Cannibals are People Too (Part II)

Sep 19, 2011 by

Now, in my last article, I talked about Relativism as it applies to the individual.  Relativism cannot be applied on an individual morality basis.  If the Relativist adopts this belief, he is admitting Cannibalism (as defined in the last article) as an acceptable practice.  Relativism cannot judge morality as a fact.  Morals are not facts, but Reason and Virtue.  Thus, the Relativist has no choice but to accept a sort of Society Relativism.

Relativism, in relation to Societies, is a belief that all opinions are Relative only in application to Societies.  It believes along the lines of those within the Society should conform to what the Society says, but that there is no overall truth for how a Society should act.  Now, for this argument to maintain legitimacy, it must not deteriorate into the former argument of the individual, for that has seen to be a flawed argument.  Therefore, now I will examine this and prove that, though many academics argue this point of view, it appears to be a flawed one in the eyes of Reason.

One problem that comes to light when examining Relativism is the problem of Progress.  For now, let us look at an individual society within Relativism.  Now, the Reason Relativism adopted a Society view rather than an individual one is:  individuals can tend towards destruction and groups of people tend towards the betterment of society.  In other words, an individual’s moral compass may be flawed, but the society will generally push for the greater good.  Now, this is true in one respect:  the society defends itself from counter-beliefs.

In a Society, the belief in Cannibalism will go against the grain of the Society, being that people, for some odd reason, do not generally enjoy being killed, chopped up, and served in a stew with a side of bread.  Thus, to allow such a thing on a wide spread basis would be rejected.  However, let us travel back in time to the year 1776.  In the English Colony of Virginia, soon to be its own sovereign power, there are many individuals who detest slavery.  However, the great majority of the people are all for it.  Now, the few who would stand against slavery, are standing against the society, and thus, in the eyes of a Society Relativism, are just as bad as the Cannibals.  Now, a Relativist might come back and try to make an exception stating, “Well, in the cases where the greater good is obvious, the greater good may change a society.”  However, let us not forget, the greater good is a virtue.  A virtue is a moral.  A moral is an opinion.  And thus, according to the tenants of Relativism, the greater good is not to be a standard of judging the society.  Thus, while we may combat evils that are disliked by the group, evils that are to the pleasure of the group set in.

The other problem that comes to light about Relativism is that in the light of all Societies.  This one is a simple reduction.  A society can determine right and wrong for itself in a Relativist setting.  Thus, a society can adopt anything it wishes.  A society is similar to an entity.  An individual is similar to an entity.  If you take Relativism in its base form, it is the belief that all entities form opinions of their own and are right in their opinion.  This model was proven flawed in the case of the individual.  However, what is the difference between the two?  The only difference is that in this new society version, societies are less likely to adopt a practice such as Cannibalism.  However, “less likely” does not mean Cannibalism is wrong if a Society does choose to adopt it.  Thus, we are back to the case of the Individual Relativism, and therefore Society Relativism flawed.

I feel it is now obvious that those in academia should utterly reject this notion.  It holds no ground in reason.  The only benefit it provides is the ability to not need to prove your opinions.  All may have a right to their opinions, but it is not the case that all are right in their opinions.

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