One of the curiosities of this age is that no one ever asks the simplest of questions when faced with a social justice warrior. That question is “Who says?” Given that our society is drenched in moralizing, it seems like a good question. After all, any demands about what you ought to do have to come with a moral authority. The reason you must do something or not do something is because X says so.
What makes this even weirder is the taboos are not passed down to us from some ancient source that we no longer remember. The prohibition against making crossdresser jokes was made up a few years ago. The taboo on noticing things about group behavior dates back to the last century. It seems logical that people would want to know by whose authority these things are now taboo.
Maybe that is why the taboos proliferate. The explosion of things that are now prohibited or required is a form of squid ink. Keeping everyone busy sorting through the latest rules keeps them from asking this basic question. The reason for this is there is no adequate answer to this question. The moral code of what we call our democracy rests on nothing more than an empty space where God and tradition existed.
On the other hand, maybe this is just the natural end point of the process that got going in the late Middle Ages. The search for a rational explanation for normative claims like justice and equality has led us to the madness of this age. Since reason cannot be a moral authority, we have created something like the Krebs cycle that throws off novel taboos through the destruction of inherited traditions and customs.
It could also be that humans are moral animals. Common morality is what is needed to hold a large society together, so extreme selection pressure has been in favor of those who naturally assume there is a moral authority for a moral claim. Perhaps most of us are bred to never ask who says? Those who lack this natural instinct and dare ask this question end up thinking about it on the fringes of society.
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This Week’s Show
- Who Says?
- The Physical World
- The Moral World
- A Godless Religion
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