Why Majority Opinion Cannot Shape Morality
|July 28, 2012||Posted by Derek Elkins under Elkins Blog, The Blog|
It seems like we're in the midst of a constantly sifting environment where someone wants to shove their morality down someone else's throats, by forcibly claiming it is the only correct morality. When we disagree or take an opposing stance, we are immediately threatened, belittled and called names. Which, in my mind, is exactly how a bully would react when you disagree with them. But, no matter how many eventually agree with a position, that position cannot be shaped to be a new moral standard for several reasons.
The biggest reason why majority cannot shape morality is that morality is a constant. Oh, we like to pretend that morality is relative or that it depends on the culture but it doesn't. Take two examples. During the Nazi regime, Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and even handicapped Germans were thought to be less than pure Aryans and therefore, because they were less than human, they did not have a legitimate right to life. If majority opinion shapes morality than we cannot condemn the Nazis for murdering so many Jews as, according to their majority opinion, Jews were not even worthy of life. Take another lesson from history. In Rwanda, in 1994, members of the Hutus slaughtered around 500,000 to 1,000,000 of the Tutsi men, women and children. Again, if majority opinion can shape morality, how can anyone else possibly condone such actions? By what standard do we condone such actions?
Second, majority cannot shape morality because human’s nature is, by and large, self-serving, egotistical, and cruel, even when they appear to be placing the happiness of others before their own. I'm sure the good people of Salem, Massachusetts were simply trying to keep the standard of the Bible, but somehow they got incredibly sidetracked. The same can be said of the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades. Human nature will always take the best of intentions and pervert it into something self-serving and cruel.
Lastly, for now, because majority opinion depends mostly upon what make the majority happy and not for what is best for all regardless of the circumstances, it is fundamentally flawed. My mind goes back to an interview where the interviewer asked the interviewee what he would say if his children told him that they were homosexual. The interviewer said that he would tell them that it was fine as long as they were happy. The interviewee disagreed.
Think about it. Is happiness the ultimate goal? I would think that if we aim for happiness that we're aiming awful low. I would hope that my children learn to sacrifice their own happiness at times for the happiness of others, otherwise what are we but a society of self-serving babies? I would hope that my children fight and struggle not for what benefits them most, but for what benefits others the most. I would hope that my children see that happiness without the restraints of self-control and higher goals is what can lead directly to chaos and the destruction of society as we know it. I would hope that my children understand that happiness without hard work can lead directly to feelings of entitlement and laziness.
Majority opinion cannot shape morality because, despite what evolutionists claim, we have not and we will never evolve far enough where we are mature enough to choose what is right for all. Choosing what is right means having to make tough decisions. It means that someone's idea of happiness is going to have to be sacrificed for what is best for all. It means that sometimes you have to wait and earn what makes you happy. It means that we all have to concede that the only way we can have standards of morality that apply to every person in every situation is to have a standard so high that no one, because of our innate selfishness, cannot possibly hope to meet.