Thursday, November 6, 2008

Is change coming to the relationship of morality and politics?

What do you think?

I recently saw part of a program where someone was claiming that abortion was a moral evil requiring resolute action, which amounted solely to banning the procedure, but fighting poverty and providing affordable health care to pregnant women was not as urgent. Those things were a matter of private conscience, and you could be a "good Christian" even if you had various opinions and attitudes about those issues. Even though poverty and health concerns drive many women to consider abortion whether it is legal or not.

So extreme and debilitating material and psychological poverty then aren't major moral evils to be fought will all due concern and effort, but the consequences, including higher rates of violent crime, drug use, abortion, etc - they are, of course, and we must step up the fight. That's why I think Obama's position, for example, of trying to reduce or eliminate the factors that tend lead to abortions should be a priority. I don't see why everyone can't support that whether or not they want abortions to be legal or illegal.

As an additional note, this highlights the problem with focusing ethical and moral considerations either solely or even heavily primarily to either the social or to the individual. We do not exist in a vacuum and we are responsible for the atmosphere we create and the influences we exert, either intentionally or apathetically. Yet even so each of us has a personal choice in how to respond to these conditions. To over-emphasize either of these is a cop out and ignores the reality in which moral choices are made.

The same is also true for any system, religious, social, political, etc, in which moral choices are not made available or accessible - when people are essentially required to choose among immoral options. This is every bit as destructive as a narcissistic hedonist who always chooses their own pain and pleasure as their motivator above the welfare of anyone else. Some just want to deal with the system actively facilitating or promoting the "sin", others just with the would-be "sinner". I can't see how to separate the two - they are both reflections of each other, different expressions of the same flaw.

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