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Thursday, September 25, 2003
Moral Clarity vs. Moral Relativism
The prevalence of Moral Relativism in Western Society today just may be the single most challenging, if not outright dangerous, impediment to the safety, security and quality of life not just of the US and the West, but of the world in general. The idea that there is no real standard for right and wrong beyond those established by a specific government or societal structure is inherently dangerous. This says that the concept of right and wrong is culturally based, and in fact is really a matter of personal choice. What’s right to you, is not necessarily what’s right to me. This point of view is dangerous whether it is based upon the naïve notion that the truth is malleable and purely subjective to the way in which it is viewed culturally, philosophically or socio-economically, or when it is based on the equally flawed notion of “might makes right,” the extreme Darwinian view that truth is established by the strong, by the victors. In this point of view, the Nazis were only wrong because they lost.
Make no mistake, I believe that it is vitally important that we are and remain the strongest Nation on the planet, but we should also remain righteous and committed to promoting innate and inherent freedoms, values, and protections to all. This is not a Judeo-Christian notion, nor intended to be a religious argument in any way. This simply gives us our undeniable strength of purpose.
Moral relativism, no matter its theoretical basis, inevitably leads to the conclusion that no side in any given conflict is more “right” than the other. In this way, we view and treat terror and Democracy equivalently. We are asked to “see” the conflict from the terrorists’ point of view. On the left, and not just the extreme left, this leads to chronic and unwarranted self-debasement, self-criticism and self-disgust. A challenge and finally a rejection of our own values – often masked by a gross and tragic re-interpretation of what those values are. And from what I’ll call the extreme Darwinian perspective, Moral Equivalence dictates simply that the stronger side must be victorious regardless of their moral standing. This may even be more dangerous than the leftist viewpoint, because here relativism destroys our core beliefs of truth and justice and the nobility of the country and values that we must support and defend. This will inevitably undermine that country’s ability to persevere through a conflict in which the enemy does not also subscribe to the relativist ideology.
Moral Equivalence once ingrained, and again regardless of its theoretical basis, will eventually usurp our ethical advantage over our enemies. This is true of the US. This is true of our allies (i.e. Israel). Through Moral equivalence – ideological warfare if I may be so bold – our enemies may be able to accomplish what they never could through conventional means – a weakening of our will, an erosion of our own moral clarity, a rift between ourselves and our long-term allies who once shared our antiquated notions of right and wrong, and in the end, our own self destruction.
We can never allow ourselves to view those who would teach generation after generation that any group of people are less than human – infidels – unworthy of equal standing in the eyes of God or humanity; people who would allow their children to be used as pawns to seek out murder other children for the specific intention of striking fear, inciting hatred and preventing peace; we can never allow ourselves to view those people as just another entity protecting it’s own self-interests – no more right or wrong than ourselves. This is the notion that allows us to view our leaders and Al Quaeda, or Israel and Hamas, with an equivalent eye, and allows us to view a murdered five year old girl or a six month old infant as a “soldier” simply because someone with an opposing point of view wanted to advance their cause.
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