What is it about morality and judging that causes people to hesitate in saying an act or behavior is wrong and immoral? When assessing moral actions, I find that many people will avoid making moral judgements on the actions of others. Why is it so hard to say “that is morally wrong”? It shouldn’t be controversial to claim that some actions are truly wrong, but it is. Even though we don’t all agree on what is right and wrong, it doesn’t follow that no one can render a judgement (or assessment) of what is morally right or wrong?
When I reflect on the disagreements people have regarding moral standards, I think there is less disagreement than we would like to admit. If you listen carefully to people who will not condemn what you or I believe to be immoral behavior, the arguments are generally defensive in nature. They focus on why you shouldn’t condemn the behavior, rather than why the behavior is morally good or benign. I think some are willing to defend something even they believe to be immoral so that they can protect themselves to a fashion. For example, there are people who defend abortion even though they oppose it because either they have had an abortion, or someone they care about has had an abortion, and by condemning it they are condemning themselves or their loved one. I can sympathize.
It’s this defensive nature in people that they do not like being assessed and judged as immoral by others. It makes them hesitant to assess other’s behaviors as immoral and creates a collective group-think attitude of “if I don’t say you’re immoral, you can’t say I’m immoral, deal?”. No one likes being judged, including myself, but that does not mean the judgements inappropriate or invalid. The uncomfortable feelings provoked by being judged shouldn’t prevent anyone from being able to properly differentiate between moral and immoral behaviors.
Where did people get the idea that because people disagree on what is moral and immoral that there is no correct assessment if not for self-protection? It’s a bit circular in reasoning. Unless you begin with moral relativism already decided, why would you conclude moral relativism based on disagreement? This application of moral relativism doesn’t allow for any act to be deemed immoral, not even the one’s we all agree on — if there is such a thing.