Relativism and Morality Lenn Goodman
Lenn Goodman offers a very good argument about his idea of the things that are wrong - Relativism and Morality Lenn Goodman introduction. I agree with his argument that four of the things that we should look to in whatever being we worship are “(1) genocide, politically induced famine, and germ warfare; (2) terrorism, hostage taking, and child warriors; (3) slavery, polygamy, and incest; and (4) rape and female genital cutting. ” (Goodman, Project Muse, pg 88) When Goodman talks about genocide, famine, and germ warfare, he said that “All living things make claims to life. and “Murder is wrong because it destroys a human subject. ”
These are both excellent arguments about why genocide should be universally wrong. Goodman argues that warfare is not always wrong. I disagree with him about this. How many lives have been lost due to war, whether it be germ warfare or any other type of warfare? If war is universally wrong, then the subjects of a community will not need to be protected from other communities or countries. I believe that many wars could be avoided if the four areas Goodman discusses are followed universally.
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Genocide and famine happen because of fear and hatred. If it is embedded in the customs and traditions of every culture that genocide and political famine are wrong, I believe it will be easier to enforce a loving community and not one that is filled with fear and hatred. The next topics that Goodman discusses are terrorism, hostages and child warriors. All of these things can be avoided if it is universally accepted that warfare is wrong. The best example of terrorism that I can think of was the attack on the world trade center on 9-11.
If the world was a more accepting place, and religious views were accepted, no matter what they are, terrorism and war would be decreased. If the world would accept that war was wrong, there would be no terrorism, hostages, or child warriors. This all relates back to my opinion of terrorism happening because of fear. Terrorists fear that another country is more powerful than they. Terrorism also happens because of anger and hatred. Goodman says about terrorism “The more devastating the damage, the more inhumane, the more acidly is it sought by the strategists, ideologues, and theologians of terror. (Goodman pg. 90) He makes a very valid point that terrorists want to cause fear and shock by their acts. The aftermath of an act of terrorism is chaos. The strategists use the chaos. The use of child warriors is wrong on many different levels. A child does not have the maturity to fight for themselves. They don’t have the strength or moral integrity to realize that what they are doing at the time is wrong.
Children will grow up to be scarred for life for what they were forced to do. Goodman said that the children are thought of as “objects not subjects. Anyone who disregards human life by using child warriors is an act against the whole human race. Children are not capable of making rational decisions when they are alienated or isolated. Slavery, polygamy, and incest are the third area that Goodman believes should never be questioned. Slavery is used to make people used as tools instead of seeing them as a human being. Every culture has used slaves in some sort or another, from Egyptians to Americans, from workers in the field to sex slavery.
It is degrading to the slaves and they are not thought of as humans. When someone becomes a slave, their rights and freedoms are taken away. Most slaves live in unsanitary, cheap, and shameful living quarters. They are not fed healthy food or clean water. Many slaves are expected to work inconceivable hours. They are treated like the dirt under their owners feet. Polygamy also diminishes the human life. The men are saying that they need more than one woman to satisfy him, whether in the bed, in the home, or with the children.
Women are thought of as property, like the slaves. Rape and female genital cutting should be universally wrong. Rape takes away the females rights to say no. Rape is caused by someone who is on a power trip. If someone needs to feel power over someone else, what better way to prove it than by raping them? Cutting a females clitoris is wrong because it “robs her of a vital source of satisfaction, self-esteem, and warm relations available to members of our species. To mutilate a females body in such a way makes it hard for a woman to achieve sexual satisfaction. In conclusion, I believe that Goodman had some very valid points. I did not agree with all of his ideas, although I agree with the majority of them. Human life is too precious to hurt someone by performing genocide, famine, warfare, terrorism, hostage taking, the use of child warriors, slavery, polygamy, rape or female genital cutting. If these were universally wrong, I believe the world we live in would be a better place.