Morality

I was a thousand words into an article about sexuality discussion before I realised that all of what I was writing could be much better done if I look at things from a different angle instead. The reason I even get here in the first place is that while trying to explain my position on pornography, prostitution, abortions and other things, I notice how I keep getting to the issue of morality over and over, and so I decided to scrap the draft I was working on. Here’s the aftermath.

A lot of the issues, regarding law making or social perception, stems from the general morality and disagreement of such between different groups of different view points. Of course, this applies to me as well, as I just like everyone has a very distinct set of morals that govern my every day life and reactions, along with how I rule on social issues and general attitude toward them. Thus, the things I say here, however hypocritical it may sound to you by the end of it, stems from my beliefs and perception, and not my morality. Only then do I feel qualified to talk about morality.

Moral is ‘principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct’, or whatever similar definition of the noun one could grab off a dictionary. First point: everyone has a different set of morals. I understand that I’ve already stated this one, but this is an extremely important fact that needs to be said again. Though there are general moral compasses within a region due to familiarity, religion, or whatever system, the intricate details of sensitive issues are often not agreed upon. Even things like ‘no killing’, and personal freedom aren’t even agreed upon, and opinions can shift heavily on what the people want to regard as belonging to certain issues. The point is, for the third time, there’s no agreeable set of morals. Surely ‘don’t kill the innocents’ sound nice and good, and I agree with it too personally, but the actions of humanity do not represent this. People kill others all the time. In 2012, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime put the global homicidal rate at 6.2 per 100.000 population. It doesn’t sound like a big number, and obviously this number fluctuates greatly depending on the area you’re living in. The reason why I picked a global statistics is because I truly believe what I’m speaking of right now applies to a largely global scale. There’re very few (if any) sets of beliefs out there that endorses murder, but it happens still. This goes the same for freedom of speech against things like NDAs, censorships, state secrets and similar, and personal liberty against imprisonment, arrest, immigration etc. Laws do not necessary follow morality, even if it may be something generally agreed upon.

In more hotly debated topics, this dissonance in agreement becomes even more prominent. Issues like abortion, pornography, prostitution, drug consumption, gun ownership, homosexuality (including bisexuality), transgenderism (which is an entirely separate issue), death penalty, sexuality, rape, torture and many more are still on the table, no matter how some might wish otherwise. I have my personal views of these things, and so does everyone else. People’s understanding of them maybe different, but the basis of democracy means everyone’s vote, ignorant or educated, is counted equally. I fully understand that not all people believe in democracy, and that only serves to prove my point. A majority in agreement doesn’t mean something is correct, as always, but then what does? For some morality is god given, for others it’s just a set of acceptable behaviour that dictates how best to get along with one another. There’s so much gray area here that it becomes futile to even try to get a consensus.

For one, I believe entirely in debates and conversations. Every single one of my beliefs, regardless of how personally discrediting it may sound, is subjected to change. It is the only way to be intellectually honest. With the turnover rate of social issues especially, it’d be downright foolish of me to think that staying in a hug-box is a way to advance.

Now comes the real focal point of the discussions: laws and policies. People can hold whatever beliefs they want, but everyone has to abide by the law, of which varies wildly depending on where they live in. If there’s no true consensus on morality, and probably there never will be, what is the basis for government laws? Firstly, a government is chosen differently in each country, and democracy isn’t necessarily as prevalent as it appears to be. After all, it’s the representatives who vote, and they have the power to overrule the public consensus, and that’s if you’re lucky. Secondly, laws today are largely modified laws of the past, going back to whatever belief system your country happens to originate from. What does this really mean? A codex that’s been set thousands of years ago really doesn’t sound like such a great thing to impose upon people of the twenty first century, but that really is the best we have. In those countries that are currently not rioting (or at least threatening a riot), people are at least somewhat content for various reasons. They could be too prosperous to care, they could be in such a terrible economic situation that they don’t have time for social issues yet, they’re being actively lied to, or, rarely, they are actually satisfied. All of these laws are largely different, but a lot of them are in fact based on morality. That’s the reason why countries ban pornographic production/distribution/consumption, homosexuality (not just rights), cannibalism and various other things (please do not be misled that I’m somehow insinuating that these issues are comparable).

So, morals dictate laws to a certain degree, and so does science (recycling, green energy etc.), but how can this be? Whose morals is the government using to make these laws? Science can have a slower turnover and more immediate, provable effects, but where does the moral basis come in? There are countries that have legalised gay marriage and have yet to burn from the ground up, would that convince the other side of the argument somehow? Does that result somehow prove anything about homosexuality? The answer is maybe, and that’s all we have. Social laws and policies, no matter where you’re living, is dictated primarily by morals, which is a topic established as impossible to agree on. Yet, morals is a personal affair. The ‘majority rule’ aspect of democracy means that 49% of the population can have no say, or even in specific cases (the U.S. rules for example) this number can be even higher.

My point, after all this, is to make clear how laws never will be the be-all-end-all of an argument, and how there can never really be true equality in this kind of tasks. Not everyone’s voice counts the same, it never has been this way, and it never likely will be. I’m advocating a different approach to the law, something that doesn’t depend on the morals of a group of people – subsequently leaving out everyone else’s – but instead work on a basis of survival and advancement. At this point, I sound like a naive idealist. I acknowledge that, but I’m not actually delusional enough to think that what I wrote is capable of making a difference, especially since I didn’t even offer a tangible solution.

That’d be just like me, wouldn’t it?

Picture from TheBlaze

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s