Seems like everybody has their own interpretation of what
is or is not "moral". Organized religions certainly have their own standards
for morality, yet morality is not something that is confined to religious
"Morality" is most
often defined as a set of rules for "right" and "wrong" behavior. In reality,
however, it would seem to be somewhat more complicated than that. Morality
seems to exist on several different levels.
their own personal morality. Small groups have their morality - which may well
differ from the views of the individuals within the group. As you combine
people into larger and larger groups or change the yardsticks by which you group
them, you find a different set of moralities for each different group. Clearly,
then, "morality" would seem to be better defined as the interpretation of
"right" and "wrong" as held by the majority of members of any given group and
should hold sway only for that group.
Who decides, then,
which group is "correct" in its thinking? How can government seek to legislate
morality upon all of the diverse groups over which it holds power? I think we
can see the answer in the various levels of our judicial system - both formal
and informal. Disputes are normally resolved at the lowest group level
according to that group's moralities. If no agreement can be reached, the
question is decided at the next highest level and so on. Problems arise when
the highest levels of government and the judiciary attempt to pass blanket
legislation that will apply to everybody. Of course, the principle of "majority
rules" is still valid and necessary, but the majority must carefully consider
what it is doing.
inherently and absolutely "right" or "wrong" in all conceivable circumstances?
I doubt it (although many things require some rather fanciful stretches of the
imagination to justify under *any* conditions) - and therein lies the problem
with legislating morality. It's easy to label things "right" and "wrong", but
difficult to account for all possible circumstances that might require a
readjustment of thought.
Come to think of it,
there may just be one thing that would come pretty close to being "right" 100%
of the time -- the old axiom sometimes called the "Golden Rule". There's not
much that could be wrong with treating others the way you would have them treat
you. Wouldn't the world be a better place if this was the only "morality" and
everybody subscribed to it?
Created with Allaire HomeSite 3.0 .......... Last Update: 03 Jun 98
Earthlink Network Home Page