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Weaponizing Moral Relativism
Have you noticed that in the last few years, the term moral relativism has disappeared from the public lexicon? There are those who believe that it has been banished, but they are wrong. In fact, the application of moral relativism has gone underground and its advocates are working tirelessly to meet their agenda, as well as using it to recruit new adherents to their cause.
For those who may have forgotten, moral relativism has a long history. Here’s a working definition:
Moral relativism is the idea that there is no universal or absolute set of moral principles. It’s a version of morality that advocates ‘to each her own,’ and those who follow it say, ‘Who am I to judge?’
This set of ideas allows the people on the Left to justify their doing almost anything, if they determine that it is “moral” and right.” The problem is that they defy the definition, because they are the only ones allowed to decide what is moral; anyone who refuses to go along with them, of course, is immoral or evil. Not only have they demanded that their definitions be accepted by all of society, but they refuse to acknowledge that their decisions to take “right and moral” action can result in cruel, non-compassionate, damaging, anti-social results.
But wait! You say. If they follow moral relativism, then they should respect the choices of others, right? If you look at the examples described below, you can see that hypocrisy is built into the Left’s practices.
So how do they apply moral relativism in these times? Here are three examples:
Compassionate handling of illegal aliens at the border: they claim that allowing nearly anyone to request asylum is the right thing to do, that we are a compassionate and caring nation, even though the cartels are trafficking and raping women and children, people are dying from fentanyl, and border cities are overwhelmed.
Climate change activities will save the planet: they claim that we are protecting ourselves with their commitments to alternative energies and the stopping of fossil fuel production, even though the country is suffering from exorbitant gasoline prices, alternative energies will not be able to replace fossil fuels for many more years, electric vehicles are inadequate for long distances and the need for the rare minerals has made us dependent on our enemies, the degree of man-made contribution to climate change is impossible to measure, and people are having difficulty heating their homes.
Gender fluidity and affirmation provides compassionate care for children: they claim that children can determine their gender from an early age, that providing treatment and surgery for transgender children will relieve their mental and emotional suffering, and that suicides will be prevented, even though suicides have increased after children have transitioned, children are not mature or experienced enough to know if they should change their gender, teachers and counselors are brainwashing children in order to proceed with gender changes, children are mutilated in ways that will likely never be able to be reversed, and the lives of children and their families will be destroyed.
These are just three examples of how moral relativism has been defined to serve the agenda of the Left. In many cases, the themes of compassion and caring are woven through their ideas. By relying on moral relativism, too, they can change their ideas of what is moral and acceptable to meet their goals. Meanwhile, their efforts are meaningless and unworkable, changes will cost millions if not trillions of dollars and lives will be destroyed.
The Left has coopted morality through a philosophy that has been with us for a very long time.
And all of us will pay the price.Published in Culture
Anyone else remember the term “situational ethics”?
It is the most profound example of begging the question that I’ve ever seen.
Well said, Susan. I particularly like the way Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger phrased it in the homily he preached prior to the Conclave at which he was elected pope:
And, the Left combines their moral relativism with a weaponization of tolerance; which to them is forcing us to not only accept all of their evil and nonsense, but to celebrate it as well.
The true meaning of tolerance (from a speech by Archbishop Chaput – I have lost the link):
Same difference, right?
Excellent quotes, Scott! I put in bold the part of the pope’s quote that truly spoke to me. Thanks.
Probably, but I don’t pretend to know. I just remember hearing that term maybe 50 years ago from a fool who thought that one couldn’t make a moral judgement about what he called “hyp0thetical” situations. One had to be there before he had any right to make a moral judgement.
Now that is just another way of justifying cowardice. When I’m there, I might not have the courage and strength to take the moral course of action and I don’t want to be a hypocrite, so I’ll refrain from approving of any general moral criteria.
Indeed. But if we have the moral basis within us, we are more likely to do the right thing, even if we’re scared out of our minds.
I was just thinking of something pretty disappointing. I think the Republicans have been corrupted by the movement of moral relativism. Instead of doing the right things guided by our Judeo-Christian ethic, they’ve decided the right thing is to just get along with others and not stir the pot. Also, for many, stirring the pot could compromise their “benefits.”Nice going, folks.
They are afraid of being called “judgmental”.
I don’t think it’s so much that it went underground as that it won a massive rout of a victory over objective/transcendent morality. It’s not in the lexicon because it isn’t a battle anymore.
It isn’t just people on the left. Any variety of philosophical materialist, and we have those on the right too.
Would you agree that a substantial number on the Left are moral relativists? We have them on the right (as I indicated) but do you think they are substantial in number?
To me, that’s even more disturbing.
Except that relativism allows anything. Some Nietzschian will to power response also allows anything – including imposing your choices and preferences on others. Neither of those responses defies the definition. Enough distance from the residual Judeo-Christian structure and monstrous things become reasonable or simply egg shells to be cracked in order to make the omelette.
We agree here, don’t we?
Oh sorry Susan I think I was typing my comment when you posted that comment.
Yes I agree that virtually all of the left are relativists.
Probably except I thought you were saying that relativistically imposing your “truth” would inherently defy the definition by not respecting the “truths” of others. I think that is internally consistent.
Susan, this isn’t just a particular subset of politicians’ thing, this was an ethic that was promoted by children’s shows when I was growing up. I recall it clearly and have had many conversations about it over the years with people of all political persuasions because it is so counterintuitive to defending one’s interests. They all remembered as I did, and all agreed it was moronic.
You’re absolutely right that it particularly infected Republicans when they were out of power in Congress for decades. You had to go along to get anything for your constituency so you had something to run on for re-election. Our leadership is still attached to this mentality, and, clearly, being out of power is Mitch McConnell’s comfort zone.
Scott, Every quote you offered is a a beautifully expressed analysis of what tolerance should be.
For those inside the bubble of Lefty propaganda, the way out of that bubble becomes more difficult each day.
Like the Right’s top leaders, the Left makes sure that there is top down control.
When I campaigned for Bernie Sanders in 2016, our little group in Lake County was making head way.
People needed to understand who the Clinton Crime Family was, & learn about realities lurking beneath the party of love, pro-poor people, pro-working class.
We also learned we had things in common with those people one might think of as being our opposition.
Often when I was out & about, a guy with a Trump sticker on his truck would approach me with my Bernie sticker on my Prius. We would engage in a meaningful dialogue.
Usually Mr Trumpster would start out with praise: “I’m glad to see you have turned your back on Hillary.”
But when the Sanders org realized that we Lake Countians were defining the struggle against the repressive Dem organization, they sent out the “real organizers.” It was implicit upon their arrival that discussion was frowned on. We should shut up and do as told.
The Trumpsters with their willingness to discuss things led me to realizing the Dems were about ruling thru power. The end.
Mitch McConnell does his best work when he’s doing nothing at all.
To be fair to Mitch it was his mastery of parliamentary rules to do nothing at all.
To be fair, he does nothing so no one can pin responsibility on him. He thinks that’s a wise tactic when the bureaucracy needs to be restrained and the President refuses to enforce the laws Congress made. There is a fight that needs fought right now, if not on behalf of his party, at the very least on behalf of the Legislative Branch.
I think that people are more afraid of being called “bigoted,” and this is the more common criticism. It is leveled at me quite regularly.
One of the challenges to those who believe in absolute moral truth is to determine that truth. I think that moral relativism is the natural result of the doctrine of tolerance. Here at Ricochet, we have regular disagreements between Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. The beliefs of these three groups, while overlapping to some degree, are deeply and irreconcilably incompatible. At least two of the the three must be wrong. It is possible that all three are wrong though, as a Protestant, I believe that Protestantism is correct. Obviously.
There are also a number of people here at Ricochet who seem to think that it is possible to determine moral truth without divine revelation. I think that this is nonsense, and obviously so. Without the divine, frankly, there is no such thing as morality, merely preference. It is utterly impossible to derive a moral code from reason, because reason operates on axioms and, if there is more than one axiom, further requires a decision rule when axioms conflict.
Thus, I find that the moral relativism of our age is the natural consequence both of the materialistic rationalism of the so-called Enlightenment, and the religious tolerance of the Reformation settlement (and, as to the Jews, of the post-WWII period).
I’ve perhaps read too much over my years and it all tends to meld after a while. But David Berlinski mentioned that Socrates once asked whether it’s moral simply because God said so, or was He just acting in a constabulary role and delivering the message?
There is an interesting — to me — debate between Berlinski and Christopher Hitchens on youtube covering some of that philosophical territory.
It seems to me that moral relativism only grows where morality makes no difference to one’s lifestyle. No matter one’s morals, things have gotten better, in terms of stuff, for a good forty years. (Even finance has bought into the “things will only always get better” view and stocks will always go up.)
In a hardscrabble, you-don’t-work-you-don’t-eat world, in which some people actually work to survive and better their lives people take a far less nuanced view of theft and laziness, and I suspect demonstrate more compassion to those in need.
On the other hand, if you and your lifestyle are largely uninfluenced by other people’s moral decisions that fifty years ago would have been called wrong (like for example, getting pregnant outside of wedlock) it doesn’t matter much.
The modern woke morality is not built on reason, right or wrong, or millennia of social and cultural experimentation. It is dictated by people to maintain power and control over a homogenous, like-thinking population that thinks that following the new prevailing morality is good and to be desired — because everyone says so. But for the general population any morality will do when there are no victims of others’ choices of right and wrong.
Killing babies in the womb? That’s a victimless act.
But Title 42 ending and the start of flooding of cities by (formerly) illegal immigrants at the insistence of wokist (I can’t believe I wrote that word) groups appears to perhaps be a beginning of a non-political, non-cattle-herding, non-woke realist backlash. Particularly when things happen like people waiting years for subsidized housing being supplanted by new immigrants being ushered in and given housing before those at the top of the waiting list, people start to realize that there is a right and wrong that really affects them.
All that remains is (at best) to realize (or admit) that morality is not relative and that there is an Absolute Morality that transcends human will and reasoning. And acknowledging that there is a Judgment would help.
Took a course in it in the 70s.
It is often seen with moral preening