Which is why I have said that one of the biggest scourges of the modern era is Moral Relativism. The destruction of solid moral values in society have led to increases in aberrant behavior because of the "If it works for you,do it" mentality. Cases in point: The attempts to legalize pedophilia (the ACLU is representing the N.A.M.B.L.A group), attempts to legalize having more that one spouse, the attempt to legalize many illegal drugs....
I thought some time about this argument, and have a few comments to make about it, for I am not sure precisely what is meant, and whether it is completely valid.
I wonder, which is more beneficial to society, a Moral Relativists (whatever that implies) or a Moral Absolutist. It see seems to be that someone who believes moral values not to be absolute would be more open to discussing the basis of morality and certainly more willing to allow others the freedom of belief in differing values than would someone who dogmatically held that one set of values (naturally his very own) was absolutely true. In which kind of society would the peaceful arts, science, and the advancement of mankind flourish more? A rhetorical question, at least on my part.
The "destruction of solid moral values" (read: those I believe in)" ...have led to increases in aberrant behavior...." This appears to argue that a MR would not be able to have "solid" moral values even though he did not think they were written in stone (as it were). I am not so sure this is the case, since I know many people who could be classified as MR, but who take their morality quite seriously, and perhaps MORE seriously than MAs. For example, Sartre certainly believes (Being and Nothingness, or read his translator, Hazel Barnes's An Existentialist Ethics) that knowing the one chooses one's morality implies the responsibility of choosing that morality for all men.
Then, too, one wonders if the "destruction" of SOLID moral values is a CAUSE or is a SYMPTOM of something else, perhaps more profound, that is happening in society.
Again, I am not sure what "aberrant behavior" is, outside of the definition of not adhering to the normal, or how moral relativism contributes to its increase.
If it did, then one would expect to find the absence of "aberrant behavior" in any highly ethically structured society, which is contrary to the history of mankind. Even in the Middle Ages, which is as close to a morally unified society as I can think of off hand, aberrancy certainly did not disappear; quite the contrary- - - and despite all the attempts to inforce a common standard upon all by church and state.
If one were perhaps talking about "ethical aberrancy" then surely any society dominated by Moral Relativism, aberrancy would actually decrease, because there would be no accepted (or imposed from above) standard against which to measure it, against which to "go astray." Perhaps the the word "aberrant" is not the best choice here, since one could certainly argue that - - -at least in some areas of human endeavor---"marching to a different drummer" has been a powerful agent in the advancement of humanity. Gluck, Beethoven, and Stravinski composed aberrant music in their time. Galileo or Bruno thought as "differently" in matters of science as did Luther in matters of religion. Consider the history of mankind, and the the majority of people whom we admire may fairly be said to be those who swam against the current of their milieu.
And what of the examples provided? Do these support the conclusion?
The ACLU is indeed representing NAMBLA, but only in matters of freedom of speech; certainly the ACLU is NOT attempting to legalise pedophilia, but wishes to protect (even) the NAMBLA's legal rights under the Constitution.
I am not certain WHO is attempting to legalise having more than one spouse, perhaps it comes from Biblical literalists who point out the many of God's chosen had, at least if one looks to the Old Testament, more than one wife. Again, there is indeed a movement to legalise (or perhaps more precisely to regulate) the use of certain drugs; most of these attempts, however, set limits (for example, to those with medical needs and approved by a physician). But all three of these examples, strictly speaking, are legal in nature; and law- - -unless you live in a totalitarian or Talibanized country---has never been shackled to morality and survived for any length of time (Nazi jurisprudence, for a more modern example).
Edited by jgweed, 31 July 2006 - 04:13 AM.