David Brooks and the New York Times take a look at where relativism and a refusal to enforce standards has taken us:
The health of society is primarily determined by the habits and virtues of its citizens. In many parts of America there are no minimally agreed upon standards for what it means to be a father. There are no basic codes and rules woven into daily life, which people can absorb unconsciously and follow automatically.
Reintroducing norms will require, first, a moral vocabulary. These norms weren’t destroyed because of people with bad values. They were destroyed by a plague of nonjudgmentalism, which refused to assert that one way of behaving was better than another. People got out of the habit of setting standards or understanding how they were set.
Nice to see a recognition that in a society where “everything goes,” eventually everything does. But the prescription — ‘reintroducing norms’ — begs the question: whose norms? Whose ‘moral vocabulary?’ And exactly how will we determine which habits and virtues to inculcate?
As Vox (on whose site I found this) points out:
“In light of the failure of secularism and multiculturalism, the nations of the West are going to embrace some past moral structure, absolutist judgments and all. The only question is if it will be pagan or Christian. And the former is considerably less pretty than its historically ignorant proponents understand.”