Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Morality of Chris: Part I, Moral Relativism

Part I | Part II

Much to my irritation sometimes, I have a very clear sense of what is right and wrong - most of us do. The issue is, our environment is very complex and the most of the moral decisions we make are not black and white. Unfortunately, our moral landscape is a very grey one. It can sometimes be very difficult to work out exactly what is right and what is wrong.

Some people say that our morality is just part of the culture that we were brought up in. They say there is no universal morality and that we can’t judge other cultures by our own values. This view is known as moral relativism.

I think moral relativism is one of the craziest ideas ever invented. I believe it was created by academics who felt that important indigenous cultures were being lost because of colonisation immigration and religious conversion. The intention of this idea is to protect culture from the deliberate or inadvertent contamination by other cultures. It is much harder to study cultures that don’t exist anymore.

I once had an argument with a women who said that female genital mutilation was okay because that was their culture and we should accept it because all cultures are equal.

I also believe there is a dangerous assumption underlying moral relativism and that is that cultures don’t change over time. Indigenous cultures belong in a glass case so they can be preserved forever unchanging - even if it condemns them to a life of suffering. Meanwhile, our own culture is constantly changing, improving and evolving.

We try to make the world a better place and this usually involves changing our culture in some way. We gave women equal rights, made bigotry unacceptable, we stopped living under the rule of monarchs and created Parliamentary Democracy.

New technology such as the Internet means that our culture is changing faster than it ever has - we are smarter and more connected than we have ever been before. It’s unfair that some people get left behind simply because we want to preserve their culture.

Part I | Part II

1 comment:

  1. It's never ok to mess with a women's lady parts against her will. And that's the truth!