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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Moral Relativism

Moral relativism is the scourge of mankind. Given a choice between two evils, some will go to great lengths to justify one bad alternative over the other.

Consider a scenario where a person is asked to support one crime or support another. Both are crimes, both will hurt other people. Is there then some religious or moral reason to justify hurting one group over the other?

During WWII the allies were presented with a haunting dilemma. Very early in the war everyone that cared to know knew that the Nazi’s were running extermination camps. Jews, gypsies, Catholics and basically anyone else that the Nazis did not like were being brutally slaughtered with the efficiency only the Nazis could deliver. Beyond the slaughters, as if anything could be worse, tortures and grotesque experiments were being conducted.

So someone can up with the idea – bomb the concentration camps. Destroy them, along with the related infrastructure (e.g., the rail lines), and at least for a long time, and possibly forever, the camps and the brutality would be no more.

But clearly there was a serious moral problem. By destroying the camps, innocent prisoners were being killed. But the moral relativists argued that an instant death resulting from a saturation bombing raid would be far better that the pain and suffering derived from being tortured and gassed to death.

Succinctly, kill some innocents now or let the holocaust continue. How and why was the latter chosen?

The decision was rather straightforward: the allied commanders involved in this decision opted to not intentionally take the life innocent people.

Translation: no one of moral conscience would intentionally do anything to hurt someone else.

This tragic time in history revealed how the alternative of more innocents dying a cruel death was not even an option for the commanders. The commanders knew that the innocents that would perish by not bombing the camps would die not by their hands, but by the hands of the Nazis. It was the Nazis that were doing the killing, a fact that did not magically disappear (except to the moral relativists) just because honorable people refused to take innocent lives.

Moral relativism has become an epidemic in modern culture and has long prostituted the legal and political mechanisms of this democracy.

The illegal alien debate is but one issue that has the moral relativists working overtime and in overdrive with the net effect of doing nothing more that confusing those so predisposed, and worse – giving cover to the overwhelming majority our morally depleted elected representatives. The effluvium has made it to the citizenry.

Here on Marco Island we have our own share of moral relativism.

The moral dilemma du jour is as related to the sham referendum.

The Marco Island version of moral relativism on this issue goes something like this: “if you don’t vote, someone else will be making a decision for you so vote for the lesser of the two evils.”

And the lesser of the two scams is which one? And is someone else really making a decision for me?

Let’s take the latter first.

The decision was already made by the present city governance. That “decision” was dictated irrespective of the honest citizens of Marco Island. It was taken in a vacuum in order to support an illicitly conceived, ill planned, Ponzi-financed, unneeded exceedingly costly and polluting project the sole purpose of which is to feed the commercialization gods.

If the voters were to really make a decision on this matter, then the entire STRP should have come up for a vote.

Here’s an analogy – it’s like someone bulldozing your house without permission, then asking you to select how to pay for the cleanup – and by the way, you only get one choice of cleanup plans because if you vote NO for that one and only plan, you will get (WITHOUT A CHOICE) another plan.

So the choice was already made for you the moment your house was leveled – and by not voting for the a posteriori cleanup does not negate or validate the a priori fact.

This leads to the former issue … and the lesser of the two scams is which one?

And what exactly is the moral relativists’ question here – is it something like should we rob the gas station by coming in through the roof or should we rob the gas station by coming in through the front door?

Uhm … let’s think about this one for a while. The option of not robbing the gas station apparently does not cross the intellectual or moral consciousness of the moral relativists.

For you see there is the freedom that is overlooked by many when there is the perception of an economic or political gain. It is simply the freedom to not choose at all. And it is that very freedom, our freedom, which is abdicated every time we are slapped with yet another farcical decision based on contrasting the bad against the very bad. Freedom is an idea, an idea that can not be manifest when its realization is made more and scarcer by the insouciant compromise between the immoral and the illegal. And every time the electorate chooses not to exercise their freedom, the less we have of it – and then we wonder why such utterly outrageous decisions are made against the overwhelming will of the people. As Immanuel Kant elucidated in his seminal work On the Critique of Pure Reason “… and how wide the chasm may be between the idea and its realization, no one can or ought to determine, because it is this very freedom that may be able to transcend any limits hitherto assigned to it”.

When we are free to act, we then should freely act for what is right, lest we loose that choice and forever be bared from the opportunity.

We all think of ourselves as virtuous – regardless if one opts for economic reasons or political expediency for what is perceived to be the lesser of two evils, or if one exercises their freedom and opts not to vote at all. But in this vain perhaps Nietzsche was right when he said “… for virtue is the will to downfall, and an arrow to longing”. Though one wonders where we go from here when our freedoms are based in certain inalienable rights that can only be manifest through the common virtues of a just and moral society.

So perhaps the local moral relativists could learn something from history by considering the decision tree used by the allied commanders. When others are committing the crime, making a choice on moral and ethical grounds is the right and only thing to do.

The real irony here on Marco Island is that there is a choice – exercise your freedom by not choosing one of the two deceptions, let the consequences of that fraud lie with those that imposed the decision for you, and thereby deny the present governance a legitimacy to govern. And in the process, preserve your decency and integrity.

The allied commanders did just that. And they won the war.


  • Mario,

    I couldn't agree with your logic more but, in this case I had to vote NO on both questions. By voting to defeat the referendum it forces the city to change utility rates and that will not be easy whereas, supporting the referendum gives them an excuse to say that's what the people want.

    A utility rate increase will take a vote of councilors who are beholding to the very people we are opposed to and I for one, do not think the council has the courage to vote against there supporters.

    Doug Enman

    By Anonymous Doug Enman, at Monday, June 11, 2007 11:12:00 AM  

  • Doug
    thank you for your comment. i appreciate and understand your reasoning.

    i do think that irrespective of the outcome, the present governance will act in the way that perpetuates the fraud (we saw how they accelerated the program without any consideration of financing ... without consideration that they themselves are saying that the city is broke). if they go to such great lengths to deliver the city in bankruptcy to the next council, our vote wont pretty much matter.

    i had a graduate school statistics professor that looked and talked just like rodney dangerfield. a singular sardonic wit. he always went to the same analogy when explaining great differences that in the end made no iota of difference: "would you rather fall from a 100 story building or a 101 story building?"

    in this case, maybe at the 100th floor somebody pushes you, but at the 101st you jump.

    By Blogger Dr. Mario, at Monday, June 11, 2007 4:47:00 PM  

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