Who Are You to Judge?

April 29, 2008

I work hard to keep optimistic about America. Europe is pretty much done. The rest of the world is a hell hole of human suffering, civil rights violations and criminal activity. Rousseau’s noble savage eats his young. But America is the bulwark that holds back the ocean with a broom. God, I love my country.

But even my own country is under assault. Not by weapons and armies, you can’t beat a country built on an idea with guns. Guns don’t kill ideas…ideas kill ideas. So I’m declaring war on Subjectivism. Our schools aren’t supposed to teach religion, but if you remove the foundation of the Judeo-Christian world view, you don’t teach tolerance, you teach that Judeo-Christianity shouldn’t be taught.

My daughter has spent her first year in kindergarten and Daddy has been monitoring the year’s holidays to see what she’s actually learning from school. Thanksgiving, according to public school is a day to be thankful…for anything. But when George Washington actually signed the proclamation for Thanksgiving the day was “to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.”

“Christmas”, my daughter learned, isn’t generally spoken. It’s a celebration of “Happy Holidays”. It could be a winter holiday dedicated to your toe-nail but the name of Christ is not dispersed in the reading materials, incorporated into the crafts or named by the school. It’s controversial, and I agree that Christ is controversial. I just think it’s a good kind of controversy. And it’s an official government holiday. “Happy Holiday” is not the holiday. It’s “Christmas”. There’s the big bad word you’re not allowed to say in public school. Lock the doors. Gather up your children. They’re going to say the word “Christ” and “mass” in public. It’s the end of the world.

But then comes EARTHDAY. You’d think the Son of God himself came in the form of a tree. Crimony! My children were sent home with flyers naming “Mother Earth” as worth protecting. The homework assignments were full of objective moral truth statements using phrases like “we should recycle” and “we ought to keep our rivers clean”. It is the only morality my children are formally taught in school, and it is a collection of faith statements marked by a glorious holiday where they shut down streets in my city, the children’s channels celebrate and actually name the day. Jesus!

Who am I to judge Earthday? On what grounds do any of us have to call something actually right or wrong? I’ve been reading ETHICS by Louis Pojman and he carefully dismantles the philosophy of Subjective Ethical Relativism and it’s freaking me out, because this is the primary religion taught in my own culture…yes, even within the American Christian church.

Indulge me, read this section and don’t try to guess who said it. Just read it and tell me if it’s something that you generally find traded among the good people of the United States:

Then I learned that all moral judgments are “value judgments,” that all value judgments are subjective, and that none can be proved to be either “right” or “wrong.” I even read somewhere that the Chief Justice of the United States had written that the American Constitution expressed nothing more than collective value judgments. Believe it or not, I figured out for myself – what apparently the Chief Justice couldn’t figure out for himself””that if the rationality of one value judgment was zero, multiplying it by millions would not make it one whit more rational. Nor is there any “reason” to obey the law for anyone, like myself, who has the boldness and daring “” the strength of character “” to throw off its shackles. …

“Who are you to judge?” is a statement I hear often in moral debates. It is in itself a value judgment so it’s self-refuting, but that’s beside the point. The people who let this one fly think they’re pretty damned smart. This is our culture’s trump card. It’s also played in the company of similar cards like “That’s true for you but not for me.” and “Who determines right and wrong, you?!”

These are all statements of Subjectivism and they are articulated by our culture, and the man who gave the above statement, serial killer Ted Bundy. No, I’m not saying that those who believe Subjectivism are going to be mass murderers. But I am saying that you must philosophically be a Subjectivist before you can be a Ted Bundy.

Here’s more of the Ted Bundy statement which is paraphrased by historian Harry Jaffa:

I discovered that to become truly free, truly unfettered, I had to become truly uninhibited.

Is this Ted Bundy or my university’s Bachelor of Arts Program?

And I quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable value judgment” that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these “others”? Other human beings, with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more to you than a hog’s life to a hog?

Darwin, Dawkins, Singer, Shermer.

Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as “moral” or “good” and others as “immoral” or “bad”?

Best-selling authors Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.

In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you. That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me””after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited self.

Most Subjectivists are hypocrites. They may preach that Judeo-Christian values are an illusion but they don’t live that way. We have a word for people who actually create a morality of their own and ignore the values of the real world, “Sociopath”.

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12 Responses to “Who Are You to Judge?”

  1. Machete_Bear Says:

    Godawa’s “Cruel Logic” (http://www.godawa.com/ from the forums, thanks to Will) perfectly illustrates the hypocrisies of those who would boil down morality to science and subjectivism.

    Their ideals are all well and good until a true sociopath is proving them ‘right.’

  2. PerrySimm Says:

    Europe is pretty much done.

    Yeah, the highest standards of living in the world and thriving economy is really going to do them in.

  3. tennapel Says:

    Put a fork in it:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/13/AR2006021301569.html

    “It’s often noted that the European Union has a combined gross domestic product that is approximately the same as that of the United States. But the E.U. has 170 million more people. Its per capita GDP is 25 percent lower than that of the United States, and, most important, that gap has been widening for 15 years. If present trends continue, the chief economist at the OECD argues, in 20 years the average U.S. citizen will be twice as rich as the average Frenchman or German.”

  4. Nev Says:

    Europe is done, their growth rates have been lower than the US for years and look to continue that way unless serious economic reform is carried out. The EU is a moribund, lumbering beast.

    I think it’s up to the parents to instill principles in their children, not the government. Most parents these days just throw their kids into the public education system and expect the government and TV to raise their kids the way they want. How about we ask for more responsibility and dedication from parents instead of religious lessons in schools?

  5. TenNapel Says:

    Why remove religious lessons from schools like “We SHOULD recycle”? How about “Do not cheat, lie, steal, murder”? Why not, “You were made for a purpose by a loving God?” We can preach other faith-based value statements besides “Second hand smoke kills” and “Racial jokes are bad”.

  6. Barabbas Says:

    Hey TenNapel,

    Great post otherwise, but what’s with the ‘Jesus F. Christ’ expletive?

  7. tennapel Says:

    I’m fixing it. Jesu- I mean, Crimony!

  8. KobayashiMaru Says:

    Wow, you essentially equate Ted Bundy with non-religiosity. Its like calling all conservatives Nazis. Let me clear a few things up.

    1. Yes, the lack of values taught in public schools is saddening–but then, you don’t have to send your children to public schools. If you want religious instruction in your child’s school, send them to a religious school. I don’t want religious instruction, thank you very much. And since they are PUBLIC schools, then religion shouldn’t be taught in them.

    2. Religion is not the only source of morality or values. Have you ever heard of Social Contract Theory? Please look it up, as I’m not an expert, but I’ll give you the basics: people behave in generally “good” or “law-abiding” ways not because of fear of hell, but because they have to do so in order to function in society. They form groups and agree upon certain values, and enforce those values by social contract for the greater good of society.
    I am an agnostic, and I am also a good, law-abiding, moral person. I don’t need your religion to tell me how to behave.

    3. As for the holidays, I see no reason why Christians shouldn’t have their Christmas, and say Merry Christmas. I love Christmas, myself. But religious indoctrination doesn’t belong in schools. So if you’re going to have the teachers say Merry Christmas, then they also have to say Happy Hannukah, and celebrate Mithras, and Ramadan, and whatever Buddhists celebrate, etc.

    4. You seem to suggest that America was founded on “Judeo-Christian values” (whatever those are). You are incorrect. almost all of the “founding fathers” were agnostic or deist (which is near agnostic). You can find that information here: http://members.tripod.com/~candst/. One of America’s most important founding IDEAS is that of religious freedom–and that means both freedom of religion AND freedom from religion.

    5. If you actually meant to argue against subjectivism, rather than just purporting that your “Judeo-Christian values” are the only possible good American values, then I apologize. But this kind of nonsense about religion being the only alternative really pisses me off.

  9. tennapel Says:

    “1. And since they are PUBLIC schools, then religion shouldn’t be taught in them.”

    We agree! No more Global Earth Day crap in public schools!

    “2. Religion is not the only source of morality or values.”

    Sorry chum, but neither Religion nor Social Contract Theory are the source of morality or values.

    “3. But religious indoctrination doesn’t belong in schools.”

    Agreed! Let’s end Earth Day/Global-Carbon-Footprintmas at schools and let people practice in their own homes.

    “4. You seem to suggest that America was founded on “Judeo-Christian values” (whatever those are).”

    The Founding Fathers suggest it.

    “5. If you actually meant to argue against subjectivism, rather than just purporting that your “Judeo-Christian values” are the only possible good American values, then I apologize.”

    Apology accepted. Thank you for your generous post.

  10. Hail Eris Says:

    I’m not 100% sure what you say here. I agree that moral relativism is the biggest lump of crap when you have much better systems like Utilitarianism, and is one of the biggest things holding back progress in terms of social evolution. Hey, we’re not to judge this racist guy, they’re HIS values, even if they make no logical sense!

    But I don’t see how that means we need to show bias towards a particular religion. Why not just promote secular values? I’m not doubting you’d be pleased with that, but you don’t seem to see why people might take issue, nor do you explain why it’s a “good” controversy.

    I think the Earth Day moaning is completely nonsensical. It’s the typical cliché of Oh ho, here’s something with superficial elements that appear to be religious, let’s call it religion!

    It reminds me of the “Atheism is a religion” school of thought, even if atheists often make their own logical jumps, it doesn’t make it a religion.

    Protecting the earth is not a “religion”. I mean – why didn’t you use another absurdist example? Like Road Safety. Why should these RELIGIOUS values be taught in our school but not Christianity? Looking left and right before you cross… what is that Dogma?

    Christianity or any other religion, in terms of the Dogma involved which is what you spend most of the time talking about, is not based on any kind of objective ideology – I’m unsure where you’re getting the idea that environmentalism is full of subjective values. It’s not based on a “believe all this stuff”, it’s based on “Okay, so we have to stop all this pollution stuff, what do we do?”

    It’s a means to an end, whereas most religions invent the means AND end.

    Also, on where do you get the Founding Fathers founded the US on JudeoChristian values? Have you read the Treaty of Tripoli?

    And even so, why exactly does it matter?

    You call subjectivists “hypcorites” but here is hypocrisy here – aren’t those in of themselves just subjective values? After all those were values set in a simpler time with a poorer understanding of social theory. You can’t expect them to be more or less objective and based in reason.

    If a country that had slavery as one of it’s principle values decided to change that value, would it be wrong? Would it be betraying itself?

    Overall, I’m just very confused. I understand your beef with subjectivism, but you chose poor examples. If you wanted to totally make a case just against objectivism, you shouldn’t have kept mentioning religion in the way you did. Even if you like being “controversial”, it is not the best way to get your ideas across.

    “We can preach other faith-based value statements besides “Second hand smoke kills” and “Racial jokes are bad”.”

    See, is this irony? I don’t see why someone would believe that second hand smoke killing is some kind of spiritual belief. Christianity and Judaism are undoubtedly more subjective than this, we can make the distinct, since we are NOT subjectivists.

    I’m guessing this is your point. Subjectivists would not be able to distinguish between why things like cutting down on pollution and stopping racism are much closer to objective values than “Jesus saves”? If so, you need to make it clearer.

    Again, you need to make it clearer if you want to make a serious stance against subjectivism. Subjectivists rely on vagueness to twist things more often than not. You need to be clear and to the point, with little ambiguity, because they’re big on the unnecessary ambiguity.

    I also take serious issue to the idea that the EU is “done”. When was the last time you were in europe? Far too many americans believe it’s a shithole without being there or at least doing proper research, the average HDI index of western europe at least is fine. Norway and Sweden, god forbidden evil SOCIALIST HYBRID STATES have a high quality of living for sure.

    You don’t realise that the E.U. recently accepted in a lot of poorer eastern european states(who, by the way, had a higher HDI index in the USSR – the USSR reached it’s own stable equilibrium before full blown western capitalism was introduced), who have yet to develop their own economies. The rate won’t continue because it’s not taking into account the fact that a lot of “young” countries are included in that average.

    This is the kind of thing you’d know if you’d done even the most basic research instead of pulling up shit from biased Washington Post articles.

    Comparing averages is a bad idea in general, it also doesn’t take into account class divide. The GDP is consistently believed to be a poor measure if living standards, so why are you insisting upon it?

    In general, I find many of your statements very frightening and you’re quickly moving into “Steve Ditko” territory in my mind, someone who’s created amazing characters but unfortunately is a bit barmy politically.


  11. Here, here… Sociopaths and Subjectivists are the same, sociopaths have just taken one step more than moral subjectivists; absolutely no un-repressed passions.

    Repressing lust is a good thing, especially when you lust for the blood of your enemies or the blood of your fellow human beings. Anyone who tears down boundaries too far does cease to be human and enters the realm of the animal, and moves back to the days of our human history before we civilized.

    The Judeo-Christian society is successful for a reason, you can say that through Natural Selection it is the best thus far… So if you believe in Darwinism, Judeo-Christian Society is the best evolved society yet… If you don’t think so, keep digging in history and find a value set that has lasted longer with one continuous identity and unity of effort (no one said it was perfect, there is friction, and adaptations have been made!).

  12. Rose Says:

    “The Judeo-Christian society is successful for a reason, you can say that through Natural Selection it is the best thus far… So if you believe in Darwinism, Judeo-Christian Society is the best evolved society yet…”

    No, that’s not how it works. It just means it was the most successful meme.

    The countries that work best in the world are Norway and Sweden, which have a very low percentage of practicing religious.


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