Collectivism and relativist morality. {Part 1/2}

When one examines the moral premises of collectivism, many strange patterns recur. Collectivists repeatedly claim that their belief system is founded upon absolute morality, that their moral principles are as solid as iron. They also accuse their nonbeliever opponents of being relativists, of being moral anarchists, of promoting immorality.

And yet, when we examine the practice of these belief systems, what we do find is the rankest relativism wrapping itself in the cloak of morality. As usual, their claims are complete projections. It is the collectivists that are the ignominious relativists, not the individualists!

Look at Christianity. Christians routinely make the claims that they follow God’s morality, that they have an absolute morality with absolute principles, and that they fight against secular relativism. But when you start pressing them on specific issues, their story changes very quickly:

If you point to some parts of the Bible where one rule is given, and another part of the Bible where another rule is given, they will argue that the first rule was only applicable to those people at that time, and that the other rule is applicable to those other people at that other time.

If you point out a rule in the Bible that they don’t like, they will argue that the rule was meant for those people at that time. If you then ask them why they follow some rules but not others, they generally reply that there are two kinds of rules, moral law and ceremonial law. They have no way to distinguish between the two except “those I don’t like are ceremonial.” Throughout history, believers have shifted those differences constantly.

If you point out that people in history, or people in different sects than theirs, hold differing views, they will simply say the dissenters are wrong, but they will not deny that they are Christians, chalking it up to “errors of interpretation.” How can a doctrine that is so prone to “errors of interpretation” be absolutist? That’s like saying that my car could make 120 mpg, we just don’t have the right kind of gasoline invented yet. It’s pure flummery! If people cannot understand it properly, then it’s not an absolutist doctrine, no matter whether you believe it is or not. It becomes relative to the beliefs of whoever is doing the interpreting.

In statism, the relativism is barely hidden. The democratic system is naively lauded as the most moral form of governance, but it is plain to see that democratic systems in different “countries” have different end results. How can it be moral in one place to punish people for selling or using certain drugs, while not doing so in other places, both in the name of absolute morality?

Statists are also just as relativist with their founding documents as religious people are. The Constitution is both a yardstick and a “living document,” to be reinterpreted at will depending on the culture of the moment. Past history becomes infinitely malleable. Now we “learn” that The War of Northern Aggression was started in order to eliminate slavery and that Lincoln was a political hero. We “learn” that the “United States” entered World War 2 in order to “protect our rights.” In short, history is written by the rulers.

Continue to part 2. 

One thought on “Collectivism and relativist morality. {Part 1/2}

  1. jdavidb August 9, 2007 at 10:26

    Collectivists repeatedly claim that their belief system is founded upon absolute morality, that their moral principles are as solid as iron.

    And I find that funny, because I took absolute morality and from it I deduced that collectivism was wrong. :)

    (For the record, I later did the same from the Bible, but the absolute morality I am referring to above is not dependent on the Bible at all.)

    If you point out a rule in the Bible that they don’t like, they will argue that the rule was meant for those people at that time.

    To be fair, it does sometimes actually say this.

    They have no way to distinguish between the two except “those I don’t like are ceremonial.” Throughout history, believers have shifted those differences constantly.

    Yes, my very religious wife hates this, and for this reason covers her head in church. It says to, so she does it.

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