Warty: How do you solve a problem like Mari . . . Moral Relativism

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.

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36 Responses to Warty: How do you solve a problem like Mari . . . Moral Relativism

  1. max

    Letter to Conservatives by Paul M. Weyrich
    What many of us have been trying to do for many years has been based upon a couple of premises. First of all, we have assumed that a majority of Americans basically agrees with our point of view. That has been the premise upon which we have tried to build any number of institutions, and indeed our whole strategy. It is I who suggested to Jerry Falwell that he call his organization the “Moral Majority.” The second premise has been that if we could just elect enough conservatives, we could get our people in as Congressional leaders and they would fight to implement our agenda.

    http://www.nationalcenter.org/Weyrich299.html

  2. Haidee

    Bolt and Murray: neither is a true conservative. Without a doubt.

    I’m fed up with the term “moral high ground”. Time to bury it; the words “appropriate/inappropriate” can go too.
    What Roger linked to (from The American Conservative), on the church pulling out
    is something that appeals.

  3. Mundi

    One big thing that annoys me is intelligent people often refuse to acknowledge the role of Judo-Christian principles is the success of the west and western culture (and I say that as an Athiest).

    Atheism has no culture, it’s simply a starting point, and it would be insane for anyone to suggest throwing out everything just because it has a religious history.

    There is a colossal difference between saying marriage is a religious construct that shouldn’t involve government, compared to saying that the traditional family unit has no virtue over other family setups.

    I guess the point I am making is that if your are to convince “progressive” people to be conservative, it should be on the basis that it is well tried and proven, and shows the successful history it has played particularly from the 1700s onward.

  4. Stimpson J. Cat

    Judo-Christian

    Of course you mean Christian principles thanks.

  5. IDefender of the faith

    Anyone who can assert that a whole cohort of people – any cohort – has questionable moral values is an idiot.

  6. Stimpson J. Cat

    Anyone who can assert that a whole cohort of people – any cohort – has questionable moral values is an idiot.

    Anyone who can assert that a whole cohort of people – any cohort – are idiots, is an idiot.

  7. stackja

    The new ‘gods’ of today are the problem.

  8. Anthony Park

    Warty, thank you sticking your neck out here, however, I’m sorry to say but much of this post verges on trolling.

    You argue that Christians (and presumably all theists):

    has no doubt that there is Absolute Truth

    .

    Yet having grown up in church I can assure you that doubt plays a role within an individual believers spiritual life. With regards to broader society, we have also become a technological and scientific culture. Scientific thought requires skepticism in the absence of evidence, rational thinking and logical deduction. The foundation of my critical thought can be attributed to my teachers at a strict (Creationist and Pentecostal) high school. This mode of thinking was used to critically analyse other religions to prove that they were unlikely to be true. Of course, as my fellow students and I grew up and accumulated more information about the Christianity we had been born into, we applied the same critical reasoning to that religion and the Church as well. It is no surprise that most of my classmates abandoned churchgoing by their early twenties.

    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).

    Surely, this is trolling. There are plenty of homosexual theists, quite a few of them became Catholic priests.

    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.

    What the actual fuck? What about infertile heterosexual couples who wish to adopt (or foster) orphans or children abandoned by negligent parents? It is one of the most Burkean things a family can do. Even for homosexual couples, it is entirely logical they contribute to society by helping raise abandoned children. What should gay people do otherwise? Party in gay bars forever? Undergo gay conversion ‘therapy’, pretend to be straight and raise a family?

    The atheist puts Man at the centre of the universe.

    There is a broad spectrum of atheist belief. So, no this broad generalisation is untrue. However, if we accept your simplification, wouldn’t this just make athiests have a humanist outlook? A humanist outlook would put co-operation and civilization as a high priority. This is not moral relativism, I’m sure there are people who believe in moral relativism… but I’ve met very few of them, even amongst academics and atheists.

    Finally, you attempt to link atheism with moral relativism and subsequently totalitarianism. It may well be that religious affiliation reduces your desire to be a tyrant. Although, I can certainly tell you that when I left the church plenty of Christians in Victoria were still trying to legislate their morality for the rest of us. A soft totalitarianism to be sure, but still wanting to control the rest of us with the blessings of their own consciences. I think also, if you look through history, you will find a few tyrants who were (at least nominally) religious, Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe spring to mind.

  9. .

    The atheist puts Man at the centre of the universe.

    So do theists. We were made in his image, after all. Plus two out of three Abrahamic faiths believe in an incarnate Messiah.

    The goal of Christianity is to humbly become an equal with Christ.

    Finally, you attempt to link atheism with moral relativism and subsequently totalitarianism.

    Complete garbage. Example: Ayn Rand.

  10. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    What has demolished Christianity is not progressives and their regressive ideas but science.

    The abandonment of superstition for the falsifiability of science, the overthrow of tyranny with democratic rights and freedoms and the maintenance of the christian moral order are the pillars of modern society.

    Unfortunately the facts are that christianity was certainly at times a part of that superstition and tyranny.

    However christianity does provide a moral order and I don’t think we should throw out the baby with the bathwater. An increasing number of people are atheist and that is to be expected with the success of science in its pursuit of truth. That does not stop us from acknowledging christianity’s contribution of a moral code and maintaining it from both a usefulness and pragmatic viewpoint if nothing other than the alternative is inviting a slide back into superstition or tyranny. One has to keep in mind that destruction of the current order is in fact the underlying socialist aim. Moral relativism is not a well intentioned program, it is a tool of destruction dressed up as an enlightened principle.

    Deity/dieties handing down moral codes, discovered vs invented however are just not very convincing arguments in the age of science, except to the believers.

  11. .

    What has demolished the atheist caricuture of “Christianity” or indeed, “Billy Bob” made up “churches” is not progressives and their regressive ideas but science.

    Mendel, Lemaitre and Copernicus were all ordained clerics.

  12. Warty

    Zippy. Critics of the church will invariable focus on aspects like ‘superstition and falsification of science’ overlooking the considerable scholarship that went into Christian based philosophy; and the fact that the overwhelming majority of scientists up unto the Twentieth Century were in fact Christian.
    People of all persuasions were and are the product of the age in which they live, and it is a very rare being indeed that has the ability to step outside those parameters. So, in that respect, one needs to be a little more forgiving.
    I think you’ll find that only the Christians of the ‘creationist’ mould would argue that moral codes were ‘handed down’ from ‘above’. You’ll find this to be universal amongst Muslims.

  13. Haidee

    “. . . . What should gay people do otherwise . . . ?”
    They can do plenty.
    There’s no other worthwhile pursuits for them?

    Raising children, no.

  14. Tim Neilson

    What has demolished Christianity is not progressives and their regressive ideas but science.

    Scientific method:
    1. Hypothesis;
    2. Prediction;
    3. Controlled reproducible experiment;
    4. Result;
    5. Conclusion.

    Take the most basic Judeo- Christian doctrine, that there is an all powerful, all knowing Creator who does not require matter, energy or time to exist, but who created this universe, and who has at some specific points in history chosen to make certain individuals aware of His existence.

    What’s the scientific hypothesis that disproves this? What was the prediction? What was the experiment?

  15. Stimpson J. Cat

    What has demolished Christianity is not progressives and their regressive ideas but science.

    It is actually Santa and the Easter Bunny.
    I have outlined this theory before.

  16. cynical1

    science.

    Yes, if a man can have a husband, why can’t he have a child?

  17. Fred of Greenslopes

    I must take issue with the statement that ‘atheism puts man at the centre of the universe’. On the contrary, the atheist recognizes that the mystery of time is currently beyond our power of comprehension and perhaps will always be so. We are but an accident of evolution. Science and religious belief are the two sides to the coin of our hunger to know. Both are used for good and evil.

  18. Judo-Christian

    Of course you mean Christian principles thanks.

    Beat me to it.

    Warty, great post. Agree with all of it. Linking it on my ‘hawt chicks and links of the week’ thread. Bigger than this it just ain’t possible.

  19. Marcus

    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…

    Oh, come on.

    I respect the role Christianity’s played in Western civilisation as much as the next guy, but if you’re going to claim that our laws come from the Ten Commandments or that Christians invented marriage, you’re on pretty thin ground.

  20. duncanm

    One big thing that annoys me is intelligent people often refuse to acknowledge the role of Judo-Christian principles is the success of the west and western culture (and I say that as an Athiest).

    me too — though I do think that the Chinese did sort of alright until they found communism, and the Japs until they became nationalistic thugs.

  21. Crossie

    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 SS

    I avoid the same programmes as you do though Alan Jones is worth watching on Tuesdays nights, or whoever subs for him when he is not there, and Outsiders on Sunday mornings.

  22. Rococo Liberal

    Lefties love the State but hate their country. That is because the country is society at large and its culture. These things if not controlled by ”progressives” might actually allow the wrong kind of people to have influence (i.e. the truly talented and rich). They say they want to enlarge the State to improve society, but what they really want to do is enlarge the State so as to obliterate society.
    Conservatives love their country but distrust the State.
    For the left the people and society are there to serve the State. For the right the State is only a servant of society.

  23. iampeter

    Welp this article is a timely reminder that religious Conservatives are as much a threat to our freedom as their secular leftist counterparts, if not more so. At least secular lefties aren’t delusional enough to believe that they are standing on the side of Western Civilization as they burn it to the ground.

    Western Civilization is based on the secular values of reason and individualism, predates Christianity by hundreds of years going back to ancient Greece and only got back on track after the Enlightenment whereby the totalitarian grip of the Church started to be broken.

    Christianity is the single oldest enemy of Western Civilization, responsible for setting it back for a thousand years and still playing a massive, psychologically crippling role holding us back.

    There are no Western laws inspired by the totalitarian Ten Commandments nor is any pro-life morality possible to be derived from either the commands of a supernatural dictator or the altruistic and self destructive teachings of the worlds first unwashed hippie Jesus Christ.

    Conservatives simply do not understand Western Civilization, do not understand its history or its ideas and values and simply represent the religious/traditionalist wing of the left.

  24. Judge Judy

    Christianity is the single oldest enemy of Western Civilization

    Judge Judy: Baloney!

  25. Crossie

    Moral Relativism and multiculturalism seem to be perfect companions. They posit that there is no absolute truth and that all cultures are equal yet both philosophies are absolutely opposed to the Western Christian culture thus proving at least one absolute truth and one unequal culture.

    We are living in the age of lies reinforced daily by the mainstream media.

  26. Warty

    Thank you, Adam. Happy to be linked to any of your ‘hawt chicks’, the haughtier the better: I’m always up for a challenge.

  27. Warty

    Marcus, it’s nowhere near as simple as that, though the ten commandments (in a multitude of forms) is the basis of a number of religions, though Muslims would not encompass the infidel in the second commandment.
    Our constitution would have seen its first stirrings in the Anglo Saxon witans (pre Christian) and aspects of architecture hark back to Roman and ancient Greek influences. But music, literature, fine art and the mind-set of the jurists that gave rise to the Common Law were unquestionably Christian. The scientists, the industrialists, the emancipationists that gave rise to Industrial Revolution and the law reforms that followed, were unquestionably Christian.
    The Westminster system we enjoy today, that rose out of the Glorious Revolution was formulated by Christians. These may not have been your model Christians in the mould of a Christ, far from it (for some of them) but they would all have identified as such.

  28. test pattern

    ‘ Western Civilisation’

    Sigh. There is no such thing ffs. Just the single Central Civilisation as outlined by Wilkinson in Comparative Civilisations Review.

    http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1130&context=ccr

    Western Civilisation was once an examplar of the Central Civilisation. It could be argued successfully that some western cultural nodes still are. But when you start off with the wrong assumptions and terminology you ask all the wrong questions and get the wrong answers.

    Lift your game.

  29. Warty

    Crossie, your comment is spot on, and one of the stinking ironies emanating from Al Grassby’s derriere.

  30. Warty

    Ai yai yai, Test Pattern. ‘There is no such thing’?? I think a host of politico-historians would chortle in their graves to hear you say so. Did you by any chance look into the political affiliations of your wonderous David Wilkinson? And why, pray tell, do you elevate him above Samuel Huntington, who influenced so many historians after the publication of his seminal The Clash of Civilisations? On my copy, Henry Kissinger, whose shoes I do daily abeyance to, said this of Huntington’s text: ‘One of the most important books to have emerged since the end of the Cold War’.
    Of your David Wilkinson I have never heard. Sigh!

  31. test pattern

    ‘Of your David Wilkinson I have never heard.’

    You have now.

    Huntington assumes there is an Islamic Civilisation. There is not. But he has to say that so he can set up a clash of civilisations. It’s far more complex, and interesting.

    btw the shoes that trod on the corpses of 300,000 East Timorese. Go ahead and lick.

    http://i.imgur.com/X3tUeN4.jpg

    Lift your game.

  32. Marcus

    Thanks for expanding on that, Warty. Not a lot to disagree with there.

  33. Epictetus

    We Inherited far more than “aspects of architecture” from the Greeks and Romans. Greco-Roman philosophers developed ethical principles and legal codes that passed on to us. Paul and some other early Christians were educated in Greek philosophy and adopted Stoic ethics. The philosophers recognised that ethical principles derive from nature and not from the edicts of a god. Their writings predate Christianity by many centuries.

  34. Warty

    Epictetus, you are of course quite right. St Paul, though tutored by the foremost teacher in Mosaic Law, was also well versed with regards to Stoic philosophy. and a lot of the Gnostic contemporaries too. One might refer to the influence of people like Galen in the sphere of medicine too.
    It was an oversight on my part.

  35. Fisky

    Sigh. There is no such thing ffs. Just the single Central Civilisation as outlined by Wilkinson in Comparative Civilisations Review.

    But according to credible academic citations, it’s precisely the other way round. There are numerous mentions of “western civilisation” on Ngram, but hardly any mentions of “central civilisation” at all.

    No one outside a tiny group of cranks has even heard of this ludicrous concept!

  36. Epictetus

    Warty : it does you credit to admit to an error. Regards

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