Has western social morality improved or declined recently?

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Reply Tue 13 May, 2008 01:30 pm
Hi, all. Please vote in the poll above: Smile

I was wondering whether you think that the moral condition of the west has improved or declined over the past 20 years or so? If you think it has improved perhaps you could say a few words as to in what way this is so. Also, if you think it has declined maybe you could say why.

Thanks Smile
 
Arjen
 
Reply Tue 13 May, 2008 01:44 pm
@Pythagorean,
I must admit that the option: "Moral standards have remained about the same" comes closest to my opinion. However I would like to have another option added:
"I didn't know of any wester moral standards; could you please clarify that?"
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 13 May, 2008 01:50 pm
@Arjen,
Moral standards I think have improved. Imagine calling out for women's rights a thousand years ago.
 
krazy kaju
 
Reply Fri 16 May, 2008 03:36 pm
@Pythagorean,
By whose moral standards are we judging?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 16 May, 2008 08:40 pm
@krazy kaju,
I don't think it's anyone in particular, just a general summary.
 
aaron the red
 
Reply Tue 27 May, 2008 02:23 pm
@Pythagorean,
i'm sorry but i won't be voting because i dont know. i think we are in a pivital time morally. we're leaving the church which has always been the center of ethics, and that has obviously taken its toll. If some new structure will rise to take its place we will evolve morally, but the future depends on that if.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Sat 7 Jun, 2008 06:40 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean wrote:
Hi, all. Please vote in the poll above: Smile

I was wondering whether you think that the moral condition of the west has improved or declined over the past 20 years or so? If you think it has improved perhaps you could say a few words as to in what way this is so. Also, if you think it has declined maybe you could say why.

Thanks Smile


I believe that there have been a lot of problems solved but I see morality as evolving as science and technology evolves. We are at a point where science is evolving exponentially and morality is having a hard time keeping up. We have new problems that are constantly arising like...

  • our standard of living as a western society is much higher and we really haven't paid a price, although that could very well change with the recession.
  • poverty is becoming an extreme
  • we have yet to create a real free trade
  • I speak for Canada when I say we need a military
  • need to get rid of capitalism with media's evolution
  • corporations are becoming too greedy
  • the government is not advocating the people when it comes to the battle for ethical standards with public vs. businesses. I speak of the health care system.

 
urangutan
 
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2008 06:24 am
@Holiday20310401,
I am ashamed to say that morals have declined dramatically. More and more often we now use the law to measure our behaviour toward one another, be it on the road, the street or just about anywhere in public. Courtesy was a gesture of good will, now it is a simple case of oh yeah, whatever, I am going nowhere anyway. I will say it is a hard subject to broach, without leaning toward retribution.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2008 06:29 am
@urangutan,
I voted "about the same"

Being a fan of studying history, what I see now that I judge to be morally good or bad appears to be pretty much the same mix as it always has been through pretty much every culture I've learned about - same as western social morality.

... the colors might be different, the good sometimes less or more pervasive, but still the same basic mix of human goodness and badness (although I must admit, I think the Oreo Pizza did bring us all to a New Low Very Happy)
 
Afallucco
 
Reply Sun 22 Jun, 2008 08:43 pm
@Khethil,
I was not able to vote, but it's not that morals have improved or declined, they have been redefined.
 
OntheWindowStand
 
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 06:28 pm
@Afallucco,
morals aren't redefined if they could be they would hold no meaning.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 08:52 pm
@OntheWindowStand,
OntheWindowStand wrote:
morals aren't redefined if they could be they would hold no meaning.


... meaning for whom? bonobo chimps? homo habilus? Neanderthals? ancient Egyptians? ancient Greeks? medieval Catholics? Zen Buddhists? ...
 
OntheWindowStand
 
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 09:17 pm
@paulhanke,
get to the point in your post there are few things someone might think from that
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 09:44 pm
@OntheWindowStand,
OntheWindowStand wrote:
get to the point in your post there are few things someone might think from that


... sorry if I wasn't direct enough Smile ... are you saying that there is one absolute set of moral standards that is applicable for all time (independent of biological and cultural evolution)?
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Thu 17 Jul, 2008 10:14 pm
@paulhanke,
I think morals can't be constant due to the fact that a right from a wrong is relative to evolutions throughout humanity and society like science, technology, demogaphics, biological evolution (like paulhanke stated). But the outcome of all those is for virtue so we could look at the outcome of morals as for virtue, sort of. So virtue is constant, therefore there must be some morals that are constant that are not in relation to evolutionary aspects. Something independent of science and technology that causes virtue would be survival instinct. Its biology but not evolved from no survival instinct I think. Acheiving or diminishing emotions is also constant, like abolishing pain like torture. Therefore, it is never right to torture somebody. If the outcome is worse than torture then obviously it becomes moral.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2008 07:18 am
@Holiday20310401,
... I can see analyzing the improvement/decline of moral standards in stable times - but as far as "recently" is concerned, aren't we in the midst of a bit of a social upheaval? aren't we still reacting to 9/11? ... in such times you might judge how well a society redefines its moral standards in response to the upheaval ...

Holiday20310401 wrote:
... it is never right to torture somebody.


... like I said, you might judge how well a society responds to the upheaval ... and speaking as a member of U.S. society, I think our response must be judged poorly ... Pre-9/11: we impeach a president for having an affair and lying about it; Post-9/11: we re-elect a president for starting a war and lying about it, attacking freedom and calling it patriotic, advocating torture, and on and on ...
 
OntheWindowStand
 
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2008 10:31 am
@paulhanke,
paulhanke wrote:
... sorry if I wasn't direct enough Smile ... are you saying that there is one absolute set of moral standards that is applicable for all time (independent of biological and cultural evolution)?


I think the wrapper of morality may change but the underlying values dont
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2008 03:19 pm
@OntheWindowStand,
OntheWindowStand wrote:
I think the wrapper of morality may change but the underlying values dont



... I dunno ... you might get an argument from a Native American on that point - I hate speaking for a group that I don't belong to, but my impression of the Native American opinion is that Western values have been going downhill ever since the Native Americans severed ties and emigrated to the Americas roughly 12,000 years ago ... Native Americans value a sense of place, whereas Westerners only value land as a commodity; the community is valued as the fundamental unit of humanity for Native Americans, whereas for Westerners the fundamental unit of humanity is the individual; and so on ... and aren't differences in values responsible for a lot of the strife in the modern world? (e.g., terrorism?) ...
 
OntheWindowStand
 
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2008 08:14 pm
@paulhanke,
I would ask you is morality a presence of mind or destination?
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Fri 18 Jul, 2008 10:03 pm
@OntheWindowStand,
OntheWindowStand wrote:
I would ask you is morality a presence of mind or destination?


... given those two choices, I would have to say that (for myself) morality is closer to a presence of mind - the presence of mind to see and understand that in order to live a fulfilling life I need love and friendship and community and in order to have those I need to behave in a way that cultivates meaningful and respectful relationships ... I'm sure this doesn't hold true for everyone (which is why I qualified it with "for myself") - for example, for the overwhelming majority of my family morality is closer to a destination ("Heaven") ...
 
 

 
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