Oh my gosh what a long and excellent contribution. Thank you Charles - it is going to take me some time to go through this!
I think I agree with most of this with the possible exception of this, which might just be that I have an issue with the wording:Quote
we cannot blame and punish other hedonists but rather express condemnation at shortsighted behavior, likewise we cannot fault others who act only on their behalf for the purpose of securing a safe future for themselves, whether financially or physically.
My issue would be that ultimately I think the issues of praise and blame need to be separated from issues of what we do in actual response. We can fully understand a hungry tiger charging toward us to eat us, or to kill us so its infants can eat, but that does not mean that we should hesitate for a second to restrain it from killing us, or hesitate to kill it to stop it from eating us or our friends in the future.
I think this is a function of how there is no universal good or evil - there is only a context in which we must act for "our own" good or that of our friends.
Ultimately I think that is the point of your post but I know people struggle with this because they want a "mutual benefit" result when often that is not a practical possibility, and they don't want to admit that there is no natural or divine or ideal justification that vindicates our desire for the mutual benefit. We can and should act toward that where we can, because it pleases us, but the first step of reality is to see that this desire is based in our own pleasure (when it does exist) rather than divinely annointed.