Thursday, March 19, 2009

Moral Absolutism

Moral absolutism is the Right at it's best. A firm belief in hard work, self reliance, integrity, family, and for many, religion. It is a touchstone that defines who we are, and who we are trying to be. We do not always succeed, but we always know what we are striving for.

Moral absolutism is the Right at it's worst. Abortion, gay marriage, blue laws, and for many, religion. When you know deep down what is right and what is wrong, it is easy to think you can force it on others.

Moral absolutism is the Left at it's best. Tolerance, equality, justice, and charity. It drives them to look for ways to help those in need, protect those who are threatened.

Moral absolutism is the Left at it's worst. Hate speech laws that slide into censorship, laws to protect people from themselves 'for their own good', kangaroo civil rights tribunals. When you know deep down what is right and what is wrong, it is easy to think you can force it on others.

It is all of these things and more. It is often said that the Right is more about moral absolutism, the left more about relative morals. I say otherwise. What I see is that both sides are a mix of both, the difference is what they hold inviolable, and what they are willing to be flexible about.

I think that the Right/Left divide is less important than the directional divide. When you point your morals inward, as an ideal to live up to, it can only improve you and the world. When you point them outward, and try to force them onto others... well, then it gets ugly pretty fast.

I have run across a number of people who believe that the Right is against increasing taxes on the wealthy because we hold some belief that we will ourselves benefit from it. This is not true. We just believe it wrong to take from others simply because they have more than us.

I have run across a number of people who believe that the Left is for welfare and social programs because they are lazy and want free shit. This is not true. Last fall, when my Father was in chemo for his throat cancer, about two dozen of his co-workers showed up to help lay in firewood for the winter. Hardcore liberals, government union workers all, they busted ass like I have rarely seen. Their work, their time, their sweat and blood, to help someone out.

There are of course people on all ends who are just greedy, immoral scumbags. But nothing I have seen in my life leads me to believe that either side has significantly more than the other.

(One difference I see is that (from where I sit, at least) a sizable portion of the Left is completely unaware that they are forcing their morals onto others. "Honor diversity, ban hate speech". Many people do not even see the problem with that statement. You see this most at the universities, so some of it can just be written off to youth, but these people are creepy.)


Time March 20, 2009 at 12:42 AM  

I wonder which is more insidious? The people who are unaware they are forcing their views on others, or the people who are totally aware they are forcing their views on others?

I can only imagine the compromise necessary to allow slavery in order to sign the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution.

People and politicians talk about moral absolutes, but when it gets down to compromise and passing laws, hardly any legal result is morally absolute.

What I see as having an effect on the politicians passing laws, especially laws of morality, are the lobbyists and special interest groups. A march on Washington D.C. has less effect on politicians than a big check for their reelection war chests.

There's an old saying, "You can't legislate morality." Not specifically true, but prohibition has taught us that the people will ignore a law they find unacceptably intrusive.

Certain drugs are illegal, but 10's of millions buy and use them. When abortion was illegal, millions had abortions. Abortion became legal. I think certain drugs will also.

As with most things, when a majority feels an action should not be against the law, that usually reflects itself in our laws being changed.

OpenMindedRepublican March 20, 2009 at 3:30 AM  

"I wonder which is more insidious? The people who are unaware they are forcing their views on others, or the people who are totally aware they are forcing their views on others?"

It's a fair question, and to some degree there is little point in sweating which of two evils is worse. Both are bad, both gotta go.

What I do not like is the use of the term 'bigot' to create a new kind of non-person. At a time when we are making (from a historic perspective) rapid progress towards getting rid of the whole non-person crapfest, adding a new kind is disturbing. It is almost like human nature requires someone to look down on.

Anonymous,  March 20, 2009 at 6:18 AM  

Sir, With all due respect..I have seen your comments on other blogs around town and I don't think that you are very Open Minded at all.

Toad734 March 20, 2009 at 7:09 AM  

I think I disagree with your main premise. The precise definitions of Conservatives and liberals will tell you that conservatives, in their nature, are not open to change, to looking outside of the box and liberals, by definition, are willing to accept change and welcome it if it happens to be the "right thing".

Gay marriage, civil rights, women’s rights, women in the work place, double standards when it comes to all these issues etc, are things that liberals championed and conservatives fought against. I am not talking Republican vs. Democrat I am talking Liberal vs. Conservative and you can look up their definitions in the dictionary.

The left can see things in relative terms, conservative don't.

Conservatives believe if you shoot a cop you are a criminal and should go to jail and possibly be put to death, no questions asked. A liberal will ask why did this guy feel he needed to shoot a cop and investigate possibly finding out that it was a crooked cop working for the mob who was shaking down an honest business man and when the business man decided to stop paying, the cop (possibly racist cop) beats him and in self defense kills the cop.

I have a problem of sometimes thinking in black and white terms, something I get from my conservative Christian southern mother. My dad, while not liberal on most issues, will always try to put things into perspective and approaches every situation and everyone with an open mind. In that sense, he is very liberal.

Is stealing wrong? You would say yes, I would say stealing from someone who stole from you, so your children don't starve to death, is not wrong. It's precisely why we have jury trials in this country because there is no true right or wrong in all circumstances.

And you simply say that someone who is rich obviously worked for that money and taking from them is wrong. I would say that 8 out of the 15 richest people in this country never worked a day in their life so no, they didn't work for that money nor do they deserve it any more than I do. Not only that, the guys at AIG are a perfect example of people didn't earn that money. In fact, they took from me and the poor to become even richer; they use up more resources, both physical and political in this country so they owe more back to this country. They are the ones who get subsidies and bail out money, they get all the tax breaks, they write the laws, they are the ones who benefit from laws that deregulated the banks which allowed them to steal more money from the poor and middle class and ruined our economy. So, they owe us 90% in taxes on their 164 million dollar bonuses because they have taken so much.

That is the relative terms that conservatives don't care to look for. That is the difference between conservatives and liberals; we see gray areas and conservatives see only black and white.

Even when there are cases of guys who kill abortion doctors or blow up abortion clinics, a conservative will still convict him even if they agree with what he is doing because the law is the law and the law is always right.
Liberals are the ones who want to fight unjust laws (not that murder is an unjust law) and it’s the conservative who will enforce those unjust laws be it segregation or what have you.

OpenMindedRepublican March 20, 2009 at 7:34 AM  

Gray Haired Brother:
Where do you think that I have failed?
I have been blog rolling all night, I do not know where we crossed paths.

TRUTH 101 March 20, 2009 at 5:04 PM  

If I thought you were a racist I would never have added you to my link list OMR. But like I keep saying, if you keep finding racism where there is none, the racists win.

OpenMindedRepublican March 20, 2009 at 5:14 PM  

Truth, that is my view as well. We need to finish the job of stomping out racism, but we also need to make sure we are not just using the 'racist' term to mean anyone who does not agree with us.

And thanks for adding me to your list. I'm pretty sure you are the first. This whole blog thing is turning into a lot more than I really intended, but it is fun and interesting to talk to people with diferent perspectives. I have a lot to learn though.

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