The moral relativist says all morality originates with people; either the individual decides or society creates the moral rules. Let’s look at each one:
- Pleasure as ethics – Other names this can go by is “I say relativism” or “individual ethical relativism” or “ethical subjectivism.” The basic belief is that individual preferences offer the only guideline to behavior. What is right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another person, regardless of culture. All moral evaluations are personal, a mere opinion only. These individuals are quick to say to critics, “Who are you to judge,” and “Don’t force your morals on me.” I find many who live by this ethical system don’t normally defend this point of view; they usually say it is society that sets the rules; even though in their everyday life they do what feels good to them or what gives them the most pleasure. Yet, they won’t try to defend this viewpoint, for the simple reason they know if everyone did what they wanted, it would lead to anarchy. So instead most appeal the second ethical system…
- Power as ethics – Other names for this is “Society says relativism” or “conventionalism” or “normative ethical relativism.” This ethical system teaches people should act according to their own society’s code. What is right for one society isn’t necessarily right for another. People should only do what their society tells them to do. If the leaders of society set the moral rules then we truly have “might makes right” or what I call Power as ethics. Whoever is in power sets the moral code for their society. When talking with relativists, this is the most popular viewpoint.
Part 8 I will begin to show why these viewpoints are morally bankrupt.