Morality - Words Moral Relativists Shouldn't use
Moral relativism is the belief that morals are not some objective standard that apply to everyone, but are instead decided by an individual or a society. Essentially, in this belief, morality is reduced to a series of preferences, much like your favorite color or favorite food.
Whilst I plan on addressing a more formal refutation of moral relativism another time, for now, I want to highlight several things that moral relativists cannot consistently do. That is, if moral relativism is true, then the following statements and actions will contradict it.
A moral relativist cannot
- Accuse others of wrongdoing, unfairness, injustice, use words like should, ought, good or bad in reference to others, or praise or blame others (Or other cultures for society relativism)
- If morality is a preference, then all they can say is they do not like an actionm be it racism, rape or murder. They cannot expect others to change their beliefs simply because they don't like it.
- This is tantamount to saying that simply because I do not like pecan nuts, you shouldn't either. A nonsense statement.
- Or, because you like pecan nuts you are a bad person
- This is like saying that you don’t believe in God because you don't like vegemite
- If morality is relative, then there is no such thing as a moral reformer. In societal relativism he would be immoral until society changed, then once society changed he would be considered moral. All for holding exactly the same beliefs.
- There can be no such thing as moral improvement or growth (So much for 'progressives'!) as it is merely changing a preference, not coming closer to some objective standard.
- You cannot differentiate between moral systems much like you may like cookies and cream icecream and I like Rum N Raisin, but we can’t discuss it other than to say we like it. This is because when you make a relative claim you are merely refering to yourself, and so your statement does not have a common subject with the other person
- Imposing an all encompassing moral standard of tolerance implies relativism is false, and so is self refuting
Of course, I have neber heard a moral relativist who can avoid doing these things in discussion. Everybody seems to hold the opinion that at least some morality should apply to everyone. But if this is the case, and they are trying to hold that morality is relative, then all that is left to them to impose their morality is argumentum ad baculum, persuasion from the barrel of a gun, might makes right.