The End of Moral Relativism

Jonathan Merritt writing in the Atlantic:

Thoughtful conservatives who are less concerned with waging culture wars have begun to admit that such a shift is occurring. In The New York Times last week, David Brooks argued that while American college campuses were “awash in moral relativism” as late as the 1980s, a “shame culture” has now taken its place. The subjective morality of yesterday has been replaced by an ethical code that, if violated, results in unmerciful moral crusades on social media.

A culture of shame cannot be a culture of total relativism. One must have some moral criteria for which to decide if someone is worth shaming.

“Some sort of moral system is coming into place,” Brooks says. “Some new criteria now exist, which people use to define correct and incorrect action.”

I’ve been thinking that the pendulum has been swinging for a while now. Looking back at the 70’s and 80’s when there really was an “anything goes” season, we’re definitely in a very different moment.

I’m not sure if anyone can put a finger on the moment it changed, or what might be identified as the proximate cause, but we clearly are in a different moment.

Either way, this is certainly what we’re seeing happening on Social Media – which is probably the most effective window we have into the collective Zeitgeist.

What does the Church say in such a season?

Author: Nicholas Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...