The Ideology of Texas Republicans, Part 5

To Rick Perry, and many conservatives, Progressive policies are guided by the “shifting sands of moral relativism.” Moral relativism, he has written, “would remove any mention of God from the public square, would sanitize our society of bright lines dividing right and wrong, and would elevate doing what ‘feels good’ as a moral imperative higher than doing what is necessary for us to live together.” But Perry has embraced the same moral relativism that he so vocally decries.

We have seen that Perry believes that like-minded people should be free “to determine what should or should not be lawful behavior.” While Perry openly calls for Biblical principles to guide political policies, that is, the “bright lines dividing right and wrong,” Texans hold many different views of the Bible, ranging from the belief that the Bible is the literal word of God to outright rejection of all religion. How are we to determine which view to follow? Perry has made his answer clear: the majority. Which means, a vote will be taken to determine right and wrong.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that moral relativism holds “that the truth or justification of moral judgments is not absolute, but relative to some group of persons.” This is precisely what Perry advocates when he calls for like-minded people to determine right and wrong through a democratic vote.

Perry is correct when he claims that Progressives have rejected moral principles. But Perry’s solution is no less relativistic. To Perry, the majority should decide was is right and wrong, what will be permitted and what will be prohibited. These are the “shifting sands” of the majority, which may change whenever enough like-minded people can be assembled.

Politically, the solution to moral relativism is an objective and universal moral/political principle: individual rights.

Individual rights protect the freedom of each individual to live his life as he judges best, so long as he respects the freedom of others to do the same. When individual rights are recognized and protected, the majority cannot impose its values upon others. And this is true whether the majority is Progressive or conservative.

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