Good and evil. In politically correct discussion, it is often frowned upon to use those terms. We often hear people say, “You can’t look at the world in black and white,” or “Everything is just shades of grey.” In a complicated world, this belief is understandable, but I believe it is false. There are some moral truths that are beyond question, and we make a grave error by denying this.
We have become a society that rejects the concept of right and wrong; we have become a society of moral relativists. We take all values and all beliefs as equal. We are often told that we have no right to judge other cultures or societies, or to claim that our way of life is better than any others. After all, we are all human beings, so the way each society is organized is equally acceptable right? Wrong.
There are some cultures that practice female genital mutilation, is this ever right? No, it isn’t. There are some countries, such as Iran, that impose radical religious beliefs upon their people, and commit crimes such as hanging citizens for being gay or stoning women to death for accusations of adultery. I have no trouble saying that Canadian society is far superior to that of any nation that commits crimes such as these against its people.
Morality often carries with it a negative connotation. This is probably due to the fact that many have tried to use morality as an excuse to force their views on others against their will. This is not what I mean when I refer to morality. I view morality as defending what is right, and what I view as right is personal liberty and economic independence. Standing up for our human rights and the rights of all humanity is always a noble pursuit, and therefore is always the moral thing to do.
This total rejection of morality is not simply foolish — it is dangerous. With no defined basis of right and wrong, with no strong sense of morality, we risk becoming a people without a direction, without a cause, and without any way to judge the truth.
In our drive for political correctness, we have cut off our ability to confront true evil. In many ways, we have even lost our ability to see it. This troubling trend has led us to the point where it seems more acceptable to criticize our government and our society, than it does to criticize governments and societies with truly awful and shameful human rights records.
When people call our government undemocratic, or fascist, they not only do a disservice to those who listen to them, but they denigrate all who have suffered under true fascism and totalitarianism. We must never forget the fact that the freedom and human rights we enjoy are not the normal way of life, nor the normal pattern of history for humanity. This era of relative peace and freedom is short by the measure of history, and if we are not mindful and grateful for what we have, we risk losing it.
We are so often apologetic and seemingly guilt-ridden about our way of life. We often act as if somehow the way we live is unfair, and that we must feel burdened by our success and our national prosperity. Rarely do we ever give credit to those who came before us and built our country and our society, nor do we show a respect for Western culture itself. Western society, and Canadian society in particular, have much to be praised for. We have built one of the most respectful, wealthy, and free societies the world has ever known.
To those who criticize the Canadian system, to those who feel that it is Canada and our allies who are the problem, rather than the numerous nations around the world that oppress their people, the question that must be asked is: “Under what system should we be living?” Would you prefer to live in a third world dictatorship? And what about our economic system? If it is so bad and “oppressive,” perhaps you would prefer the liberating freedom of living in a socialist economy such as North Korea, or perhaps Cuba?
Despite our great achievements, there are some who denigrate our historic success, and even try to present our greatness as evil. This is where we see the rise of moral relativism. By rejecting all standards of value, by seeing all ideologies as worthy of respect, we create a situation in which we risk losing what makes our country and our way of life special. How can we defend that which we do not perceive?
Make no mistake, there are many throughout the world who would like to end our way of life, and there are many who see us as an enemy and who see us as evil. If we do not support and defend all that we have built then it could be lost, and it is up to all of us to remember how blessed we are to live in this country and this society, and to protect and strengthen it for the future.
Spencer Fernando is the International Comment Coordinator for the Manitoban.