Relativism and Morality
Relativism and Morality
Is it ethical? Will it be right? Is it a small sacrifice for the betterment of the future? All these questions do not have exact answers. You can never give a straight cut answer to all the above questions. You can never exactly say that a particular thing is completely right or completely wrong. All this varies from people to people and culture to culture. Individual personalities have different philosophies regarding particular thought and belief. There is never completely a black or white it is in between. It is grey. This is relativism.
Relativism can be defined “as the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration”. According to relativism all views are considered valid. Well relative truth varies with people for example, a person prefers a red coloured car over black coloured car, where other person may disagree. True for one person is not true for another. So relative truth can’t be right or wrong. But greater than relative truth is Morality, where you see whether your actions are causing any harm to another and stop doing such things.
Here which causes problems or harm someone should be considered as wrong. It is absolutely wrong on the part of our moral values to harm someone. There is a very fine line between morality and relative truth, moral values also varies from people to people and culture to culture but morality will never do any bad(even if it’s right for the other person). It is rightly said about moral by Ernest Hemingway “About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.
” There are some things that are absolutely wrong and therefore I agree with Lenn Goodman. He is right on his part in challenging relativism and I fully support him. Just suppose if everyone was allowed to do as they wish, what a horrid place this could have been. If everything was so relative and there was no right or wrong then one person could have killed other for his better future, and he would never have got any punishment. Because on his part, he was right. Also sometimes we have to rise above principles to challenge wrong.
For example, America would have never got independence if slavery was discussed on principles. But if we see overall, it was a good thing going against the principles because slavery was the wrong being done. Same goes with the case of India’s independence where the freedom fighters were called terrorists just because they fought against the government for their own rights. But not every compromise is that easy to digest. It was wrong what happened with Germany in the first world war was bad but what followed in the second world war by Nazis may be a reaction was not tolerable.
It was like removing a whole community from the world, that was worst. How can one have the right to destroy the being of the whole community or clan, just to satisfy one’s own selfish motives. Or you thing this is right for your own community or culture, but this is completely wrong. It is not human. Our moral values and love and respect for each other is what differentiates us from ruthless animals. Every human deserves respect, love and moral behaviour even if there is culture difference or some other difference.
We all are made of same thing and thus have the same needs which mainly includes Respect. The main examples which truly challenge relativism are genocide, famine, terrorism, slavery, chid warrior and rape. Everyone has the right to life, no one can take away that right just because he thinks it’s right. Killing a single person and killing the whole community is different. Killing of whole community(genocide) being uglier, because it destroys not only dreams but destroy the being of the whole community, it can then well said to be extinct just like the bird Dodo.
Genocide simply destroys a way of life. This is not humane. What the soviets did to Ukraine or Mao to China, was the part of a so called bigger plan, a small compromise. But a compromise which is difficult to live by. Millions of people lost their lives, and people lost their mother, father, brother and what not. This was simply wrong and cannot be considered relativism. The cultural revolution in China which was brought about by Mao, was wrong. It was relatively a right thing on the part of Mao. But it was wrong on the moral, ethical and human part.
The number of Deaths during Mao’s period was about 70 million and he was ready to sacrifice 300 million. He had no right to control people’s life like that. This is where relativism should be challenge, because this is simply unfair and unacceptable. The other example is of terrorism, it’s also like mass killing of a community out of frustration and anger, which is illegal. As compared with the above example which is considered legal, as it is for some revolution; terrorism is you can say illegal. You don’t have the power to destroy someone’s life but you want to have that power, power is confused with violence.
Terrorists say that they fight for some values, but they themselves destroy values by guns and bombs, by killing innocent people. By bombing school bus or by exploding some monument, to build fear in people. This is what the terrorists are doing, how can this be said to be fighting for your rights when today you can be creating people who want to take revenge from you, the same way you did, and someone else did to you. This is a never ending chain. Humanity will be the sufferer and this is completely wrong. It is unacceptable.
The damage is devastating and not by any chance humane. Child warriors is also very wrong on the part of humanity. The innocence of child is lost, he becomes emotionless after all the what he suffers. There are around 300,000 child soldiers, it is legal to have children below 15 in the army, no one is convicted of it till now. They are even used as sex slaves and exploited. They grow up with these scars and in return are ready to give scars to others. War, genocide or terrorism whatever is there, whosoever is the winner, humanity will always be the looser.
Innocence of people, their dreams to live a happy life, their achievements, what good they could have given to the world all get killed along with them because of the inhumane ways of so called humans, the ways being war, genocide, famine or terrorism. Slavery can be equalled to murder, but here it is the murder of one’s wishes, desires and dreams. The person is alive but his soul is no less then dead. Human trafficking mainly includes women and children. Women and children are mainly used in prostitution, as labors and for agriculture mainly men are trafficked.
Around four million people are trafficked and people from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Mexico, Russia, and the Czech Republic are the victims. This is completely wrong. The use of humans here is not tolerable and unfair. It is taking advantage of other people’s weakness. This is not fair on part of humanity. Rape is also exploitation, it aims to abuse and humiliate the sufferer. It violates one’s personhood. It is an act of hate and not love. Rape is used even today in wars or genocide wars, it is a weapon to humiliate and abuse the opponent.
This is not good at all, and should be stopped. It is wrong on the part of humanity. Here also humanity is the one that suffers. Exploitation of people for your own benefits has always been wrong and should be stopped. It takes away one’s freedom to live life his own way. Whether it is the case of genocide , warfare, murder, slavery, rape or child warrior, nothing can be considered right and can never be right even according to relativism. It is not moral, it is not humane. Even if there are relativistic truths in this world. And ethics and morals have evolved over time.
It changes from people to people, culture to culture, with time and with place. Even then somehings are simply wrong when it comes to humanity. It is well known that two hundred years ago there was slavery in America. It was considered right at that time, we can consider it was right, that doesn’t mean it was actually right. It was inhumane. If this was not thought at that time, then slavery would have existed till now in America. If it was not wrong even at that time, then no one would have made an effort to stop this exploitation of human being.
There should be global moral norms made, inorder to stop this evil on human race. Everything should not be left on relativism and such logics should not be given, that is is right according to me and it is for the betterment of the society. Then it should be made clear that by doing genocides and practicing slavery, the society will never get better. People should rise above their culture limitation, to achieve a greater goal, i. e. success of humanity. By practicing norms that benefit us but without compromising other people’s life, dreams and freedom. This will make the world a better place to live.
People should see to it that everyone has the right to life, and we are no one to take it away from him. Everyone should take care of others emotion, ritual, feeling and should not violate it, this is right for sure. Individuals should see to ot that everything contributes in the success of humanity, and then everything can be considered right. This I can say for sure is Absolute Truth and not Relative Truth. It is rightly said by Martin Luther King “The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. ”
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 24 November 2016
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