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Soc 120 - a Moral Minima

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A Moral Minima

Matthew Bowers


May 16, 2011

Robert Strain

A Moral Minima

When it comes to morality in society there are a few things that universally fall under the heading of wrong. Mr. Goodman lays out four of these areas as found to be wrong in the majority of our world, or at least, strong areas of concern; 1.) genocide, politically induced famine, and germ warfare; 2.) terrorism, hostage taking, and child warriors; 3.) slavery, polygamy, and incest; and 4.) rape and female genital cutting. (Goodman, 2010) Now generally a relativist might contend that some of these items might fall under the realm of a society's customs. But, when spelled out by Mr. Goodman these areas can be seen at their true nature, to defame, have power over and to take away the rights that should be afforded to all human beings. I believe that there are things that should not be allowed in society, but I also believe that there are too many points of view to consider in our role as a people.

Many different religions have taken it upon themselves to lay out rules or guidelines for their faith. The Christian Bible for instance uses the Ten Commandments to condemn those who commit these offenses; "Thou shalt not kill", being one of these commandments. (Deut. 5:17) This being said, there is something to say about a global truth about morality. Having an agreement about murder does not mean that there are or are not moral codes that should be followed as truth.

Take for instance, polygamy; it is considered morally right in most Arab nations. Here in the United States, however, it is illegal and considered taboo. Taking more than one wife has been a customary for centuries in the middle-east taken from religious figures in both Judaism and Muslin cultures. How then can we as a people condemn something that has been practiced for so long? Slavery was practiced for just as long as polygamy yet it has been virtually wiped off the face of every culture, right or wrong? Who is to say what should and shouldn't be practiced from culture to culture? I do not believe there is any way to arrange any list of moral codes for all to follow.

If a person were to conceive a draft of a moral code of conduct and it were adapted by every society, would we then be giving all of our rights to the author? When has one man ever been right one-hundred percent of the time? To say that everything that is morally right for one person should be right for all then we are just limiting ourselves.

I conclude that instead of Moral Minima we should have Moral Democracy. By simply debating issues and finding an acceptable compromise on all issues we have



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