Admitting that morality is so not last millenium

“Stop judging me,” jeers a friend recounting a tale about his scandalous Friday night escapades. I’m grimacing and probably not using my best endorsement-of-your-behavior facial expression, but I insist that I’m not judging. “Stop being paranoid. And stop judging me!” I counter pathetically.

It takes me a few days to realize that we are both ridiculous for distancing ourselves from judgments. In a culture that persistently hisses “don’t judge, don’t judge,” we lose our ability to articulate why judgments are an integral part of life. But moral judgments are the indispensable instruments enabling us to live the best life.

We regularly make moral judgments in so many aspects of our lives. Our generation is radically concerned with helping the poor and seeking social justice. PBHA is blessed with a plethora of Harvard students dedicated to the Boston community. President Obama hosted a fatherhood event in June that James Dobson could not have done better himself. David Brooks and Ivy League philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah dismiss the psychologist’s claim that character is nonexistent. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, the backbone of a moral education no morally confused Harvard student should graduate without, contends that nature provides humans with a capacity for virtue. When we consciously develop virtue, or moral excellence, we are fully in accordance with our nature. A virtuous lifestyle engenders happiness, and a virtuous man acts morally with pleasure. The problem is that we fall into the paradox that the only unjust moral judgment is the judgment offering objective value. Relativism breaks down our ability to label some actions objectively right and others universally wrong.

Wondering if moral judgments are as condemned as they are passé, I embarked on True Love Revolution’s Operation Platform Change with a bit of curiosity. True Love Revolution was Harvard’s abstinence advocacy group, but dissatisfied with advocating abstinence without the philosophical context of what gender and marriage mean, the organization adopted an expansive pro-marriage, pro-family, and pro-equity feminism platform. Students rarely hear moral judgments that aren’t sufficiently doused with post-enlightenment political correctness. Tolerance trumps self-control, diversity trumps veracity, and experimental relativism trumps traditional virtues.

But what happens when you claim children ought to have a mother and a father, women and men are inherently different, people aren’t sexual animals, and the right to sexual privacy is not a right to normalcy? An objective moral judgment that condemns objective moral judgments. In fact, an invasion of objective moral judgments crawling out from all nooks and crannies on Harvard’s dusty campus.

Since we are all proponents of objective moral judgments, we must move past debating whether moral judgments are right and wrong. Harvard students must honestly accept that we constantly make moral judgments in pursuit of living well. True Love Revolution’s mission statement offers a set of moral judgments that must be examined, debated, and justified on their philosophical, moral, intellectual, and social merit. True Love Revolution seeks a dialogue where students who embrace other moral judgments challenge ours and defend their own, creating a culture that admits we all define morality instead of claiming to shun it.

True Love Revolution defends the reality of the best life. Our platform statements confidently address what we believe to be ramifications of degenerating traditional American love, marriages, and families. Dialogues about morality cannot exist without moral claims, and True Love Revolution starts the dialogue by presenting such claims. While we all make moral judgments to pursue the best life, we choose different routes.

So defend your routes, challenge our platform, offer your alternative moral judgment. Move past denying the validity of judgment, recognize that judgments are a fundamental characteristic of life. If you disagree with our definition of the best life and the choices that lead us there, stand up for your own. But join us in confronting the suffocating culture of praising tolerance while intolerantly demanding adherence to a relativist framework.

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One thought on “Admitting that morality is so not last millenium

  1. JoPoFoSho says:

    I think there are two senses of the word judgment that are easy to confuse. On the one hand, judgment can mean simple moral disapproval; to “judge” your friend’s Friday night escapades is merely to find them morally objectionable. On the other hand, judgment can mean *looking down* on those people of whose actions we disapprove, finding them somehow inferior to us due to their behavior.

    Of course, the two often go hand in hand. But I think your friend (like my friends) was probably objecting to perceived condescension on your part, rather than to your opinion itself. There *are* people who will want to maintain that there cannot be *any* moral judgments whatsoever, but most people (even here in Cambridge!) acknowledge that they have strong opinions about right or wrong that they’re not willing to dismiss as merely “subjective.”

    The problem for us (as Christians or pro-lifers or “social conservatives” or “traditionalists”) is to convey and defend our opinions without appearing to be proud, overbearing, or judgmental. Still not sure how to do that…

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