Questions for Moral Relativists
Out of the blue the other day, a fellow began commenting on a nearly-five-year-old post in which I referenced a letter he’d written from his (liberal) point of view. That post, and his comments, are here. Incidentally, because he did not clearly identify himself, I didn’t at first realize who it was who was writing, as may be evident in my first response to him.
Briefly, in his original piece, the gentleman writes, “one person’s morals may not apply to someone else. Morals are, for the most part, personal views, and cannot be forced on people.”
I would term this “moral relativism”, the idea that morality differs from person to person. Now, let me add to clarify: it is certainly true that different individuals view morals differently, that what one person believes is moral and right may be, in another person’s eyes, entirely wrong. That’s not what I’m arguing against; we all see things differently. What I’m arguing against is any viewpoint that says that all viewpoints are morally equal; I submit that we cannot say that one particular moral system is just as valid as any other. I argue instead that there is one standard of true morality, that whether I, or the writer of the article, or anyone else may choose to agree with it or not is immaterial: morality is morality, and it isn’t subject to individual choice. Put another way, anyone’s standard that deviates from God-ordained standards of right and wrong is a wrong standard; my standard is the wrong standard to the degree that it misses God’s standard. By definition, then, far from “one person’s morals (not applying to) everyone else”, real morality stands above any individual, and applies to every individual.
At any rate, rather than belabor points I made back then, I will ask any moral relativists reading to simply attempt a cogent answer to any of the following questions (take your pick; they all lead ultimately to the same place):
– If my morality suggested that punching you in the nose was the right thing to do, could you fault me for acting in keeping with my morality? How? Why?
– Was Hitler wrong to exterminate 6 million Jews if to his way of thinking he was acting morally (i.e., advancing the Aryan race)? On what basis, if morals are “personal”?
– Is it wrong to torture babies for fun and profit? Why, if doing so doesn’t violate my personal standard of right and wrong?
Attempted answers that stick to one of the questions will be addressed with respect; “answers” that devolve into name-calling, stereotyping, or anything else will be deleted.