I wouldn't over analyze alignment its just a rule to prevent extreme actions that don't make sense or give other players an idea of what a character or creature is supposed to be like. For instance, saying a goblin is lawful evil would tell you more about the personality in a nutshell rather than having to spell it out each time.
That's how I view it now Krusten, just making sure you are acting the part and not trying to be as though you're character is bi-polar.
Alignment is just a guide for character behavior but its not a brick wall so loosen up a bit and role play without wondering about if you in or out of your alignment.
While alignment is not something set in stone it is a guide on what your character believes in life. Sometimes things can and will come up that causes a character to act differently than their beliefs in life. As long as one atones for their actions all will good in the world.
Why does alignment need to [be pre-selected] or fixed.The choices of the character would determine the alignment which can actually change mid-game based on those choices.I hold the same view about classes.
So my take on this is that the standard alignment system should probably be universally upgraded at this point by the simple fact that since that system has been initially invented, games have been getting more and more realistic. By that I mean the expectations we consumers and gamers have toward our games has risen. Due to this we have to ask ourselves when we talk about this alignment system from Dungeons & Dragons how could we modify it to fit real humans?
Well, first of all real humans actually change. We are volatile creatures and through wisdom we can change our habits, our expectations, and especially and most relevant, our ideals. If it's true that our very ideals about life change throughout our lives, then we can deduce that any alignment system would need to also be able to change with the person.
In other words, if I'm a 19 year old and I consider myself Neutral Good, this might only be due to the fact that all I've experienced thus far in my life are things and challenges that I've been able to overcome no matter how difficult they were, you overcame everything so from your perspective, with effort anything can be accomplished. Such people will typically be pretty good people. However that same 19 year old might go out into the adult world and just get taken advantage of by all sorts of people, they might exploit him for money, or anything. Perhaps he will witness people he felt were his best friends in life betray him, or a woman cheat on him etc.. Etc.. The point is, by 30 perhaps that same neutral good kid has now become a chaotic neutral person. Does this mean that his current personality betrays the alignment that he used to be? I think it just means he grew up. That is why I say ultimately alignment cannot be static. Ideally it will change as a person changes.