Freedom can only be maintained within a society that also maintains morality. When Alexis De Tocqueville visited America and analyzed her political system he posed the question, “How could society fail to perish if, while the political bond is relaxed, the moral bond were not tightened?” And I believe that the majority of Americans will agree that morality is a necessity in a free society.
However Tocqueville when on to say, “What makes a people master of itself if it has not submitted to God?” And that is where Americans disagree. Morals that are derived from some form of deity are constant and do not adapt. Furthermore they are not subject to different points of view. Currently America is suffering from the effects of a new twist on this principle known as moral relativism. Moral relativism is the idea that morals are based on a particular standpoint. No specific set of morals are considered the standard, meaning there is no right or wrong it all depends on your point of view.
Moral relativism has resulted in major changes to the political process. First it has removed any mention, consideration, or acknowledgement of God from all political discussion and decisions. The misappropriate application of the 1st amendment has enabled this movement to dispel the existence of God from our nation’s history as well as her present political workings.
Though our political system was never meant to be run by any specific religion or religious institution the acknowledgment of an eternal being who directs the affairs of men has always been a crucial part of our nation. For example, American political thought is deeply rooted in the idea that man has been given rights from God that cannot be taken by any other man. We firmly believe that it is wrong for one man to have dominion over another. That belief is based on a set of morals derived from a belief in a higher being.
Remove God from the picture we now have a moral belief that is founded on nothing. This allows moral relativism to take effect. We begin to question the origin of rights. Rights can no longer be seen as universal. Without universal rights can we really label some forms of government as wrong or evil? The danger of dictators and tyrants is now in question. Are dictatorships wrong? Can they not produce some good? If the definition of good is derived from the standpoint of the dictator then the answer is yes. And those who are living under oppression can define the outcomes of such a government as wrong, but it does not matter because no point of view has precedence over the other. We have now reached the point in this scenario where no one is wrong and no one is right. So the only option we have to go with is the most popular opinion.
Though this is simply one example each scenario dealing with moral relativism will lead to the same problem. If we cannot derive from God what is right and wrong, where do we turn? One option available is to look at social science and rely on studies to tell us the trends associated with specific behaviors.
How it all plays out
A good example of this is sexual relations among teenagers. Years ago sexual relations before marriage were seen as morally wrong. Physical intimacy was something that was shared solely between a husband and wife. Moral relativism takes over and we see the situation totally different. In the 1960’s we began to remove these “religious principles” from our school curriculum. We would no longer teach our students abstinence.
According the Statistical Abstract of the United States released by the Department of human health the following years showed a 700% increase in teen pregnancies. Though all states vary on their methods of addressing the issue of teaching sex education in our public schools it has become an accepted fact that kids will be experimenting with sex.
We cannot preach morals to them so we must now teach them about safe sex in the hopes that we will reduce teen pregnancies as well teens contracting STDS.
The government has also come up with their own federally funded solution, an organization known as Planned Parenthood. Apart from providing medical procedures Planned Parenthood also provides resource for teens, parents, and educators. The section for teenagers answers questions such as which birth control is best for me?
Is there birth control I can take after unprotected sex?
Will my parents find out if I am on birth control?
How do I know when I am ready to have sex?
I think I am ready to have sex. What do I do now?
How do I prevent myself from getting a STD?
The website also informs girls about the options available to them if they find out they are pregnant. The first solution listed is abortion. Planned Parenthood informs young girls that there is no “right” way to feel about abortion. This is the solution moral relativism has come up with.
In 1983, in an address to the National Association of Evangelicals, Ronald Reagan offered a different much more simple solution, “I’ve watched TV panel shows discuss this issue, seen columnists pontificating on our error, but no one seems to mention morality as playing a part in the subject of sex.”
Though it is a simple solution I fear we may never resort to it. What I wonder is how long will any nation will continue to exist with moral relativism as its guiding principle.
 De Tocqueville, Alexis. “Indirect Influence That Religious Beliefs Exert on Political Society In the United States.” In Democracy in America, 282. University of Chicago Press, 2002.
 Reagan, Ronald. ““Evil Empire” Speech (March 8, 1983).” Http://millercenter.org/president/speeches/speech-3409.