Take the subject of Capitalism for example: sound personal morals lead to ethical business practices, which in turn lead to the ethical treatment of labour (fellow humans) and the environment. It can be said that it is the absence of morals that has created the monster we know as Capitalism today. Another example is good ol’ empathy and tolerance: we treat each other based on how well we can connect and relate to each other. The lack of these has been detrimental to our society. One thing we can all agree on is that morals play a vital role is maintaining order and peace in our world, we need them.
Question is: who or what defines sound morals? Perhaps it was easier in the past, when societies were made of smaller groups of like-minded people who shared the same beliefs and values (think villages and tribes). Enter technology and the world changes drastically! Globalisation means border lines are blurred and so the world becomes one big village. We now influence each other’s culture and beliefs, there’s a lot more we’re exposed to and that gives us more to question. What is truly right? What is truly wrong? Who’s to say the world, as big as it is, should function based on his own beliefs? I guess this is why we have laws and constitutions; but what’s legal isn’t always what’s right. Slavery was once legal, Apartheid was legal, but neither of these were morally right. Moral absolutism is certainly a controversial topic, I can’t say whether it is completely positive or negative.
How have we dealt with the issue of morals (or the lack thereof) so far? My observation is that society has allowed for a fluidity of sorts, we have no vivid lines defining what’s morally right or wrong. We simply allow each person to define his own morals and hope they’re in line with everyone else’s. We disagree more often than not, but the general idea is to be as tolerant as possible. How well are we fairing as a society?
On a personal level, does moral absolutism have a place? For example… when a well-known personality who is known for humanitarianism and his/her good contribution to society is found guilty of tax fraud or using steroids for sports advantage or even sexual harrasment, do you validate him/her being stripped off their achievements and being labelled as either good or evil? How do you define right or wrong for yourself and others?