Thursday, April 09, 2009

Two questions for Holy Week

First: At what historical point did "moral" come to mean "chaste" and "virtuous" "sexually moral"? It seems that there was a time when it took quite a bit more to be moral than just to use one's naughty bits in the prescribed fashion. Indeed, it seems that sexual morality was but a rather uninteresting piece of the moral life.
In the same vein, we seem to be—at least by the BBC's lights—entering an era in which "ethical" means "having a small carbon footprint". How is it that the moral or ethical life—presumably an integrated life—has come to be so limited?
Second: Why or how exactly did it come to be that being economically or socially liberal meant that one had to support abortion on demand? There is no natural affinity between these two sets of beliefs, nor is it clear what other forms of sexual liberation really have to do with this.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I am not quite finished. A side issue. ok? But why do I feel a person's selfish or otherwise, motive to have an abortion IS justified, when morally it can be argued quite the opposite?

Because, cogito ergo sum. :)

And I do think, thinking with understanding what my limits to what is morally right and wrong. And why should any "moral doctrine" be any higher than my own sensibilities as to what is right for me morally, if I was a woman? (Abortion)

Anonymous said...

NOTE TO TH: This was posted first, but I see I made a few typos so I am re-posting because I no longer will allow typos to go fwd, when they are noticed after the fact.


1) Sometime around the existence of Elvis' primetime. :)

2) There are various reasons for this. But let me take a stab at just one. Modern day liberalism essentially means intellectually "secular" liberalism. The person whom embraces one's right to choose do so as a refute to the religious hierarchy which is disdained because of it's orderly moral collectivism over that of the person's radical individualism. So this extends more than just abortion; gay marriage, divorce, stem cell, etc. Modern day liberals who feel what is right for themselves and the society, certainly should not be expressed by Church or Pastoral Doctrine because more than the inherent conflict in traditional views, it is simply wrong for them to suggest to you the proper way to conduct moral behavior. (And I think it is a view worth supporting.)

So I think modern day liberalism is now a defined hybrid of classical liberalism (which really has more in common with Ronald Reagan) and the late 20th century "progressive" movement (or political liberalism) which promulgated individual rights and liberties over the business class AND religious one through laws and legislation as a "new" political orthodoxy, or as Bork called it radical individualism and radical egalitarianism. And because of that, our moral compass now is determined by what is more important: our individual rights or how we think and act individually of a functioning person versus the psudeo rights of a fetus. I personally do not see a problem here.

There is, of course, a Christian ideal of personal liberty or individualism, but it is a subordinate good or a means to an end, as opposed to means to a supreme being.

What has happened in modern liberalism is that these Christian ideals of liberty and equality have been divorced from their Christian context, emptied of any traditional Christian meaning. In modern liberalism, liberty and equality have become the supreme goods and ends in themselves. Now men and women are to be free-not to serve God-but to pursue their own desires. Whether it was Roe v.Wade, Stonewall, or the Women's Movement, individual liberty has been distorted into radical individualism, and this moral relativism makes sense to em.

(I should have went to the Palm Springs :) )

John said...

Oh man, I can't even get movies on demand to work, now I have to work in an abortion?

Tyler Hower said...

John, I don't understand movies on demand either.
Tom, I'm not sure you are right about liberalisms approach to abortion having anything to do with a reaction to any particular religious hierarchy, particularly because the hierarchy you are thinking of never had any influence over most Americans. But, beside that, you seem to be confusing libertarianism with liberalism. Or, if you think that current liberalism is a hybrid, then we simply have an inconsistent, nay incoherent, view. If I have to support other members of society through my taxes but everyone has the right to do whatever they want to, then this simply makes no sense at all. The American version of liberalism seems to think that we have all sorts of obligations to others; if this weren't the case we wouldn't have social welfare programs of any sort.
Apart from that, individual liberty is not clearly the only issue of concern in discussions of abortion. What seems to be important is what exactly is such that gives one a right of any sort and there is nothing particularly interesting about passing through the birth canal that would seem to be right-granting in this way. And, while you talk about the pseudo-rights of the fetus, you don't provide an argument that there are not at least presumptive rights in this case. That, in fact, is the real distinction between issues like contraception, gay rights, liberalized divorce law, etc., and the abortion debate. In the former kinds of cases all possibly involved parties are clearly consenting, in the latter this is what is in question. And, you can't tell me that I will find the argument in Roe v Wade, since it is really quite a horrible argument through and through, the side pieces about religion, philosophy and medicine being particularly egregious.