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Dennis Prager on Wimps Out Morality

Dennis Prager [1] tosses one out,and likely ticks off the Randian sects among us:

In the Judeo-Christian value system, God is the source of moral values and therefore what is moral and immoral transcends personal or societal opinion. Without God, each society or individual makes up its or his/her moral standards. But once individuals or societies become the source of right and wrong, right and wrong, good and evil, are merely adjectives describing one’s preferences. This is known as moral relativism, and it is the dominant attitude toward morality in modern secular society.

Moral relativism means that murder, for example, is not objectively wrong; you may feel it’s wrong, but it is no more objectively wrong than your feeling that some music is awful renders that music objectively awful. It’s all a matter of personal feeling. That is why in secular society people are far more prone to regard moral judgments as merely feelings. Children are increasingly raised to ask the question, “How do you feel about it?” rather than, “Is it right or wrong?”

His logic at that point falls apart, and he tries to go to bat for ‘situational ethics’.

This is a misunderstanding of the meaning of moral absolutes. It means that if an act is good or bad, it is good or bad for everyone in the identical situation (“universal morality”).

But “everyone” is hardly the same as “every situation.” An act that is wrong is wrong for everyone in the same situation, but almost no act is wrong in every situation. Sexual intercourse in marriage is sacred; when violently coerced, it is rape. Truth telling is usually right, but if, during World War II, Nazis asked you where a Jewish family was hiding, telling them the truth would have been evil.

His problem is, he’s not looking at the situation closely enough, for whatever reason. This is where something I’ve said for years applies very well indeed… that being that there are no grey areas…. “no shades of grey… Only black and white spots, some very small indeed. If you’re seeing a ‘shade of grey’ you’re not close enough to your subject to really understand it. Some of the more pixelized situations take some serious consisderation to get through and yet still hold to the foundational, absolute principles… There’s no question it can be hard, but it can be done. This is not situation ethics, but merely understanding the nature of the situation you’re in, and having the courage to apply your foundational morality to it and see that application through… and Prager, sorry to say, wimps out this one.

To his credit, however, he at least comes up with this:

In secular society, where there is no God-based morality, there is no moral truth to pursue. The consequences may be easily seen by observing that the most morally confused institution in America, the university — where good and evil are often either denied or inverted — is also its most secular.

… and, need I say it, it’s also it’s most leftist- driven.