After reading “Some moral minima,” I must say I have to agree with Lenn Goodman’s opinions. He argues that there are certain things that are simply wrong. Though they greatly reflect his relativism, I agree on the topics he chose are all wrong in the eyes of another culture’s morals and virtues. We as human beings, and the societies we constitute can be wrong.
“Consent is a helpful marker, but neither necessary nor sufficient to legitimacy. Some whose interests are critically affected by our acts have no effectual say in our choices. Principles are principles; no norms delineating concretely, and uncompromisingly, wrong from right” (Goodman, 2010). I agree there should be universal moral requirements in regards to these practices. In this paper, I will take the four topics chosen by Goodman, Genocide, Famine and Germ Warfare, Terrorism, Hostages, and Child Warriors, Slavery, Polygamy, and Incest, and Rape and Clitoridectomy and present my argument for each one.
The first topic chosen is Genocide, Famine and Germ Warfare. Genocide, Famine and Germ Warfare is mass murder. People should definitely understand what makes this wrong. If people believed they had the right to wipe out an entire race, it is like saying aliens are real and it would be understood why they would want to wipe out the human race.
The purpose lies in the intent, not just the scale of the crime. What we as people of many cultures need to realize is that we are not so different in ways we think, we must understand that we are all one big race no matter the features. “More dreams are broken and more futures cut short when more lives are taken. But genocide targets individuals as members of a group, seeking to destroy a race, a culture, a linguistic or ethnic identity, even a class as the Soviets did in the Ukraine, or Mao in China, or the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The target is a way of life” (Goodman, 2010). The second topic is Terrorism, Hostages, and Child Warriors.
These people target certain classes, cultures, and ethnic identities like genocide. “Terrorism, as a tactic, finds its military use in sapping the will to resist. Its intensity comes from its flagrancy” (Goodman, 2010). With this topic it should be said that people should treat others how they want to be treated, but that seems to never happen. Maybe it would be okay by a terrorist if their family members were taken hostage beaten and forced to do odd jobs, maybe not. The third topic is Slavery, Polygamy, and Incest.
Slavery is the deepest exploitation, overriding subjecthood to make a person a tool for use (Goodman, 2010). Being kept and forced to do hard labor is not the way to be treated. It is argued that polygamous marriages are freely entered, freely left, and are well protected by the law or custom (Goodman, 2010). Perhaps not all marriages thought to be polygamous are, but they do exist and are wrong because a marriage is sacred in any culture and should be respected as such. Slavery is wrong in any many ways and although we have the 13th amendment, it still exist in this world. Today more and more people are becoming aware of trafficking. Like slavery, their victims are kept alive, but stripped them of agency (Goodman, 2010). Women and children are targeted mostly, but men are trafficked as well. The people who believe this is right are psychological egoist.
They believe that people only look out for themselves, in that fact, they tend to do what they want in the best interest for no one, but themselves. Incest is a tricky topic because it is argued why it wrong if no one is harmed. According to biologist and anthropologist, “ascribe what they coyly or quaintly call the incest taboo to an instinctual, genetically embedded, aversion, rooted in the risks of heightened homozygosity” (Goodman, 2010). Morally, it is wrong due to a child not coming out healthy and normal due to incest. According to Goodman in Some moral minima.
The Good Society, offspring of close kin lose some of the protection of a diploid genome, which are copies of important key genes too often disturbingly match defective alleles inherited my an ancestor shared by the same people (Goodman, 2010). Biologically it in immoral. In my opinion it is also a privacy issue, as well as a safety issue because incest in the home may not be requested between the two persons and this leads to people being rapped. The fourth and final topic is Rape and Clitoridectomy. Whether it is statutory or violent rape, it is not right because it violates someone.
“Rape is wrong because it stands at the extreme limit of a continuum of sexual acts, from the most committed to the least so, and the most alienating (Goodman, 2010). Rape is corrupt, humiliating and, violent. Rape is not only sexual, but it gives the rapper a sense of power. If a person is rapped it can lead to harmful actions like alcohol and drug abuse. It is threatening to the self-esteem and one’s social behavior. Clitoridectomy is a tough ones as well. It is done in African tribes as a rite of passage for the woman, but it is also done to women in African tribe where man rules the tribe. It does seem wrong if done out of cruelties, but like some African tribes do it as a rite of passage. It depends on your culture and beliefs.
It is understood in some culture and some societies. Relativism is the idea that one’s beliefs and values are understood in terms of one’s society, culture, or even one’s own individual values (Mosser, 2010). If I were to take a trip to Africa and see rites of passage where their customs and beliefs are different from my own, I would understand that they believe they must do certain things, and I must respect that, but I would definitely not participate because I believe it is just not right. Goodman argues that there are certain things that are simply wrong. It all boils down to if a person believes we should treat one another how we would want to be treated, I believe this whole heartedly.
Goodman, L. E. (2010). Some moral minima. The Good Society, 19(1), 87-94. Retrieved from the EBSCO Host database in the Ashford Online Library. Mosser, K. (2010). Introduction to ethics and social responsibility. San Diego, Bridgepoint Education, Inc.