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Right, by God

By Brad Wallace
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 12, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Let's have some fun and talk about the Holocaust! I got lots of hate mail after last week's column where I boldly suggested that God might or might not exist. According to you, the devoted reading audience, I am "GOING TO SUFFER FOREVER IN SATAN'S GRASP!" Thank God (or not) that I didn't say anything about the pope.

Either way, this column is about last week's column, because so many people think that I deserve eternal torment. What I was really suggesting is one of the most hated concepts in the world, called moral relativism.

The God stuff was just fluff.

Here's why so many people hate moral relativism. It says that the concepts of right and wrong don't exist as absolutes. By taking this a little further, you could say that if nothing is right or wrong, then a moral relativist could think that its okay to kill people! This is true. But consider the alternative.

You are a German, in 1930 or so. You are Christian, raised by loving, caring people. You believe that right and wrong are absolutes, and you learn what is right and wrong from what people tell you. You are not confused, as you also speak German. Being in Western Europe, you might whisper jokes about an ethnic minority known as "Jews" much like ethnic jokes are whispered today.

Then, after some really bad times, Germany gets a great new leader. This guy can TALK. He explains that the crushing depression that cost you your home, your prosperity, everything is because of these Jews. Because they have a different religion, which is wrong, and because they have strange customs and language, you begin to believe a very little bit that these Jews have been up to something.

Then, through the use of scientific methods (horribly misapplied, might I add) and through lots and lots of talking, you start to believe that these Jews are worse than just troublemakers. They may not even be human. They in fact, are little more than animals. Their presence in your homeland is wrong. The existence of the Jews is wrong. The right thing to do is to clean the world.

You do the right thing and systematically kill Jews. By the million.

This is the result of believing in right and wrong as absolute, perfect, definable truths. It also explains the Inquisition, slavery, the present racial divide in America, genocide and most everything else wrong with the world. One side is RIGHT, by GOD, and the other side is WRONG, and we are going to show them how right we are, even if we have to gut them or slave them, or convert them.

Now imagine a world where every single human being was a moral relativist. Individuals cannot be told what is right, or wrong. They will not listen to governments that say things like "Let's kill a lot of people!" They will not listen to religious leaders who say things like "ABORTION IS MURDER!"

These folks will write some crazy laws, let me tell you. They might actually reflect the crazy, imperfect, wildly relativistic world that we live in.

Because I believe in the inherent goodness of people, I think that people would agree not to kill each other, or hit each other, and other basic nice things. I believe that people are smart, and do not need to be told what is right and wrong, and are better off thinking really hard, and learning, and figuring out what works for them.

I think that a society, based on ethics, instead of morals, is possible. It will have one downside, that every single person on Earth is really going to have to think about hard stuff, instead of being spoon-fed flawed ideals.

We've given moral absolutism a couple millennia to work with, and it really hasn't been all that good. Maybe its time for a change. Either way, I'll be BURNING IN HELL.