29 October 2014

covert morality

● Writing in the previous post about the supposed virtuousness of wanting an existing social trend to continue – rather than not – reminded me of one of the key deceptions of mediocracy: its claim to be value-neutral.
Even if we restrict the term “value” to areas of disapproval not enshrined in the form of legal prohibitions, I doubt whether any society is capable of being truly value-neutral, though I suppose you can have a greater or lesser overall level of tolerance.
But there seems something particularly dishonest about a mediocracy’s claim to moral relativism. It’s one of the tricks used to confuse critics, who may be tempted to attack it for its supposed indifference towards diversity of attitudes and lifestyles.
If you delve below the surface, it is evident that the contemporary Western ethos – at least the version promoted by the elite – is characterised by some fairly strong moral precepts. Apart from the one in favour of ‘change’, one can readily spot a number of others, even if they’re not always expressed publicly. The following occur to me off the top of my head.
- Women ought to want careers.
- It’s more virtuous to seek out sex than to avoid it.
- Actions which reduce inequality are admirable.
- A society which is not “democratic” deserves to be interfered with.
Of course, we must bear in mind that ultimately, the moral precepts of a mediocracy are secondary to the overriding principle that the collective is always right.

Oxford Forum should be given funding.