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May 28, 2013 1:22 am

Memo to Civilization

avatar by Brandon Marlon

The doctrine of relativism is laudable for its egalitarian impetus, but falls short of the gold standard of common sense.  In theory, it is admirable to accord equal value to different viewpoints and ideas, but in practice the acceptance of noxious notions and extreme behaviors leads in short order to one’s own undoing.

Those who would abjure judgment abdicate the fundamental human responsibility to think, yet the mind is meant to discern, evaluate, and decide. Our most basic instincts and intuitions exist to guide us toward safety and away from danger, yet relativism would obfuscate the obvious and blind us to the all-important differences between good and bad, right and wrong, virtue and vice. If everything is equal, then anything goes, and that does not make for a sustainable status quo. Rather, it merely hastens demise.

Religions and cultures are products, just as cars and toaster ovens are products. Neither are they all the same, nor are they all equal. Some do much more to make us more enlightened and edified as individuals and more cohesive as societies; all can be reformed and reinterpreted with a view toward toleration and moderation.

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But until such high-minded reforms take hold, the civilized must heed the signals of internal decay as much as ward off the barbarians rattling the gates. In a global village, the gates are figurative and inner corrosion is the real concern.

Despite their theoretical benefits, relativism and its handmaiden, political correctness, have done tremendous damage to the moral fiber of civilized societies. They have refused to allow perfectly lucid thinkers to call things by their proper names, and identify precisely and accurately the obvious sources of hatred, violence, murder, and terrorism. In place of perspicuous acuity, there is cognitive dissonance. In lieu of moral clarity, there are vacuous excuses.

When civilization refuses to deal with the decay within, it soon succumbs to it. When common sense becomes politically incorrect, then reason has been renounced and the writing is on the wall.

Liberal tolerance of illiberal intolerance is lethal. Either there will be death to relativism, or death by relativism. The choice of the civilized is clear.

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