Opinion: Legislating Morality

by Seth Hale

Ah, the season of electing another batch of our morality legislators is upon us. In a few short months we will cast votes in hopes of electing the “best” candidate who will then go forth to “represent” his or her constituents — every last constituent — which really boils down to keeping those who actually voted for them happy and the cash rolling in to support their next campaign.

‪The American political game is a mess. The current format is our best attempt to keep a grip on society and monitor its attempts of doing right and wrong.

‪Our political practice is such a foolishness that we have submitted to. And I’m afraid that the blinders have been on too long for us to be able to see with clear eyes at the root cause of this chaotic environment. 

‪The point I’m looking to make here is that morality cannot be and never will be legislated. The philosophy of morality has yet to be resolved in the time humans have spent on earth, so this column will be a fraction of an iota on the topic. 

‪My desire is to raise some questions. Not to muddle the already murky waters or to spark a hate filled debate, but to be intentional with our development of morality. 

‪I see there being two very obvious options when it comes to the origination of morals: individualistically derived or divinely inspired.

‪ The first camp uses their worldview and experiences to compile a belief system that will set the tone for their life. The second camp are Christians who have the audacity to say that God is the standard and they strive to build their morality in light of his divine supremacy. 

‪The former begs the question of (and, please, read this slowly), “If what’s true for you is true for you, and what is true for me is true for me, what if my true says yours is a lie? Is it still true?”

There are zero absolutes in moral principles when they are derived individualistically. If we want to submit to this ideology then all frustration directed toward others must go out the window. Morals are relative at this point and it would be completely against the whole ideology to say, “Your morals are wrong, even though they are yours.” If an individual is responsible to write their own moral code, then it cannot possibly be wrong considering there is no absolute standard to test it against. 

‪In light of the latter, there is evidence pointing to a fallen world, so the pursuit toward the one set standard for morals must not be a passive pursuit, but an extremely active one. 

‪Everything came from nothing — whether this was a result of a big bang or a divine creation — but only one of these options gives us a potential for universal moral standards. Morality is not mindless. Morality is not selfish. Morality is not passive. 

The point of this piece is to say that we are a long way off. It’s interesting to me that we can attempt to apply our moral convictions on a universal scale when they are typically derived from a selfish motive and extremely dependent on a plethora of factors.

Consider what I’ve said in this fraction of an iota within the discussion on morality. Chew on it – perhaps not literally, unless ABP has already drained your meal plan account. But give it some serious thought. I wrestle with these thoughts every day of my life. Both sides can appear flawed to me depending on the day, but I’ll tackle this frustration in my next opinion piece titled “The Problem with Perfection.”

My challenge is this: figure out where you came from, how humanity came into existence, and base your life around that. Result of a big bang? Embrace the chaos and don’t expect perfection in any way, shape or form. All things will be relative when it comes to morals. Result of divine creation? Perfection once existed and has been shattered by humans. There is a standard, but it has been greatly clouded due to human behavior. 

Can morality be legislated? I would suggest it can’t be. I don’t have all the answers either, folks, just a desire to find them through an active pursuit. See you next time.