Any serious consideration of Moral Relativism, apart from a view of the state of society today, must also discuss both conservatism and the role it has in maintaining, if not restoring Western Civilisation, if only because the radical left is doing all it can to unravel the very best of our institutions our civilisation is utterly dependent upon.
Before continuing any further, I need to come out. No, I’m not in the slightest bit gay, but I have to say I do watch SKY News. Not everything, because I instantly switch off when Nicholas Reece, or Peter van Onselen, Kristina Keneally or Patricia Kavalas come on. I appreciate much that Andrew Bolt has to say, and I love the rapport Paul Murray has with his panellists and his hearty laugh endears most to him. But neither Andrew nor Paul are true conservatives and anyone that says he is an atheist and a supporter of SSM in the same sentence is suspect as far as I’m concerned. Well, actually Andrew Bolt says he’s an agnostic, which is like sitting on a barb-wired fence without any pants on.
Personally, I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there as to what a conservative actually is. Such a person is not a reactionary, as most ‘progressives’ would have you believe. Rather he aims to preserve, even defend the best our culture has to offer: family values, including the honouring of one’s parents; cohesive communities; both justice and rule of law (I see a slight distinction there); the Church and a continuing role for it in society; a love of one’s country and a preparedness to lay down one’s life for one’s country; and an understanding that, as Edmund Burke says, society involves a vital contract, ‘a partnership . . . not only amongst those that are alive, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born’. So we preserve and honour our inheritance, and we live in such a way that we hold dear all that is good in our society, and maintaining those values for those who are either children, or are not yet born: in other words our future. Unfortunately these are all values the ‘progressives’ seek to undermine.
As I see it, there are some inherent problems with atheism and a whole lot more with homosexuality (and unfortunately the two often go hand in hand, excuse the unintended pun). The atheist puts Man at the centre of the universe, and the homosexual puts his questionable lifestyle ahead of the fundamental purpose of traditional marriage, viz. producing the next generation. Believe me, adoption is a cop out, because he, or they, didn’t contribute anything towards bring the adoptee into the world: someone else did.
The irony is that the Atheist still enjoys all that Christianity passed on down to us, by way of our legal system; our Westminster system of government; the institution of marriage; and the Ten commandments that form the basis of our legal system (though the atheist would leave out the first commandment as enunciated by Christ, ‘to love the lord your God with all your heart and all your mind’). But the other commandments are fundamental to our security and peace of mind, even the essence of the second commandment, to love one’s neighbour as oneself, normally translated as ‘do unto others as you would have done unto yourself’, in other words treat everyone fairly. Indeed our road rules enforce this same idea of respect for all other road users, though it gets a bit tricky with regards to cyclists.
As I understand it, Moral Relativism, being essentially nihilistic, begins to unpick much of what we consider to be both reasonable, and more particularly, fair. The British conservative philosopher, Roger Scruton argues that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights gave this process a head of steam, but even before this, Scruton mentions Jean Paul Sartre, a French existentialist who said, in as many words, that there is no position from which I may be judged except my own. Indeed Sartre believed that ultimately, as there is no absolute truth, only he himself could be the rightful judge of his own ideas. This is, of course essentially nihilistic, because it seems to deny the influence of community, or even of shared ideas.
You see, the Christian has no doubt that there is Absolute Truth, this being the reference point for all human endeavour, and that which gives him a sense of enduring security, comfort and gives meaning to life. Those who believe in Moral Relativism attempt to overthrow this by claiming that one idea is as good as another. Perhaps this will ultimately lead to the totalitarian alternative of ‘my ideas are the only ones that count for anything, the rest of you can get stuffed’. Indeed this seems to be playing out at Evergreen State College , Washington. When the students refuse to either debate, or even listen to why their Jewish ‘progressive’ professor Bret Weinstein felt he should be allowed to violate a student-mandated ban on whites being allowed in common areas on a blacks only day. I mention Weinstein’s ethnic origins only on the basis that he felt outraged by this wacko convention, because he saw himself as a disadvantaged ‘minority group’ person (a Jew).
The students adopted the moral high ground with regard to a ‘reverse racism’ convention, and one needs to emphasise it was only a convention, a sort of tradition, not a regulation, but one that was both irrational and utterly divisive, and one that would have been thoroughly exposed had Weinstein been permitted to use ‘dialectics’ in his own defence.
As far as the students were concerned their ideas, albeit based on emotions, were the only ones that counted.
Roger Scruton had been accused of confusing Moral Relativism with simple nihilism, and in a sense one can see where the critic was coming from, except for the fact that he, the critic, made a distinction in the first place: there is none.
The essential problem with Moral Relativism is that it actually leads to nihilism, or anarchy, if you will, in that it tears down customs, conventions and traditions that have existed for millennia and fails to replace the resulting dystopia with anything one can lay a hand on. As Edmund Burke once said: the answers to social questions are not invented, but discovered over time, yet a Moral Relativist has indeed ‘invented’ his ideology.
Burke’s position, like Scruton’s is that of the conservative.