Ethical Relativism: The Great Closing

January 29, 2010
By Wallflower PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
Wallflower PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
37 articles 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you aren't happy alone then you're not going to be happy with anyone else.

Allan Bloom, in his article The Closing of the American mind states "actually, openness results in American conformism/ out there in the rest of the world is a drab diversity that teaches only that values are relative, where as here we can create the lifestyles we want. Our openness means that we do not need others, thus what is advertised is a great opening is a great closing. I agree with bloom in that the last fifty years there has been a swing in education to this extreme tolerance of everyone's views and opinions. From our founding fathers were men who believed in inalienable rights for individuals, yet slavery, discrimination and horrible abuses occurred. What I believed has happened in our society is that we have taken openness to the extreme and we named it ethical relativism when we really should've called it 'self-centeredness. We have created a philosophy for ourselves in this modern generation of "anything goes." There is no search for truth, for right or wrong, for an ideal way of living, or ideals. Today in our society, if a person stands up for their beliefs, they are considered: self righteous, critical, and judgmental. Only what is acceptable is this blurring of values and beliefs, a lukewarm wishy-washy muddling of values. The modern thought of people is literally a disdain for someone with strong beliefs and convictions.

Ethical relativism on the surface is about openness. The grounds for its progress and its wide influence may stem from the abolishment of slavery, equal rights for men and women, and acceptance of the various cultures of our society. Our country is no longer a white, predominately Christian society. By embracing ethical relativism, our youth today rebel against rigid rules and strict morals. Our society has become obsessed with self fulfillment and narcissistic absorption. Our desire to increase self-esteem has taken away guilt. No one wants their faults or behaviors to be judged negatively by anyone else. Ethical relativism is an excuse to do whatever you want, whenever you want without any consequences. The popular saying "if it feels good, do it" encompasses ethical relativism.

Ethical relativism has had a significant influence on American culture. A prime example of this has been the voting out of George w. bush and voting in of Barack Obama. Former president Bush invaded Iraq to overthrow the dictator Saddam Hussein and thought he could easily change that country into a democracy. His expectations were that the people would welcome "our help" with open arms. Instead, we ended up with a war that we can't get out of. European countries praise President Obama, who promotes openness and ethical relativism.
Another way that America has been influenced by ethical relativism is the current trend of open sexuality. Young adults and youth are sleeping with multiple partners, unprotected, and guilt free. Guys and girls now have the option to share dorm rooms in colleges. Just the other day on television, there was a commercial advertising a website that connects people who are unhappy in their marriages, to have affairs when "divorce is not an option." When it comes to sex, anything goes.

In conclusion, ethical relativism has gone too far. In our quest for freedom and openness, we have lost any standards of right or wrong. My fear is that our society will eventually think that incest and other current taboos will be considered okay.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!