There is currently an idea floating around that we can’t say that something is inherently wrong because morality is relative, or irrelevant. This is patently false. What would happen if you could do whatever you want and be right when you do it? The title of this paper leads us to two questions; Is morality really a law? And does that law really have importance in my life?
Is morality a law? If we think we can find examples of social laws that vary from culture to culture. For example, in traditional oriental cultures, respect of one’s elders is enormously important, but in traditional european cultures, respect is based more on rank or social standing.
However, I cannot think of any group that applauds a man killing the man that took him off of the street and saved him from starvation. I cannot think of any group that does not applaud a man providing for his kids. There are obviously some oddballs that don’t follow the same standard, but we don’t applaud them. We lock them in padded rooms.
This brings me to the point that all humans have a standard. We all agree that some things are right and some things are wrong. Some people will refute that, saying that if we all have the same standard then none of us would argue, which we obviously do. To fully understand that argument we have to look at the consistency with arguments. We never say “I don’t give beans about your standard.” Instead we always say something stating how we didn’t really break the standard, we just followed it in a different way. Take a rather common argument. “You took my chair. There’s a chair over there, so give it back.” “I just had knee surgery. Walking hurts. You wouldn’t want me to hurt my knee, would you?” “You walked all the way down here without too much difficulty, even though that chair’s closer.” “Fine. I’m leaving. Stupid busybodies always getting into your hrmynyr humngrumbl……”
The second man obviously disagreed with the first, but not with the morals that the first was appealing to. Instead he appealed to morals in return. I urge you to try to think of an argument about choices/moral argument that doesn’t follow these basic outlines. You will struggle to find one. Thus applying this to all humanity, humans don’t disagree on the premise that morals aren’t important, but instead stating that your morals are incorrect, this moral choice trumps yours, that your side isn’t actually moral, and many more.
Even if we have a moral law, couldn’t it be irrelevant? Why do we have to obey an ideal that isn’t forced, invisibly punished, and frequently inconvenient? One: it is the ultimate road to happiness. People have tried hedonism and it hasn’t worked. Over and over throughout history people have tested the theory of a Golden Path to happiness, and despite religious differences, almost everybody has decided that following your conscience works. Some people say that doesn’t make sense. How does helping other people help me? If you help other people then they are more likely to help you, and the more people survive and flourish, the more resources they create for humanity and you.
Two. invisibly punished doesn’t mean lightly punished. And the effects aren’t invisible. Burdens of conscience have led to a state of life worse than death. If you feel really guilty, there are three things that can happen. You convince yourself you did nothing wrong and reconstruct into a sociopath, you go into violent and/or suicidal insanity, or you come to terms with your guilt and do your best to repair the damage. Less burdensome guilt is usually coped with, but can lead to premature aging, anger, depression, possible addiction, and many more. Really small scale guilt is addressed quickly or usually forgotten.
A moral law is obviously in place. And people keep ignoring it. What can we do to help people make ethical choices? Explain the truth. Help people understand that the right choice isn’t whatever you want it to be. Knowledge creates the biggest difference in the world.
The compass doesn’t randomly spin. And the north really is the best place to be.