their self-defense may mean attacking and harming or even killing you. Thus, pragmatism requires you not to harm other people unless you are willing for them to harm you and not complain about it.
Pragmatism is based on enlightened rational self-interests actuating people's social behaviors.
What is called positive law, the law that prevails in the Western world is predicated on pragmatism: here, law is meant to protect our mutual self-interests; laws protect people as they play in society (laws generally favor the powerful; in America law favors white folks over black folks); positive law does not worry about morality.
What is called natural law is proposed by religionists; they posit the notion that there are natural laws. For example, they say that God forbids abortion. Really? Does that God that tells them not to kill innocent children also tell them not to kill Indians and take over their lands or enslave Africans and use their labor to make life pleasurable for them?
Listen, let us not waste our time with so-called natural law, for in nature people do all sorts of things and get away with them and no god stops them.
Adolf Hitler decided that he did not like Jews and killed six millions of them, and that he did not like Slavs and killed fifty million of them and the Christian god or any other religion's god did not stop him.
The fact is that if you decide to kill people you can do so and get away with it and no god would stop you; the only people that would stop you are the people you want to kill, if they are armed and are prepared to kill you before you killed them. Hitler wanted to kill all Russians and take over their lands; Russians resisted him and eventually chased the German army all the way from Moscow to Berlin. Power is what keeps people alive and free.
As realists tell us, we live in a jungle and that is all there is to it. Of course, one should love and respect other people if one wants them to love and respect one. Please notice that I said should which is a moral concept, an artificial construct. I am aware that should do not always operate in the real world. In reality most Western governments do not love and respect their people; they kill people; anti-social persons kill people.
I am not asking you to engage in antisocial behavior. If you do society would protect itself by arresting and imprisoning you; I am merely stating that in nature there is no morality, good or bad behaviors; you make of this reality what you like.
You take the consequences of your behavior and cannot say that I told you to do this or that. If you steal from people they will organize, and should organize, and hunt you down and arrest and jail you or even kill you.
Organized society requires laws that most people obey; the alternative is chaos and social insecurity.
June 9, 2015