Is Moral Relativism Another Name for Tolerance?

Newman

Member
  • #1
The more I read about moral relativism, the more I have issues with it. I have never been a huge fan of people who think that just because someone isn't just like you and me, that makes them automatically "right." There are actually people like this. They're usually very liberal in their way of thinking and no matter what someone else does, these liberals begin preaching about how we should understand other cultures and accept people for who they are. My question is, what if these people are wrong? What if they're oppressive cultures? What if these people are abusive to the elderly? Men? Women? Children? What if they indoctrinate their young? What if they're slave drivers? Are all of these people morally justified in their actions? Just because they're not American and we don't fully understand their cultures, does that mean we need to bow down to them and accept anything and everything they do? I'm not too sure about that. There are plenty of horrible people and just as horrible cultures on this earth outside of the United States that should be dealt with. How? Well, that's a topic for another conversation.

I think moral relativism is just another name for tolerance. Sure, we should all be tolerant of things we don't understand. I would suggest everyone give the benefit of the doubt during the stage of ignorance. But if we come to learn that there's a thriving slave trade in Libya or other parts of Africa, then we ought to do something about that. Just because certain groups in Libya have deemed it acceptable to enslave others doesn't make it moral. Apparently, to the normative relativists out there, we shouldn't do anything and we should simply look the other way. No, actually, we should think they are correct for doing what they do.

Let me ask you something. If normative relativists are so against infringing on another culture's moral outlook, why do they insist upon promoting there relativism wherever they go? And if their relativism is just another name for their tolerance, isn't the fact that they insist on tolerance for all a universal value? Isn't this the very thing they stand against? So how can they promote the idea of having a universal value (tolerance) and actual tolerance (relativism) simultaneously? What if one of these cultures they're so tolerant of decides against tolerance? Will they still be tolerant of them? Or will they force their tolerance upon them? Now that wouldn't be very tolerant, would it?

I'm not sure it's within the human psyche to be completely tolerant of others. While I think it may be a noble goal at times, it certainly isn't an admirable quality to possess all the time. While tolerance should be taught (along with skepticism) and may be appropriate on some occasions and under some circumstances, I think intolerance and even outrage is completely acceptable as well. When someone stands in the face of evil, that's no time to be tolerant or relativistic in their moral approach.
 
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