Moral Relativism Has Mutated

The rallying cry that moral relativism is dead- first aired in an article in The Atlantic- resulting in an explosion of like-minded articles across the web.

Viewed from the angle of politics to religion and everything else sandwiched between it’s the latest trending topic to hit the Net and it all started with an article titled; The Death of Moral Relativism.

Moral relativism is the view that morality isn’t objective or measurable -it’s culturally defined- or it’s a what’s right for you may not be right for me type mentality.

But according to some talking heads- this relativism is now a thing of the past- it’s so twentieth century- the millennium changed the way we used to view things as a new morality emerges.

The author attributes these changes to law, virtue and a shame culture while crediting film, art, music and literature as both trend setters and measurers of public opinion- these attributes need no detailed explanation with government sponsored armies of human rights lawyers- self-righteous feel-good groupies and pitch-forked mobs harassing dissenters.

Granted art and entertainment have an effect on public opinion but the author left out the biggest influencers of all- mainstream media culture and public special interest representatives- aka politicians.

He then quotes from an article in the American Spectator by Helen Rittelmeyer; breaking taboos for shock value is relativism- breaking taboos as a means rather than an end is not.

Let’s rephrase the latter part of her quote –BUT breaking taboos as a MEANS TO an END IS still relativism- there it’s fixed.

The article goes on; the subjective morality of yesterday has given way to an ethical code that if violated, results in unmerciful moral crusades on social media.

And here’s a line I cannot quite wrap my head around; a culture of shame cannot be a culture of total relativism-one must have some moral criteria for which to decide if something is worth shaming.

Not if that moral criteria is subjective whichever way you look at it- divorced from wisdom, history, and all traditional mores- and dictated from the top down by moneyed vested interests.

It’s still relativism no matter how it’s fleshed-out and dressed up with semantics.

The new values are touted as tolerance and inclusion but it has created a paradoxical movement in which all is tolerated except the intolerant and all are included except the exclusive.

One can no longer speak of good and bad- the new moral code is all about respect and recognition.

The younger generations came of age during the shift from moral relativism and place a higher value on tolerance and avoiding discrimination so are more offended by the violation of social virtue.

My conclusion is that moral relativism hasn’t died- it has just mutated into something by another name.

The supporters of moral relativism have just transferred their allegiance en masse to this new post-modern version of relativism.

At the end of the day we should just call it all relative.