Dark cloud on the horizon: Moral relativism

By Paul Kokoski

The Western world is increasingly succumbing to the prejudice of "political correctness". More and more we live in a time and situation where pluralism and tolerance are, irreconcilable with absolute truth, the highest values. Laws are constantly being changed or newly introduced in order to satisfy the will of citizens in lieu of and without respect for the "natural moral law". This can only lead to anarchy.

It is not possible here to present philosophical proofs for the existence of God. Nonetheless, by way of simple logic, when we speak of something like the world in terms of its richness or plurality we also affirm the existence of the world; the "many" presupposes the "one". By similar arguments one can deduce that there must also be universal concepts of "being", "truth"and "good".

The universal good cannot be something ambiguous without also being relative. If it is relative one might justifiably speak, as did Heinrich Himmler, of the altruistic morals of the Nazi regime which is nonsense. The very fact that we discuss the common good proves that a criterion for the "good" ought to exist. We see that virtually all families accept as "good" the concepts of fidelity, gratitude, honesty while viewing acts of betrayal, ingratitude, falsehood as bad. It is clear then that a universal approach toward good and evil is necessary.

For the relativist, however, there is only tolerance. But why should tolerance count for anything unless it has as its foundation some other value. Such a tolerance that is "blind" ends up becoming a form of intolerance for that which actually gives tolerance its true value: convictions. Similarly, one's convictions would have no value unless they were oriented toward a higher good. Upon this reference to truth is based the dignity of the human person.

The relativist admits to no supreme criterion that would allow him to distinguish between a good and bad conscience. For him, individual and societal actions are subject only to free will. The result is anarchy - the law of the jungle - which is no law at all. Domination and manipulation become the rule. In the 20th century we have seen two World Wars and the proliferation of terrorism. We are also witnessing the growing acceptance of evils such as contraception, in-vitro fertilization, euthanasia, homosexuality and abortion. Human Cloning and perhaps even World War III are lurking on the horizon. Such tyranny - man's inhumanity to man - is the inevitable result when there is no lawful consensus regarding the true nature of the human being.

Plato has already said that God alone has supreme authority over man. Christ also confirmed to Pilate: "you would have no power over me unless it had been given to you from above" (Jn 19,11). Both the limits and legitimacy of man's power come from God and are expressed in the natural moral law which is engraved in every human heart and established by reason. Even when that voice has been silenced by so many alternative views of life in our highly secular and materialistic world, it continues to echo in our hearts.

When a government or any democratic majority approves a law that contradicts this order, and in doing so marginalizes some resisting minority as being "fundamentalists", it is the duty of every human being to oppose it. While claiming to be respecting of one's freedom of choice, such lawmakers are really only leading people away from the true freedom which the natural law provides.

If the dignity of the will is to replace the dignity of the human person it will even be possible to imagine, in the words of Dr. Robert Spaemann, "breeding slaves, by genetic manipulation, who are fully in agreement with their condition as slaves." Far-fetched? Spaemann mentions that only recently it became known that a cannibal found an accomplice via the internet who was willing to have himself killed and eaten. This took place according to mutual agreement and without any outside interference. He makes the important distinction that for the relativist this is not a crime.

Is this not a time for us all, especially lawyers and politicians to reflect on the concept of the natural moral law?

Paul Kokoski


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov