A post by Sean Buckley got me thinking about the reasons against Moral Absolutism actually existing. I came up with two off the top of my head. I’m sure there is more and I am going to add this discussion to the @lantis Learning Community.
The first post was from Sean Buckley, the college-age grandson of modern conservatism’s founding family, former Conservative Party New York Sen. James L. Buckley and great-nephew of National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr.,”comes out” as Gay, in a brilliant post in the Daily Beast – http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/26/a-buckley-comes-out-a-young-conservative-s-case-for-the-freedom-to-marry.html.
While his post was about his support for Gay marriage, he made a very interesting statement about “Moral Absolutism.” He said:
“American conservatives hold many different views but there are some core principles that help guide us toward specific policy prescriptions. Conservatives reject the idea of moral relativism and believe there are certain eternal truths regardless of time, place, or culture.”
“Conservatives reject the idea of moral relativism.” That is what he said. I agree. Conservatives do reject moral relativism.
The second post was from Father Jonathan Morris, in a recent Fox New interview, Morris claims “it’s hard to trust” someone who does not have “faith” in divine punishment looming over your head. He is saying that without this faith it is impossible to know right from wrong or have any morals or values whatsoever.
The problem for Conservatives that reject moral relativism, is that the opposite, “Moral Absolutism” cannot exist. Or at least, like the potential Black Holes created by the CERN LHC, Moral Absolutism can only exist for a very short time in very specific situations.
There are many reasons against Moral Absolutism actually existing. Here I will explore only three.
Reason #1 – Life, and the language we use to describe life, is too imprecise to actually define a “moral absolute.”
Reason #2 – Self Interest will always be the ultimate motivator of behavior.
Santa Claus. I raised my kids with Santa Claus. Every Christmas eve, after they went to bed, we would take out gifts we bought and place them under the tree. On Christmas morning we told the kids the gifts were from Santa Claus. That was clearly a lie. Because I don’t believe in moral absolutism, I had no problem telling them that lie because the lie was morally relevant to situation.
We lie all the time. And we justify the lies based on the relevance of situation.
Reason #2 – War.