Post Author: Bill Pratt
This post is a bit of a rant, but I hope it provides some light on top of the heat. In 2011 I asked a simple question on the blog and then allowed readers to vote on the answer. Here is the question: Is the statement, “It is wrong to rape little children for fun,” objectively or subjectively true?
I explained that objectively true means that a statement is “true for all people at all times in all places,” and that subjectively true means that a statement is “a matter of taste, of my personal preference,” like saying that “French roast is the worst tasting coffee.”
299 votes have been cast since I posted the poll question, and disappointingly, only 68% voted that the statement is objectively true. Think about this: more than 30% of the people who responded to this poll are so morally confused that they fail to recognize that raping a little child for fun is morally wrong for all people at all times in all places.
By casting their votes for the subjective truth of this statement, they are saying that it is possible that for some person, living at some place, in some time, raping a little child for fun is morally acceptable. But you can’t really feel the total impact of these votes until you read some of the comments left by people who voted for subjective truth. Here is a sampling:
“Of course I voted for ‘Subjectively’ since there is no objective morality.”
“Morals are subjective, so yes: raping little children is a matter of taste.”
“In my opinion, it is subjective. Everyone has their own sets of morals and values, therefore, their own sets of morality.”
“I voted for subjective because the statement gives an opinion. . . . Many people regard ‘wrong’ in many different ways and the way one regards what is wrong is based on his or her personal opinion.”
“I think it is subjective because to some it is wrong, but to some people, like the rapists themselves, it is good.”
“It’s a matter of fact that it is subjective. Good or bad is subjective, justice is subjective and many more things that most people assume they aren’t subjective are actually subjective.”
Please keep in mind that I asked about a moral action that is so extreme that there should be no problem arriving at a judgment of its rightness or wrongness. I didn’t ask about abortion or gay marriage or any other issue where there is moral controversy. No, I wanted to make it simple.
For a person to say that the moral rightness or wrongness of raping a child for fun is a matter of taste is insanity, not to put too strong a point on it. The wrongness of raping a child for fun is a fact as much as the fact that 5+4=9. Only a twisted society could affirm the latter and deny the former.
The only reason I don’t truly panic when I see poll results like this is because 99% of the people who voted for subjectivity are just running their mouths, so to speak. They don’t really believe what they’re saying. It’s all about the shock value. It’s hip to deny objective morality. Only backward religious folks still believe in that silliness. We have so moved beyond old-fashioned values. Can I get a secular humanist ”Amen”?
Almost every one of the “subjective” voters really believes in objective morality, and they demonstrate it every day. They complain when other people talk behind their back, they accuse politicians they don’t like of evil intent, they protest against corporations who profit from child labor, and they demand justice in the courts. They act, every day, as if there is a common, objective set of moral laws, that everyone should follow.
There have been precious few consistent moral relativists in the history of the world, thank you God. And the ones who are truly consistent, who truly believe that there is no objective morality and who live that belief out every day in practice, are diagnosed by the psychiatric community. The diagnosis? Sociopath.