Yes, I realize that political realism suggests that you simply can’t apply morality to politics, that it’s a separate sphere.
No, why are we putting things in spheres?
I’m a little confused by the rest of your post though…are you trying to suggest that morality is bad?
No. Morality just is. It doesn’t have to be good or bad.
Or that morals aren’t anything except a tool, that they don’t exist in any other form?
That’s the most realistic but still not fully attached to the dialectical existence of morality.
Or are you just saying that morality makes no sense as a theoretical construct because it’s only a power ploy (which I would disagree with since a majority of morals are evolutionary traits that often come with some sort of survival advantage).
Why would that make it not make sense? That makes morality make a lot more sense but again it’s not simply one thing or the other thing, it’s a dialectical relationship.
Of course the ruling class exploits that, but what doesn’t the ruling class exploit?
As for your last point, yes, philosophers do debate on a theoretical level, but I don’t think that means it ignores application. Real life examples are used constantly, and Machiavelli is actually discussed in this book. Morality is only meaningful when it’s applied in real life, but I think that understanding what’s going on behind our actions and thinking deeply about whether we should change those actions (yes, on a theoretical level).
Well, yes and no. The point is you have to understand what the ends of those actions is intended to be, and then consider how well those actions fit into achieving those ends. Morality is an appeal to a higher power (a higher religious power, or an appeal to some form of rationality or enlightenment) to legitimise the necessity of those actions when expressed to other people.
So honestly I think that morality is far more than just power plays. Empathy and compassion, two huge motivating factors in morality, are not based upon a sense of power.
Ok. But they are. You cannot remove the relationship of power simply because power isn’t being used to oppress or exploit. If I gave you a loaf of bread because you were hungry, that’s still a power relationship. I have bread, you need bread. I’m not charging you for the bread, or making you work for the bread, but that’s still a relationship of power.
I’m not even sure if I’m entirely understanding what you’re trying to say, the history lesson in the middle of the post didn’t make sense with regard to your point.
The history lesson is entirely to the point, it’s demonstrative of morality as a rhetoric tool rather than a fact in itself. People need some extent of self-determination, so they need to have a vote in a democratic system. The masses do not have direct control nor an individual basis of great power, it’s therefore the electoral system that enables them to amalgamate their expression of power and utilise it in a fashion that can exert control. That’s the base of the issue. The conceptualisation of morality, the rationalisation process through a logical philosophical fashion in the form of human rights is the normative process to express how that power relationship should form. But the morality doesn’t and cannot exist without the power relationship, therefore morality cannot be discussed without relevance to those power relationships.