“Moral Relativism…is concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different people and cultures…..it holds that because nobody is right or wrong [about what is moral], we ought to tolerate the behavior of others even when we disagree about the morality of it.” – Wikipedia
I’ve been thinking of this idea of Moral Relativism for many reasons. This strange concept of morality seems to be fading away today, here in 2017. But I remember its darkness in this country starting in the early 1970’s. It is a part of the past generation that fostered its broken value systems after 1970 in America. And it represents the core belief of the Postmodern generation, the Baby Boomers, that rose up as youth in America 50 years ago and which now run our political world as they move into the twilight years of their lives.
Moral Relativism is the 1970’s “pomo” idea that it’s OK to steal if you can get away with it even though its wrong, it’s OK to leave your family because everyone else is leaving and divorcing theirs, it’s OK to do drugs because you have the freedom now to do as you like, it’s OK to make up lies about your fellow politicians to rationalize your need to win at all cost, it’s ok that you need your taxes reduced despite the pain it causes the local school system or the suffering poor, it’s ok that you believe in more bombs despite the realization it may end the world someday for future generations, etc. etc. It is the rationalizing of behavior and untruths to protect your crimes.
Moral Relativism is used when we want to be right, even if we know we are wrong. It is what we use to explain our huge appetites for booze, sex, or drugs as we hypocritically tell our kids not to do as we do. It’s the inconsistent comparison of our own shady morality to other “moral world views”, which ironically still fail to change our views of right and wrong when they suddenly do not fit our own failed moral system of the moment.
Moral Relativism is what we have in our government, where despite the past 6 years of children being killed in Syria on television and in the news we have a President who suddenly tells us behind a podium he “has changed” and now cares about Syria because it’s politically convenient, serves his ego, and has now created some shift in his own morality. Moral Relativism is shifting morality based on what is convenient to us, not the absolute morality of the world.
It’s this dark Postmodern, Baby Boomer ideal that reflects the past 50 years of America so profoundly and why we today still have relics of this same evil view permeating our political leaders, our greedy financial systems, our broken tax base, our disappearing religious views, and our failing institutions (like marriage and divorce) on multiple levels.
I’ve seen Moral Relativism in so many books and movies and music the past 40 years. So many fiction writers seem to have all written characters in these same morally-confused ways….where they can murder, rape, and kill in stories, then turn around and fall in love, marry the hero, or become rich for their success on battlefields or from devious political struggle. Its the argument in book fiction today where an author tells us its OK to burn your child at the stake because you are the King of the Kingdom and your new wife says it has to be.
In these novels Moral Relativism has risen up the past 30 years to say there is no right or wrong, only “shades of gray” morality. It’s the moral view that decides what is right day-to-day not what some religious dogma or legal doctrine says is right for our lives.
These are the hallmarks of “Moral Relativism” in our society, our politics, and our fiction…..the evil belief system that says the end justifies the means. And it’s that singular rational belief that has formed the foundation of it since the 1970’s. It is why America morally has declined where no one trusts each other. The truth has long been hidden from us since 1965 of what is truly moral, good, right, and just in us and in our society. We all have accepted so easily this darker, drug-addicted, sex-addicted, immoral world that for years none of us had any idea what was truly good in people beyond what our grandparents had once shared with us.
Moral Relativism spawned it all, this deep doubt about our fellow Man, this strange relative moral order the older generations seemed to have so quickly embraced so many decades ago. But we do not……we reject it. But why?
The truth is, there is no moral high ground left for any of us under Moral Relativism and Postmodern views……only the truth can now save us, saying, “Yes! there is a real morality left somewhere in our hearts, in our faith, in our society, and in our kids! Just search for it. It is still there buried under the lies.”.
It is the TRUTH of that reality we all now see that’s been held too long in denial by the aging Postmodernists. Humanity is good! We are not all programmed for greed, to lie, to steal, or to pick and choose morality when its convenient. The end does NOT justify the means any more, does it? Morality and goodness is inherent in us and in our kids. It is an absolute. If it wasn’t we would just be Machiavellian animals competing for resources and mates on some doomed, dystopian stage of life.
But that is not how we truly view our lives, or the world, or the people in it. We seek something more…a hidden and long denied “moral order”…don’t we?
The fact us, we are civilized men and women like our grandparents, like the Modernists that came before the Postmodernists of 1965. We believe in a good world, and better world, and connected society if loving supportive people like we had prior to 1969.
But that will take work. We can do it because we are not animals but intellectuals who can live by moral plurality or absolutes if we choose. We no longer have to doubt everything.
Based on our own sense of moral order we can reclaim what’s “good” in us again and make our own inherent and religious moral framework live again in our society and in our children’s hearts, not because it’s right or a book says it must be so, but because we all see it is who we naturally are in our hearts and spirits as good human beings.
The good news is that Moral Relativism and its bastard-child, Postmodern, seem to be slowly fading from America today in 2017, disappearing slowly before our eyes naturally, slithering down into cracks, and fading like a dark mist to let the sunshine of our heart’s true goodness shine again and be valued again. Despite the dire political leaders the Boomers have elected one last time, the youth now see the moral failures of their parents quite clearly……the evil world and its failed moral “Me” value system which the Boomer generation created and cultivated the past 50 years…..the shady ethics in business and human dealings that now must be changed back to what they were pre-1965…. the new ideas that must be pushed forward to something better in society as a whole.
It feels like it is now just a matter of time before the people that have hoisted Moral Relativism’s failed views on us pass away and take with them this fallen moral code. I see again the beauty of the younger generations and the young kids again, returning to play again in the green grass and the warm sun, feeling safe again from predators, innocent and loving, trusting of each other and the world, hopeful, and generous in spirit as they once were years and years ago.
These beautiful children, like my own, are finally free of fear and the hate, the doubts, and the darkness of Moral Relativism which took hold in the America I remember 50 years ago. And so they are free to be good again and teach our society, retrain it, to accept and nurture the noble “moral order” America once believed in prior to 1965.