The political year will feature an escalation in the practice of moralizing by politicians and commentators.  In many cases, the people practicing moralism will enlist the endorsement of religious figures and much quoting of scriptural texts will take place.  Already, it seems like we must endure considerable amounts of moralism as we wade our way through public life these days. 

There is a great deal of trumpeting about morals going on.  Even though there is much misunderstanding of the difference between morality and moralism.  A person may take the common view that morality and ethics mean approximately the same thing.  That is a way of conducting oneself in a manner that causes the least amount of harm.  If you’re splitting hairs, ethics is closer in definition to virtue and morality is based upon duty, obligation and constructed principles.

Both ethics and morality have been found to be positive, constructive ways of directing behavior on a personal and social level.  In the current terminology, it is wise to follow an internal compass.

Then there is moralism.  This is when a person or group  takes an undue, judgemental concern for perceived lack of morality of others.  These days, the moralism often orbits around the issue of sexuality and sexual behavior.

There is much finger wagging and haranguing taking place in the media.  Much of the moralizing comes from religionists and politicians using the practice to build an ediface of goodness and the impression of wholesome character.

What often happens, instead, is that we find out that the moralist engages in immoral behavior himself.  We frequently witness news stories about clergy who engage in sexual behavior that they have condemned in others.  Politicians who wish to outlaw certain behaviors are found to practice those very behaviors themselves.

Moralists tend to weigh in heavily on religious and cultural codes of conduct.  They frequently discount actual normative ethics as to what is actually harmful in a real sense.

Without sliding into moralism, myself, I’ve found that moralists tend to lack the practice of treating others as they would have others treat them.  While proposing harsh punishment for people who violate religious morals, they wish for leniency when they, themselves act immorally.

Moralism comes across as overly harsh, merciless, intolerant, and unnatural.  True morality is none of that.  When guided by ethics, tempered by compassion, we find a natural, gentle mercy. Acceptance and positive behavior are second natured qualities.

People generally come to the realization that karma or a golden rule forms the solid foundation of a morality that is so easy to follow that it quickly becomes a habit.  Most children learn that the best way to get along with others is to treat their fellow humans the way in which they wish to be treated in return.

I hope we can remember this when the onslaught of moralism gushes forth this political year.


The Blue Jay of Happiness notes that when we  tone down our own excessive individualism, we become happier individuals.  (You can quote me on this.)

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Controversy, Health and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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