Relativist Dictators

January 1, 2011

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger coined a phrase in 2005 that I’ve thought about almost every day since he gave his address in Rome, just before he became The Pope. He said that we were moving toward a “dictatorship of relativism.”

The reason why that phrase struck the gong of my mind is because something wasn’t adding up in all of the soft goo talk of relativism by our culture. You see, there’s this idea that if you stand for nothing, then you are the open minded person on the block. You’re the harmless one, because you don’t take a stand on anything (other than the stand of not taking a stand on anything.)

To claim that all morals are relative to the individual sounds innocent enough. Who can deny the curb appeal of platitudes like “It may be true for you but not for me.” I have to live by my truth, but I can’t be considered a good boy if I project my personal, local truth onto you, your situation or your culture. That would imply not only that there are objective truths, but that I can know them…and we can’t have that. Knowing the truth is bad… and we know this to be true.

But it wasn’t the “relativism” part of Ratzinger’s statement that struck me, it was the “dictatorship” part. It’s not a word we associate with the free, minimal ethic of relativism. The relativists are the good guys, they are the opposite of moral objectivists like me. Obi-Wan said, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” It’s probably a bad idea to mix logic and Lucas, but his writing would make me a Sith. The bigger problem is that if Obi-Wan was speaking with absolute certainty then he would be a Sith too.

Relativism can’t leave everyone else alone, because it is just another absolute claim. It demands that everything be relative to the individual, and is no less vulnerable to the trappings of dogmas as any other philosophy. Man is the problem, and relativists are made of the same fallen stuff that makes an absolutist dictatorial. Man’s nature has a dictatorial streak, so that relativism can be rammed down your throat by culture with the same gusto as Sharia Law but with even more self-righteous certitude.

Relativism isn’t relativistic about itself, it’s absolutist. Openness isn’t open to closed systems of thought, syncretism and other relativist buzz-words are self refuting to a point of absurdity. The self proclaimed tolerant are among the most intolerant people. Scratch a pluralist and a mean absolute statement against absolutes gushes out.

America is a pluralist culture, and that should give us the first clue about what kind of totalitarian we’re likely to create. The man who believes in nothing the loudest is the winner.

My favorite Relativist parable is about the three blind men feeling different parts of an elephant who describe what it’s like. One man feels the face says, “An elephant has a long nose.” Another feels the leg and says, “No! An elephant is like a tree trunk!” The last blind man pulls bags of money out of the elephant’s bottom and says, “This elephant ate Deepak Chopra!”

The Dictatorship of Relativism always seems to know that everyone else is blind, but that his own vision about their blindness is above reproach.

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33 Responses to “Relativist Dictators”

  1. Paul Says:

    Doug, I am continually astounded at the level of wisdom apparent in these posts. I wish I could word these views half as well as you are able to do on a regular basis.

  2. Ian Says:

    I’m a little confused by this post- if you’re opposed to relativism, what do you suggest in its place? If relativism’s flaw is that it doesn’t practice what it preaches, then is the better choice a philosophy that’s equally reprehensible but at least it’s honest about it? Why would that be an improvement?

    • tennapel Says:

      Any coherent philosophy would be an improvement. I didn’t make a positive case for something, I just wanted to give a few reasons why I reject relativism as untenable and that it has a totalitarian streak in its DNA.

      • Ian Says:

        That’s fair. Let me ask you this then- how would you define relativism?

      • tennapel Says:

        Relativism: Truth is relative to the individual. In the modern sense of the word, it means that truth is actually generated by the will, desire and ego of the individual.

  3. Inkan Says:

    I´ve been looking for these words for days, not knowing how to express myself about a situation I´m in. Thanks for putting words to it Doug!

  4. Dcal Says:

    Doug! It’s good to have you back on facebook and good to see that you are writing about the important stuff. I’m just going to chime in to see if I can give you a few good pointers or two on the topic.

    Observation #1
    “Dictatorship” of relativism is strong rhetoric that sounds like a morally-charged banner for political action on religious issues, which, though not inherently a bad call to action, smacks of overdone oversimplification. Seriously, I can’t recall the last time I saw anyone use the words “dictatorship” or “revolution” or “relativism” or “fascism” in a sensible discourse. It seems like it’s just about provocation when you start having to use those words. Just keep that in mind whenever you want to use those words too. They might be best to avoid altogether in favor of other words that might provoke thought rather than well-defined emotion. For instance, when “dictatorship” is brought up, perhaps the discussion should be channeled into the question of “control” and whether people or ideas and which people or ideas have authority and why.

    “You see, there’s this idea that if you stand for nothing, then you are the open minded person on the block.”
    That may be one way to be seen as “open-minded,” but there are other ways of being “relativist” and “open-minded” that are not so synonymous with “cowardice.” For instance, it might be possible to be relativist by choosing not to define one’s own beliefs by the capacity to be “anti-” with another’s. Some angry Muslims across the ocean started destroying KFC’s, boycotting LEGO, and making death threats because the value of free speech allowed a Danish newspaper to circulate caricatures of the prophet Muhammed. Now, in a civilized world culture, death and destruction need not follow from the fact that someone somewhere can publicly express an opinion that you don’t like. But for some people of some belief systems, they see everyone as actually operating under theirs, so they derive the authority to not just disagree, but to act out in their own righteous anger. Their belief system is significantly defined by their duty to be “anti-” everything else. And there are four basic options in this quandary. You can be “anti-everythingelse,” you can be “anti-anti-everythingelse,” you can get stuck in the middle, or you can follow a path of grace and love that does not require everyone else to follow, but they are welcome to if they so choose.

    “That would imply not only that there are objective truths, but that I can know them…and we can’t have that. Knowing the truth is bad… and we know this to be true.”
    All directive ideas, whether good or bad by another perspective, have a particular objective and thusly operate with a basic personal moral compass. A relativist would say, my objective and the truth of my beliefs is that everyone ought to have the basic freedom to their own conscience and the choices that follow, and therefore the stand I must take is against those who harm others or threaten this freedom. Everyone can agree to disagree, but further force is, according to my beliefs, a wrong. And that’s a consistent and graceful system, even if someone else can view it as wrong within the context of his own system.

    “Relativism isn’t relativistic about itself, it’s absolutist. Openness isn’t open to closed systems of thought, syncretism and other relativist buzz-words are self refuting to a point of absurdity.”
    Now there are hypocrites on the lower levels of pretty much any belief system, where inconsistent frameworks reveal themselves in poor presentations. But I don’t think a consistent relativism is necessarily illogical, since relativism doesn’t have to be defined as simply as “everything goes,” though a wonderful straw-man that must be. Perhaps the definition of relativism, as a directive idea, is in fact supportive of other belief systems and the freedom to disagree, happy to simply let be those who don’t have open-minded beliefs. And when a relativist stands against someone for the expression of harmful or threatening beliefs, he de facto does so not just for himself but for everyone else as well, since whomever is against a relativist must be against pretty much everyone else too. In this light, relativism can be seen as courageously egalitarian, and those who are decidedly and emphatically against relativists, are expressing how they really have it out against most of 6 billion people. Now, if said relativist takes on qualities of smugness and self-righteousness, yes, a Christian absolutist is going to have some real problems with his presentation.

    “Scratch a pluralist and a mean absolute statement against absolutes gushes out.”
    Like the Christian apologists like to say, Doug, don’t judge a belief system by the poor acts of its imperfect followers. Relativism could have absolutely ZERO amazing adherents, and that still wouldn’t directly touch the question of the value of their ideals they strive for, or insert blanket defense of your choice for the separation of follower’s actions from their directive idea. Perhaps relativists can sour towards self-professed Christians who scratch them since they’re tired of argumentative religious people trying to sell their belief system by trying to dismantle others’? Think about it, they’re practically trained to be defensive by exposure to judgmental/argumentative/evangelical religious people, and that’s unfortunate, but not an inherent result of a consistent relativism.

    • tennapel Says:

      Dictatorship was a well chosen word. It’s a word that tells a story, and it tells an accurate story. The goo people don’t like words that clarify, offend or mark differences of any kind, so it only makes sense when talking about how strident relativists are that we label them appropriately.

      “Dictator” is both graceful and artful, though “authoritarian” and “totalitarian” work pretty well too. The whole point of relativism is to obfuscate absolutes… all the reason more to speak in terms of absolutes if for no other reason than to proudly take a place among the Sith, Jesus and every human being who ever walked the earth. Your own desire to tell me which words to use or not to use in a passive aggressive attack only demonstrates the perfection of using the term “dictatorship”.

      “For instance, it might be possible to be relativist by choosing not to define one’s own beliefs by the capacity to be “anti-” with another’s.”

      That’s not relativism. Relativism is to define one’s own beliefs relative to the individual instead of an objective source. It is, of course, a narcissistic dodge, which is why it has such a dictator streak.

      “But for some people of some belief systems, they see everyone as actually operating under theirs, so they derive the authority to not just disagree, but to act out in their own righteous anger.”

      That’s not some people of some belief systems, that’s all people of all belief systems. This is why even the relativists don’t think they’re living a lie while all of the morally objective world views are actually living the truth. The relativist rejects the Muslim as much as the Muslim rejects the relativist. They both judge the opponent as false. The amount of anger they express vary from culture to culture, but the rejection is the same.

      “or you can follow a path of grace and love that does not require everyone else to follow, but they are welcome to if they so choose.”

      Are you talking about the path of grace and love where the Judeo-Christian God doesn’t require everyone to follow Him but casts them into an eternal torment for not coming along? Or did you come up with a different definition of grace and love than the author of grace and love?

      “A relativist would say, my objective and the truth of my beliefs is that everyone ought to have the basic freedom to their own conscience”

      …unless the freedom of their own conscience makes it true for them to grind you into sausage and eat you. At some point, you’re going to claim a higher truth than what is just relative to you and your truth. At that point, you become a moral objectivist.

      ” And that’s a consistent and graceful system, even if someone else can view it as wrong within the context of his own system.”

      It may be consistent and graceful, but it’s not relativism.

      “But I don’t think a consistent relativism is necessarily illogical,”

      That’s true for you but not for me. In my truth, relativism is necessarily illogical. If you won’t give me that statement and concede your point, then you must reject relativism and use a morally objective position to come after me. So you either agree with me or you agree with me. Take your pick.

      “Perhaps the definition of relativism, as a directive idea, is in fact supportive of other belief systems and the freedom to disagree, happy to simply let be those who don’t have open-minded beliefs.”

      You’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own definition of relativism.

      “And when a dictator stands against someone for the expression of harmful or threatening beliefs, he de facto does so not just for himself but for everyone else as well, since whomever is against a dictator must be against pretty much everyone else too.”

      Fixed. You’re justifying a relativist to exercise his totalitarian nature. That’s what my whole post is about. While I thank you for supplying evidence that I’m onto something, I can’t say your refutation is exactly encouraging.

      • Dcal Says:

        “Your own desire to tell me which words to use or not to use in a passive aggressive attack only demonstrates the perfection of using the term “dictatorship”.”

        Authoritarian works better methinks, because your complaints seem to deal more with authoritarian personalities you’ve apparently witnessed, as opposed to a governmentally-sanctioned persecution that would particularly justify the use of “dictatorship.”

        “Relativism is to define one’s own beliefs relative to the individual instead of an objective source.”

        It does not appear that you have carefully crafted your own definition of relativism. I say this for a couple reasons you may want to consider.

        Firstly the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) justifies operational relativism, because it implies the independent moral reason of the individual is sufficient to produce properly moral action, regardless of the influence of an exterior source of law or scripture to prescribe a specific course of action (no objective source but oneself and his own desires). So if you’re going to set up a relativism to attack, you probably want to make it more specific, and I’ll give you a revised definition below that you may want to start using.

        Secondly, you seem oblivious to the possibility that the individual self can operate as an objective source for belief and action. Relativism of your flavor does not appear to actually exclude all objective sources, since the individual, as a direct copy of the entire species and unit of a larger system, may utilize his own social reasoning capacity to design his beliefs and actions. Indeed, an individual may model himself in the context of other individuals via self to self, and use this method to deduce the optimal design of his values for himself, and by extension, for all other selves. In this way, a dictatorial streak would rather be the resultant of the failure of the relativistic imagination to properly model the self, and not a byproduct of relativism proper.
        Perhaps you should say, relativism “is to define one’s beliefs relative to the socially-dysfunctional individual instead of the proper exterior/transcendent/supernatural and properly authoritative source of such information not made available to anyone by his own faculties of mind.”

        “…unless the freedom of their own conscience makes it true for them to grind you into sausage and eat you.”

        Relativism isn’t inherently a reversion to a savage, anti-social mindset so long as an individual can see the benefit to himself in living in a socially functional way. Relativism is more of an open arena for people to experiment with what beliefs work best for them in their context. The personal drawbacks of killing and cannibalism are too great to justify the potential benefits in most parts of the world, so a sane relativist would choose to follow another path.

        What enables a person to be savage and antisocial is in-group out-group morality, which is a defining element of organized religion and religious states. If you see yourself as in, then you’re seeing a lot of people as out, and they are by your perspective no different than savages, evil to the extent that you see yourself as good. Now spiritual teachers from the near and far East have advocated universal love to banish in-group out-group morality, and Jesus and Paul did a pretty good job by tearing down OT law to help one particularly savage group—the Hebrews—experience universal love. But one look at ancient Hebrew behavior is enough to see that savagery and slavery don’t need relativism to exist and flourish (Exodus 32:27, Leviticus 25:44-46). Religious nation-states with gods who can command in-group out-group border behavior can far more capably and efficiently generate savagery and slavery on the earth than any relativist could hope to do.

        “At some point, you’re going to claim a higher truth than what is just relative to you and your truth. At that point, you become a moral objectivist.”

        Not particularly. I can rather simply make the observation that the species participates in moral perception like color perception or size perception, and then accept that there will be disagreements on the basis of different perspectives/contexts of information. As a relativist, I would simply be unable to judge another’s actions on the basis of my own views, as his own views are the judge of him.

        “That’s true for you but not for me. In my truth, relativism is necessarily illogical.”

        Cute trick. But then, by what logic would you be trying to use relativism against itself? From your point of view it’s illogical, so from your point of view you don’t have a valid logic to make this claim. And from your point of view, if you’re trying to use a logic that you don’t believe in behind your own claim, you are being dishonest and intentionally deceptive. Which means that your truth judges you, so I don’t have to. Anyways, your personal conception of relativism succeeds in being illogical and unusable in your view only as long as the individual and his own reasoning capacities cannot operate as an objective source for deriving socially-functional values.

        “You’re justifying a relativist to exercise his totalitarian nature.”

        Has it never occurred to you that, by changing someone’s words, it’s not my sentence or idea anymore, but your own? And after inserting the term, did it neither occur to you that notions like standing with and for the people against oppression…have really no positive correlation with dictators and totalitarians? Most importantly it wasn’t my intention to convey the idea that relativists can exercise authoritarian personalities just because they can, in my view, stand for pluralism. Changing my words in an effort to give that to yourself is surprisingly childish.

        But hey, if your point is that relativism can operate like an open moral arena in which authoritarian personalities can pop up, that is true, just like authoritarian personalities can pop up in any religious and national arena too. I hope I don’t have to break out the Bible to remind you how authoritarian your own roots are. As far as your intention to link relativism as nothing more than a smokescreen for authoritarian personalities, well, you still have some things to work out before you can get there.


      • “Authoritarian works better methinks, because your complaints seem to deal more with authoritarian personalities you’ve apparently witnessed, as opposed to a governmentally-sanctioned persecution that would particularly justify the use of “dictatorship.””

        In my truth, dictatorship works just fine. Your own inability to let me use that word only goes to show how well chosen that word is. It 100% applies to relativist governments, and has the same nature when relativism is applied between friends. It’s dictatorial, and perfectly reasonable to apply to an individual if an individual is capable of showing dictatorial attributes. They are, so I use the term in good conscience.

        “It does not appear that you have carefully crafted your own definition of relativism.”

        I would never craft my own definition so your point is moot.

        “I say this for a couple reasons you may want to consider.”

        Nah. I don’t want to consider my definition or your definition. I want to consider the definition of what relativism means.

        “and I’ll give you a revised definition below that you may want to start using.”

        I’ll pass on your definition. I’ll also pass on you thinking I shouldn’t use the term “dictatorial” as you dictate what words and definitions I should be using.

        “In this way, a dictatorial streak would rather be the resultant of the failure of the relativistic imagination to properly model the self, and not a byproduct of relativism proper.”

        But there’s no such thing as relativism proper. It’s like a square circle proper. You claiming to be a relativist then staying up at night trying to correct me is evidence of that. And you changing the definition of relativism still doesn’t mean that you cease to refute yourself with every digit you type.

        “Perhaps you should say, relativism “is to define one’s beliefs relative to the socially-dysfunctional individual instead of the proper exterior/transcendent/supernatural and properly authoritative source of such information not made available to anyone by his own faculties of mind.””

        Uh, that’s unartful at best. It also looks like a really long definition designed to dodge an insurmountable point made in an argument if I ever saw one. Try something more comprehensible and less passive aggressive just for laughs.

        “Relativism is more of an open arena for people to experiment with what beliefs work best for them in their context.”

        …unless that context is to make people into sausage. So it’s an arbitrarily closed arena that smuggles absolute morality in when convenient then kicks them out when not. Why not cut out the middle man and just go straight to the animating feature of morality which is an absolute, instead of something relative?

        ” so a sane relativist would choose to follow another path.”

        But an insane objectivist wouldn’t make the same mistake. In your case, “sane-ness” is what makes a man moral, not “relativist”. So the definition of him being sane isn’t that he’s relativist, but that he is objectivist at least when it comes to eating people. ANd we agree that relativism is made sane by objectivism. Again, that’s the point of my post and I’m glad to see you coming around. Kicking and screaming, but one way or another, you’ll come around. Relativists always do.

        “and Jesus and Paul did a pretty good job by tearing down OT law”

        Uh, you can’t possibly be talking about the Jesus and Paul of the New T. They said the exact opposite of what you’re saying. Is this another instance where you’re going to dictate a new definition of Jesus, Paul and the Law I have to use to help you make an argument? Don’t take my word for it, go read what Jesus and Paul said about the law.

        “Religious nation-states with gods who can command in-group out-group border behavior can far more capably and efficiently generate savagery and slavery on the earth than any relativist could hope to do.”

        There is no religious state demanding in group out group behavior quite like a relativist state.

        ” As a relativist, I would simply be unable to judge another’s actions on the basis of my own views, as his own views are the judge of him.”

        If relativists acted like relativists I might buy this definition, but you aren’t going to find a relativist (including yourself) who is capable of acting like one. You judge another’s actions based on your own views all day all night. Including every line of this debate. One of us! One of us!

        “Cute trick. But then, by what logic would you be trying to use relativism against itself?”

        It’s pretty standard to try out a world view to see how well it holds up.

        “Anyways, your personal conception of relativism succeeds in being illogical and unusable in your view only as long as the individual and his own reasoning capacities cannot operate as an objective source for deriving socially-functional values.”

        Your definition of “objective source” is what is called a “subjective source”. That’s where it all falls apart. You can call it objective all day, but it’s the classic definition of subjective.

        “Has it never occurred to you that, by changing someone’s words, it’s not my sentence or idea anymore, but your own? And after inserting the term, did it neither occur to you that notions like standing with and for the people against oppression…have really no positive correlation with dictators and totalitarians?”

        Every dictator claimed to only help the little man. Relativists have no less self righteousness. They just have less power.

        ” As far as your intention to link relativism as nothing more than a smokescreen for authoritarian personalities, well, you still have some things to work out before you can get there.”

        If it’s a smokescreen then you will be able to rest without me agreeing with you.

  5. HarveyD Says:

    I love the relativism behind Ratzinger protecting pedophiles within the church.

    • tennapel Says:

      Wait a minute, you just made a joke about Catholics and pedophiles! Ten points for originality and another ten points for craftsmanship.

      • HarveyD Says:

        Unfortunately it wasn’t a joke

        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/world/europe/25vatican.html

        Anyone who protects a pedophile is no better than the pedophile. Or do you give him a free pass because he’s the pope?

      • tennapel Says:

        I never thought the abuses in the Catholic church was a joke, neither does the Pope. And I agree that pedophiles usually only get away with it if enough people co-dependently enable them. And given the age of the victims it’s more accurate to call them gay priests instead of pedophiles. Are you advocating defrocking gay priests? Because I probably already know what you believe about that without you even telling me.

        For the record, I’m not a Catholic, I don’t follow the Pope or give him a pass. But you should also know that the rate of “pedophilia” is the same in the Catholic church as it is in any other institution. The cover up is what was uniquely enabled by the structure of the church. Though teacher’s unions are similarly structured and sex offenders are regularly protected by that institution also.

        Still, if you quoted a teacher when talking about relativism and I brought up pedophilia cover-ups to refute you, I think you’d be on solid ground to think I must have a pretty weak argument to go there.

      • Abed Says:

        Where’s Harvey’s righteous outrage over Rembert Weakland being quoted as a source in that article? That piece of human trash admitted to directly abetting pedophiles because he didn’t want to hurt the image of homosexual members of the priesthood by allowing their predations to come to light. He also stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from his diocese to finance his lavish lifestyle, and to pay for a “boyfriend’s” silence. He even had the gall to claim that he and his conspirators did not know that sexual abuse of minors was a crime, and blithely justified the abusers by suggesting that victims either “would not remember or they would ‘grow out of it.'”

        And yet our relativist news media regularly takes quotes from him, even treats the bastard as a kind of noble whistleblower. Where’s the outrage? Where’s the contempt-filled condemnation? For that matter, where is the denunciation of the priests committing the crimes, and those directly responsible for covering them up?

        And, for that matter, where is the outrage over the utter lack of journalistic integrity from the NY Times? The following links expose the flimsiness of their claims: http://mugrack.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/pope-benedict-xvi-covered-up-milwaukee-pedophile-priest-scandal/
        and
        http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/197057/response-i-new-york-times-i/fr-raymond-j-de-souza

  6. Joel B Says:

    I love reading comments like HarveyD’s, since they make me feel so much smarter and better about myself.
    Joel B

    • HarveyD Says:

      ? What do you mean? Ratzinger failed to defrock a priest who molested 200 *deaf* boys. Does it make you smart to be behind someone like that?

      • tennapel Says:

        Ratzinger is also against the death penalty, so you use this argument about molesting priests to support the death penalty?

      • CMW Says:

        How come we dog the Catholic Church for all this, but aren’t burning effigies of NAMBLA supporters? At least the Catholics are trying to deal with it now, right? They’re not actively supporting it. If it’s bad for one, it’s bad for all, yes?

      • tennapel Says:

        …and given the ACLU defends NAMBLA, according to HarveyD the ACLU is no better than a pedophile.

  7. GaryJHarris Says:

    “The Dictatorship of Relativism always seems to know that everyone else is blind, but that his own vision about their blindness is above reproach.” >>> I agree. As long as people are more worried about one-upmanship than solving problems, nothing of worth gets done.

    “Any coherent philosophy would be an improvement. I didn’t make a positive case for something, I just wanted to give a few reasons why I reject relativism as untenable and that it has a totalitarian streak in its DNA.” >>> How about this: neither you nor I espouse relativism. But I tell you what, even though we may not agree on many things, when we do … we will definitely be able to make a difference. That is why relativism doesn’t work.

  8. P Mike Says:

    Mr DT, Response to the Dcal comment (which does not seem to be intentionally antagonistic) was spot on. My reaction to the comment was not as rational. Do you think the way you write, or is your writing crafted?

  9. Nicholas Lee Says:

    There is no such thing as a relativist. It is impossible to be relative to every position because you will always center on *your* position. You can’t be relative to yourself.

    Your own ideas are also based upon ideas you receive from outside yourself. So you can’t be relative to those ideas, either. You are, in fact, connected to others who share those ideas.

    The essence of your own (and the Pope’s) argument is placing “relatavism” in opposition to those who have a position. If relatavists have a position, they can’t be relativists.

    • tennapel Says:

      Totally agree, sir. While there can be no actual relativists, there can be people who claim to be relativists. And there can be people dictatorially act as if relativism is true. Yes?

  10. Dn. Nate Says:

    Professor Peter Kreeft says this:
    ***
    How important is the issue? The issue of moral relativism is merely the single most important issue of our age, for no society in all of human history has ever survived without rejecting the philosophy that I am about to refute. There has never been a society of relativists. Therefore, our society will do one of three things: either disprove one of the most universally established laws of all history; or repent of its relativism and survive; or persist in its relativism and perish.
    ***
    The full transcript of his talk is available here:
    peterkreeft.com/audio/05_relativism/relativism_transcription.htm

  11. MErious Says:

    I had to look this up, and I went for the first source that popped up so bear with me if it’s a misquote, but churchill did say something along the lines of “It has been said democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried”. I’m not here to defend relativism because I’m far more of a humanist entopicist. Bear with me while I stand in the process of coining that category, and I’d be happy to elaborate in due order. Ultimately, no philosophy is correct, and each has its damning natures and followers in par, but the situation you present is a “holier than thou, for I am above reproach” argument in terms of what relativism suffers from. You also hint at the closet case offenders of general creed, by which I mean how the rabid right are truly liberal economists when you touch their money, and the and the rabid left are swift to conservative punishment when you commit a crime against them. Lots of things have been hypocritically preached and adopted by the masses, and humanity has done fine through each trial it instigates and surpasses. Ultimately others wont be able to look past the controversial entities within your own statement, and have ultimately suffered by the very occurence that you wrote about. Personally I believe in our cult of society. If nothing else has bound us throughout human history, its the very tennants by which we base our societies. Have any of them been perfect? No. But they direct us towards the moral beliefs you seem to hope others possess. The whiners will whine, and the braggarts will brag, and until the end of time, somebody will have an inferiority complex which they’ll never be able to come to terms with, and that will always cast drastic overtones over the sincerety and purity of the quiet and reasonable entities within each era of our history.

    On an additional note, I wrote this at 4 a.m. and if it lacks an acceptable coherencey, then I apologize, I’ll be sure to run whichever following posts through a word document so that I may peruse them adequately and adjust the syntax and such. Hopefully this post hasn’t become old and stale enough to just openly ignore my late comment.


  12. Dcal-
    While you make perfect sense and speak sensibly and maturely, your efforts are futile. Doug doesn’t practice falsification because he has divine knowledge! He has a book with all the answers already in it! So, what do a bunch of reasonable points mean to him? Nothing, because they aren’t the points espoused upon by his social group or ideology.

    Doug it is ludicrous that when someone tells you that you have miss-communicated that you call them a dictator. Also, isn’t dictatorship ideal in an objective morality as long as the dictator subscribes to that objective morality?

    Oh, and Doug I’m not a relativist so don’t use me as an example of their foibles.


  13. Also,

    You seem to claim that language is objective. You don’t do this outright but you do say “I would never craft my own definition so your point is moot.” and “Nah. I don’t want to consider my definition or your definition. I want to consider the definition of what relativism means.” But at the same time I looked up relativism and your definition wasn’t exactly what it said in my dictionary. Therefore isn’t the definition relative to the particular group making that dictionary? If Oxford English, dictionary.com, and Webster’s don’t all agree how do you pick which source is the actual definition. Language is one of the biggest problems with your point at all. Because language is cultural and varies among different cultures and even sub-cultures, to say that you’re definition is the RIGHT one and another is the WRONG one when neither is agreed upon by all members of a language speaking body seems arbitrary if it wasn’t obviously self-serving. So, I ask you who chooses what words mean and what is the right definition?

    It seems to me the debate on language is a parallel to the debate on relativism. You think your definitions and interpretations of language are the right ones and anyone that disagrees must then have the wrong ones. A language relativist believes that language is used by all and that there is no right or wrong language but rather language that communicates the speakers intentions effectively and language that does not accomplish that same level of effectiveness. Particular words or phrases could effectively communicate in one context but not in another. It seems the same could be said of morality.

    Also, there are not simply objectivists and relativists, there also pragmatists that reject the whole debate as irrelevant and want to deal what must be done rather than spend all this effort with what to believe.

  14. L.R. Weizel Says:

    Again, I agree with the basic concept that moral relativism does not serve society well. However the problem here is that if there is an absolute, best optimal system here, it’s very unlikely to be yours.


  15. Tremendous things here. I am very happy to look your article.
    Thanks so much and I am having a look ahead to touch you.
    Will you kindly drop me a mail?


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