“You can’t legislate morality.” So goes the familiar mantra of the Left. “You decide for you, and I’ll decide for me,” is another oft-repeated slogan designed to silence any finger-wagging from an alleged holier-than-thou relic of the intolerant past. With contemporary philosophers and academics leading the charge, huge segments of our society have lapsed into a lethargic “judge not” mentality.
While these and similar slogans sound appealing to the Left and deceptively strong to those on the Right, they’re really jaw-droppingly hypocritical. With the Left constantly haranguing everybody within earshot on the evils of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anything-you-can-name phobia, with truckloads of legislation to back them up, it shows that legislating morality is all we ever do.
How it’s possible for somebody to decry judgmentalism while exercising judgmentalism on a daily basis is something worthy of a multi-volume series from psychologists. Liberals are textbook examples of selective outrage and their antics would be humorous were it not for the deadly consequences their beliefs and actions pose for the rest of us. Younger liberals just might be excused because they’ve never been taught to think for themselves. Oh, they’re told to think for themselves, but that’s merely propaganda spewed by academics who really want to raise an army of sycophants. Students think they’re independent thinkers when they’re really polly-parroting their teachers. Older liberals either know better or they should know better. Regardless, they don’t care, so their acts are inexcusable.
Prevailing thought notwithstanding, judgment cannot be avoided by thinking people, right and wrong are the basis of every law—every law—we enact, and there is an objective ground for morality under which all of us are subject. Condemning others for exercising judgment is itself an act of judgment and is thus rationally self-defeating. Morality, at the very least, is society’s expression of right and wrong, so laws enacted by society are by definition the moral code by which its members must abide.
Why is morality objective rather than subjective? Contrary to modernist philosophers who insist that morality is a subjective values imposition, the basis for morality or the good is rooted in being which is closely associated with the ancient idea of perfection. A perfection is the actualization or instantiation of the essence of a thing. Hence good is convertible with being, and being is existing in accordance with one’s form (pattern, type, nature).
For example, a triangle is a three-sided polygon, the sum of whose angles is 180 degrees. These facts were discovered, not invented and are thus mind independent. It matters not whether we like it or ignore it. Congress can pass legislation declaring triangles to be four-sided and impose hate crime penalties on everybody who insists otherwise. People can march in the streets expressing PRIDE in four-sided triangles and accuse everybody who disagrees with them of being afflicted with fourphobia. None of that changes a thing because the essence of a triangle is to have three sides, and it will always be so. Instantiations of triangles will be judged good or bad in accordance with how well they exemplify the form. Thus, a carefully drawn triangle with a straight-edge will be better than one hastily drawn with a crayon on a park bench. Its degree of goodness will be determined by how closely it conforms to its form. Again, this has nothing to do with one’s feelings or “values.” Our values are irrelevant when it comes to assessing the goodness of material instances of triangles (unless, of course, we value accuracy).
Similarly, other existing things have essences and are judged better or worse depending on how closely they conform to their essences. Thus, a squirrel with a bushy tail is better than one without. A mature cherry tree which bears cherries is better than one which doesn’t. An eagle that flies is better than one which doesn’t. If a squirrel doesn’t have a tail, if a mature cherry tree doesn’t bear cherries, and if an eagle doesn’t fly, something is wrong. A squirrel ought to have a bushy tail, a tree ought to bear fruit, and an eagle ought to fly. The “ought” is hard-wired into the essence of a thing and NOT imposed by subjective tastes. If we know what the essence of a thing is, and if a thing doesn’t exemplify its essence, we know that something is amiss. It is irrational to think otherwise.
We also know that human beings are given sexual equipment for purposes of reproduction. The species cannot survive without replication, so we are endowed by nature to reproduce sexually. Males are given specific equipment and so are females. Sex is pleasurable to ensure that humans will engage in it, and sexual desire is directed toward the opposite sex in order to produce children. If males don’t produce sperm and if females don’t produce ova, something is wrong. If sexual attraction, being also hard-wired into our natures, is directed to the same sex or to something other than the opposite sex, something is equally wrong. Humans ought to produce sperm and ova, and humans ought to be attracted to the opposite sex. Our “values” concerning it are irrelevant. The ought doesn’t go away because it doesn’t fit our politics. Our essences give us eyes, lungs and a heart. The eyes ought to see, the lungs ought to process oxygen and the heart ought to pump blood. If our politics can’t change the ought of our organs, it can’t change the ought of our sex either.
Given these definitional parameters, it is easy to see that evil is the privation of good. Any diminution of being is thus a privation of good by definition.
The moral dimension emerges with the exercise of free will. We are endowed with a rational mind which sets us apart from all created things. The rational mind, by definition, must think rationally if it is functioning properly. This of course means that the mind ought to think rationally, and when it doesn’t, that has moral consequences. If a person freely chooses to do something in violation of reason or h/er essence, s/he has committed an immoral act. Thus, insofar as the human mind thinks rationally, it is conforming to its form. The more rational a person acts, the better h/er mind is working. The less rational a person acts, the worse.
By now it should be easy to see that appeals to “I was born that way” are entirely irrelevant. People are born with Down’s Syndrome, cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s Disease too, but that doesn’t make it normal or something to be celebrated. To be certain, if a person is truly born into a condition, something over which s/he has no control, we can surely have sympathy for that person and should do what we can to reverse the condition, but it is irrational, indeed it is foolish, to pretend that being born with, say, a clubbed foot is perfectly normal. It isn’t normal by any rational standard and pretending otherwise causes more harm than good.
This is not to say that homosexuality or pedophilia are genetic phenomena. I am simply saying that even if there is a physiological cause, it has no bearing on the goodness of those things.
Homosexual acts are evil by definition, for they frustrate the telos of human sexuality. So, what should society do about it? Constitutionally, that question should be answered by the several states. But it is terribly mistaken to craft policy on the mistaken belief that such things are normal variations of the human condition.
If it were a mere question of tolerance, there would be much more agreement between the Right and the Left. Tolerance is the hallmark of a pluralistic society, but remember that tolerance does not entail approval. One may disapprove of any number of acts (e.g. drinking, gambling, pornography, consensual, private sex between unmarried adults) without legal prohibition. The Left, however, isn’t satisfied with that. Even private, mental reservations are anathema to them. And by appointing themselves as regulators of human thought, they become the very evil they claim to oppose. If they are not stopped, they will destroy our republic. The Right cannot embrace moral relativism if it expects to save the country. The Left certainly left relativism (if they ever really embraced it) a long time ago. We deceive ourselves if we think that this is another instance of live-and-let-live. This is a fight for our survival.