Moral Relativism, Political Correctness and the Death of Truth

Today we are heavily infected with the three plagues of political correctness, moral relativism, and a war on truth.

Today we are heavily infected with the three plagues of political correctness, moral relativism, and a war on truth. All three of these big ticket items more or less stand or fall together. They have had a major impact on Western culture, and sadly they have had a major impact on Western Christianity as well.

So most people today have bought the lie that there are no moral absolutes and objective truths, and everything is just a matter of opinion or personal taste. And even if some people still do believe in such things, most are too afraid to make any statement about anything, for fear of being labelled intolerant and bigoted and hateful and narrow-minded.

A smothering censorship lingers over the West because of political correctness, the freedom-hating left, and the mental and moral dumbing down of an entire generation. And the results are pretty ugly to behold. I have documented hundreds of cases of this on my site.

Let me offer three more, beginning with a quick line offered elsewhere on the social media. Some of us were discussing the terrific wins in Parliament with the defeat of moronic and diabolical pro-homosexual and anti-Christian bills, when one enlightened soul wrote in with this comment: “Jesus was all about accepting the outsider for who they are, which means championing diversity. Looks like none of you know Jesus.”

Um, no. Looks like the reality is he does not know the Bible. Jesus never accepted anyone for who they were, but pleaded with everyone to come in faith and repentance so they could become who they were meant to be. And no, he was not into “diversity”. His stern exclusivism, his rejection of false teachers, and his no-nonsense moral demands were as tough as you can get.

But this is just one of many clueless Christians who have fully soaked up the world’s values of relativism and “tolerance” – wrongly so-called. And it has infected millions of people. Consider the lament of one philosophy professor in America who says that students are now too fearful to debate controversial topics anymore:

The art of debate and discourse on campus has largely been lost due to students who no longer feel comfortable openly deliberating ideas that might get them labeled a racist or misogynist or some other name. That according to University of Texas at Austin philosophy Professor Daniel Bonevac, who has experienced firsthand the impact of this trend.


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In 2011, seeing signs of this phenomenon, he stopped teaching an extremely popular course examining contemporary moral problems — a class he offered for more than 20 years — because today’s students are unwilling to debate controversial, politicized issues. Political correctness has frozen debate to the point that the trouble and backlash he might receive by offering such a course is not worth it, he said. At this point, he’s not willing to resume teaching the class.

“Students clam up as soon as conversation veers close to anything controversial and one side might be viewed as politically incorrect,” he told The College Fix via email. “The open exchange of ideas that used to make courses such as Contemporary Moral Problems exciting doesn’t happen. It’s not possible to teach the course the way I used to teach it.”

The article concludes:

“Ninety-nine percent of the students might be excited to encounter arguments they had never heard before, whether they were inclined to agree with them or not. But the one percent who are not can poison the well. Indeed, they have poisoned the well, even if they say nothing in class,” Bonevac said. The rise of political correctness makes students unwilling to “say anything that could get them denounced as racist, sexist, xenophobic,” and the like, according to the professor.

“But there’s another, less-noticed dimension,” he continued. “Students know there’s a politically correct view on a lot of issues. So, when anything connected to race, sex, etc., arises, I see a lot of students turn off. I think they see it this way: Either what comes next is politically correct and they’ve heard before, in which case it’s pointless and boring, or it presents a challenge to that perspective, in which case it’s dangerous.”

Another university lecturer also can speak to all this from firsthand experience. Consider the plight of Canadian psychology professor Jordan Peterson who is in real hot water for refusing to run with the PC gender pronoun foolishness. I have discussed his plight earlier: billmuehlenberg.com/2016/11/05/pronoun-police-political-correctness-death-freedom/

A recent interview with the beleaguered prof is well worth reading. Let me feature a few bits of it here:

There have been lots of cases where free speech has come under attack, why did you choose this particular issue?

This is very compelled speech. The Supreme Court in the United States has held that compelled speech is unacceptable for two reasons. One is to protect the rights of the speaker, the other is to protect the rights of the listener. The listener has the right to be informed and instructed without being unduly influenced by hidden sources. If your speech is compelled, it isn’t YOU who is talking, it’s some other entity that’s compelling your speech. So I actually think that Bill C-16 is unconstitutional. I’m using American case law, but the principles apply. It just hasn’t been pushed to our Supreme Court yet.

For me this became an issue because there is not a chance I’ll use radical, authoritarian language. I’ve studied this psychologically, and I know what it does.

I was also quite profoundly influenced by [Alexsandr] Solzhenitsyn’s book The Gulag Archipelago. People say that real Marxism has never been tried – not in the Soviet Union, in China, in Cambodia, in Korea, that wasn’t real Marxism. I find that argument specious, appalling, ignorant, and maybe also malevolent all at the same time. Specious because Solzhenitsyn demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that the horrors [of the Soviet system] were a logical consequence of the doctrines embedded within Marxist thinking. I think Dostoyevsky saw what was coming and Nietzsche wrote about it extensively in the 1880s, laying out the propositions that are encapsulated in Marxist doctrine, and warning that millions of people would die in the 20th century because of it.

You’ve painted a pretty bleak picture for the future.

There are bleak things going on. To start with, Bill C-16 writes social constructionism into the fabric of the law. Social constructionism is the doctrine that all human roles are socially constructed. They’re detached from the underlying biology and from the underlying objective world. So Bill C-16 contains an assault on biology and an implicit assault on the idea of objective reality. It’s also blatant in the Ontario Human Rights Commission policies and the Ontario Human Rights Act. It says identity is nothing but subjective. So a person can be male one day and female the next, or male one hour and female the next.

How do you see the future of public discourse in this country if we don’t reverse course on things like C-16?

I have no idea. I think that we’re in a time of chaos and anything can happen in a time of chaos. I don’t know what will happen at the university in the next week. There is a debate on Saturday at 9:30 in the morning. It’ll be live-cast on my YouTube channel. I have no idea what the consequences of the debate will be, I have no idea whether I’ll be teaching in January. The university has told me that that every time I insist that I won’t use those [gender neutral] pronouns, the probability that I’ll be teaching in January decreases.

Do you believe that you or others could be imprisoned for refusing to comply with these laws?

There’s no doubt about that. The human rights tribunals have been given the right to hold people in contempt. Well, you’re going to be in contempt if you don’t pay the fine. My opponents say ‘you’re just scare-mongering. We don’t really have that much power.’ Then why change the criminal code? Why put the hate speech amendments in there? The final word in law is incarceration. There is no question about this.

And a few more quotes as he looks at the bigger picture on all this:

How do you define social justice warriors?

They’re the ones who weaponize compassion.

Do you view social justice culture as a threat to democracy, and why?

Absolutely. There’s nothing about the PC authoritarian types that has any gratitude for any institutions. They have a term – patriarchy. It’s all-encompassing. It means that everything our society is, is corrupt. There’s no line, they mean everything. Go online, go look at ten women’s studies websites. Pick them at random. Read them. They say ‘western civilization is a corrupt patriarchy right down to the goddamned core. We have to overthrow it.’

Which means democracy, which means liberalism, which means human rights.

It means the whole thing. The whole edifice. And what do they compare it to? Utopia. Why do you think the feminists would go after Ayaan Hirsi Ali? She’s a hero, that woman. She’s from Somalia. She grew up in a very oppressive patriarchy – a real one. She escaped from an arranged marriage, and moved to Holland and she fell in love with Holland. Two things really struck her initially before she went to university and became a student of the Enlightenment. Number one – she would stand where there was public transport, and a digital sign would say when the public transport was going to arrive, and it would arrive exactly when it said it was going to. It was unbelievable to her. And the other thing she couldn’t believe was that police would help you. You know you’re in a civilized country when the police don’t just rape you and steal everything you have. The radical left people don’t give a damn about any of that.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

You asked what people can do. They can refuse. They can refuse to be pushed in this direction any further. Anything that’s predicated upon group identity, we need to get rid of. Albertans were very sceptical of Pierre Trudeau and all his changes, especially with the introduction of the Charter and they were right about that too. We should never have had a bill of human rights in Canada. That was an import of French Civil Law over top of English Common Law, and it was a mistake. In English Common Law, you have all the rights there are except those that are expressly forbidden by law. In the French system, you enumerate people’s rights – that makes it look like rights are granted to you by the government, and that’s not true. Then we started talking more about identity in Canada, and that was a deviation from the tradition of enlightenment individualism.

All this is cultural Marxism. All this is the bitter fruit of the radical left. All this is a war on the West, on freedom, on reason, on reality, and on God. That is why all these things matter. That is why I write about them, and that is why you should be very concerned about them.

And if we don’t push back, things will simply continue to get worse – much worse.

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Bill Muehlenberg

Bill Muehlenberg is an American-born apologist and ethicist in Melbourne, Australia. He has a BA with honours in philosophy (Wheaton College, Chicago), an MA with highest honours in theology (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston). He is currently completing a PhD in theology. He has his own ministry called CultureWatch, which features Christian commentary on the issues of the day, including extensive writings on issues surrounding Islam. He is a prolific author, and a much sought after media commentator, and has been featured on most television and radio current affairs programs. Bill teaches ethics, apologetics and theology at several Melbourne Bible Colleges. He is the author of Strained Relations: The Challenge of Homosexuality, Freedom Publishing, 2011. Bill is married, with three sons.

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