The Left's Moral Relativism
Moral relativism, prominently on display in current events, is an anathema to the transcendent, objective moral standards necessary to distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad.
President Obama's recent Mideast trip included a press conference in Ramallah where he stood under a conspicuously large banner of Yassar Arafat, former chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, responsible for the deadly bombings of hundreds of innocent Israeli civilians.
Conservative pundits promptly questioned the willingness of our incessantly "optics" conscious president to be photographed against a backdrop of Arafat's image. They contrasted this with his administration's previous request to cover up all religious symbols visible in the backdrop at a speech given at the Roman Catholic-based Georgetown University in 2009.
As expected, the fawning liberal media came to the president's defense responding that this was all much ado about nothing. One prominent liberal analyst on a cable news network took the opportunity to expound further. He opined that, though the Israeli's considered Arafat to be a terrorist, the Palestinian people revered him as a freedom fighter, similar to the way in which American's revered George Washington who was viewed by the British as an outlaw rebel.
One hopes that discerning viewers would have immediately detected the glaring flaw in this comparison. General Washington was the commander of an army engaged in a war with the army of a combatant nation. He was not involved in the murder of innocent British civilians, nor did he abscond with money given to fund his military campaigns, as Yassar Arafat did, amassing a secret portfolio estimated at $1.3 billion USD by 2002, despite the degrading economic conditions of the Palestinian people.
This liberal commentary is a perfect example of the moral relativism that is a part of the liberal/progressive belief system dominating our educational system, mainstream media, and current government.
Morals are an inculcated set of universal social principles that promote the survival and progress of people and societies. They function as a guide to individual conduct in a societal context. Morals are the standard by which we are able to distinguish right from wrong, good from bad. If one were to query the word "moral", one would find synonyms such as ethical, good, honest, decent, proper, honorable, and just.
Moral Relativism is the precarious philosophical position that moral judgments are different across different people and different cultures. The terms "good" and "bad," "right" and "wrong" do not stand subject to universal truth conditions, rather they are relative to the traditions, practices and views of the group or society in which they are constructed.
Consistent with the utopian, radical egalitarian core of their belief system, liberal/progressives believe that no group or society is better than any other, and that the different moral views held by others cannot be judged as superior or inferior, or right or wrong. Furthermore, they believe that one must tolerate the behavior of others even when one disagrees about the morality of that behavior.
The egalitarian appeal of moral relativism is exemplified in the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, who stated that the problem of morality is that those who were considered "good" were the powerful nobles who had more education, and considered themselves better than anyone below their rank. They determined the standards to perpetuate their values and status. This theory nicely reinforces the narrative of class warfare between oppressors and the oppressed that so animates the liberal/progressive impulse.
Common sense would contend that civilization could not be sustained for long if the universal objective moral standards of right and wrong and good and bad did not exist. It would be impossible for people to definitively distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Without such standards, disagreements could not be arbitrated if both disagreeing parties were considered to be correct and their behaviors could not be judged. Murderers could not be brought to justice if one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. The chaos that would arise as a result of this foolishness is self-evident.
This is another example of the stunning incoherence and contradictory nature of liberal/progressive thinking. Larrey Anderson, a frequent contributor to American Thinker, has described the folly of moral relativism as:
A standard of standard-less behavior... Where society agrees to a social contract to have no social contract...fostering a cult of tolerance, where those who enter avoid the difficult process of making an actual (moral) choice and get to feel good about it...where political correctness enforces this "approved" way of thinking, contradicting the very concept of tolerance that they elevate. (2)
Proclaiming that George Washington and Yasser Arafat are on the same moral plane exposes the intellectual frailty of the liberal/progressive punditry and their moral relativism.