Thursday, April 23, 2009
It is Good if a Majority Says So!
Rules for social behaviors are not the responsibility of a majority.
The idea that a majority “normalizes” a given behavior seems to me to be pure moral relativity, where the crowd’s behavior defines the good and the bad. This is as opposed to moral absolutes, where either a religion or a government, or even an atheist group, defines for all a moral code to be followed, and sets forth clear rules for social behaviors. Many aspects of the moral code are thus found to be incorporated into the laws of the land.
If moral degeneration takes place in a society and the established moral code or the laws are flouted by the majority of citizens, what is the proper response? Should the code or laws be changed to reflect the changing behavior of the crowd, or should they be more strongly enforced for the greater good?
Not reinforcing the existing codes and laws opens the door for flouting other rules of behavior as well in order to let the code or law follow the preferences of the citizens.
The fear this creates is one of supporting nihilism and hedonism, and eventually evolving a society with few rules and few unacceptable behaviors.
The syndrome of: “well, just one more little change” to the code and all will be well, is an exceedingly slippery slope. To me a moral code that has been fashioned by both wise souls and by experience over centuries is an organic whole, such that little modifications here and there may well unravel that wholeness, and hence unravel significant behaviors of the society.
For those that believe in God-given moral strictures, tinkering with the moral code to please the crowd is a flat out sin.