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Moral Relativism

Posted by Jew from Jersey
9 June 2004

Anyone with a sense of morality would object to the forced seating of blacks at the back of the bus (or women, as is the case in Iran). The moral relativist goes a step further and protests the forced seating of the driver at the front of the bus. To the moral relativist, both are examples of discrimination. This is of course true. In both cases, the establishment is using certain distinguishing characteristics among individuals to restrict where they are allowed to sit. You might point out that bus drivers are, on the whole, more qualified to drive buses than non-drivers, that there are safety issues involved, that anyone can take a test and apply for a bus driver’s license, etc. But the bottom line is that there is discrimination between those who have bus driver’s licenses and those who don’t. You might argue that this is a necessary evil, but you have already lost the moral high ground. For you see, there are always justifications for discrimination. In the days of Jim Crow, whites had no trouble finding justifications for seating blacks at the back of the bus. By seeking justifications for seating drivers at the front, you are revealing yourself to be just as racist as they were. Indeed, all this talk of “qualifications” and “safety” is scare talk to brainwash the public into accepting the rule of an authoritarian system that gives and takes the right to drive by means of tests and pieces of paper, and threatens others with arrests and jail if they attempt to take the driver’s seat. It is the politics of fear and exclusion. In a truly just society, everyone would get a chance to drive the bus.

This type of sophistry is very easy to generate and occasionally has some value as entertainment. The trouble arises when people whose lives and livelihoods depend on the bus getting them to the right place at the right time in one piece allow themselves to accept policies based on such thinking. Why would anyone put up with such a thing? First of all, they’re afraid of being called “racists,” which goes a long way in this country. Second of all, they’re being cowed into submission by a professional caste of secular clerics whose purpose in life is to show that science and other higher forces prove that the general public is too stoopid to make decisions regarding their own lives. If you do not support the proposed “bus driver egalitarianism,” you are not only a racist, but an unsophisticated illiterate redneck cowboy Neanderthal who is going against logic, progress, and the march of history.

The new bus driver regulations are probably first snuck into effect by means of some ruling by some activist supreme court judge that then serves as a precedent. Then some new government agency is created to enforce the regulations by revoking federal funding from any transport system that refuses to implement them. Before taxpayers know what’s going on, their money is being used to fund a new army of bureaucrats whose jobs depend on enforcing the regulations and entire transport systems have reorganized themselves in ways that are dependent on these funds. When people start to wake up and voice protest about all the unnecessary accidents and urban strife, they meet with a wall of denouncement from the media and professional classes. Editorials by bureaucrats appear in the New York Times, self-appointed specialists are interviewed on CNN, reassuring us that the accidents are not the fault of the new regulations at all, but are due the amateur drivers’ anxiety at such a racist public. A new campaign to fight “invisible bus racism” is launched, universities open “Bus Studies” departments, campus rallies are held, university buildings are occupied, the usual gang of professional protesters march on Washington, D.C.

Eventually, people accept the new bus situation as the status quo. Anyone who can possibly afford a car avoids public transportation altogether. They resign themselves to paying the higher insurance premiums due to wayward bus accidents. They mutter under their breaths but carefully avoid saying anything out loud. They cede the moral high ground to the “experts” who ruin their lives, only to be hit again next year with yet another scheme designed to remedy all injustices by equating everything with everything else. For the next generation, out-of-control buses will be as normal as rainy days.

This is the pattern we’ve seen repeated in every sphere of public life over the last 35 years. Well, except for sports. We have yet to see the midget who successfully sues the NBA for height discrimination. One good thing about the NBA is that they can’t have their federal funding revoked for failing to comply with relativistically correct programs. We should probably be grateful medicine is still private. If Madame Clinton had her way, we’d end up with some hospital being bankrupted for refusing a faith healer as an intern. All it takes is a little federal money and one judge’s ruling. The morally relative justifications are always there.

Does this seem far-fetched? If you’d told a middle-of-the-road liberal social scientist in the 1960s that the new university departments, hiring and admissions policies and laxed curriculum would give way to mandatory sensitivity training, segregated dorms, anti-Semitic rallies, and students who didn’t know if World War I happened before or after World War II, he would have called you hysterical. Now the same people are cowering in the shadows, waiting to take their early retirement. Look what’s happened to criminal justice, welfare, litigation, education. Look what’s happened to national security.

My grandfather was born and raised in North Philadelphia. He put himself through college and law school. He was a naval officer during World War II and worked most of his professional life in New York City. He died in October 2000. In one of my last talks with him, at a retirement community in Pennsylvania, he was telling me about the war. “Hitler and the Japanese never believed we could build so many ships so fast,” he said, laughing, “They never imagined we had what it took to fight it out til the end. Boy, were they wrong.” I said: “Anyone who made such an assumption now would be right.” “No,” he said calmly, “No. That’s what we thought in the 1930s, too. Never underestimate America.” What would he say now, less than two years on? Moral relativism has us so blind we even equate our enemies with our allies. All the ships in the world can’t help us.

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