My new favorite website to frequent during the day is Ricochet.com. It’s a fantastic place for Center-Right dialogue, discourse and debate. Yesterday I performed my weekly ritual and enjoyed the latest Ricochet podcast, which included the regular hosts, Peter Robinson (former Reagan speech-writer and host of The Hoover Institution’s web-show Uncommon Knowledge) and Rob Long (conservative Hollywood producer and National Review columnist), and saw the much-anticipated return of both Mark Steyn and Jonah Goldberg (two men who need no introduction). After enjoying the insights and witticisms the four men divulged, I was prompted to re-visit some of my favorite Mark Steyn YouTube clips. One of the best of those clips is of Steyn sharing his thoughts on the perils, pitfalls and pitiable state of the modern cult of multiculturalism.
Check it out here.
The wisdom contained in this brief clip brought to mind the wisdom of another subject of the British crown (Steyn in originally from Canada): Clive Staples Lewis. In his masterpiece Mere Christianity, Lewis explains why moral (and cultural) relativism is, in fact, so silly:
When you think about the differences between the morality of one people and that of another, do you ever think that the morality of one is better (or worse) than the other? Have any of the changes in their respective cultures been improvements? If not, then of course there could never be any moral progress. Progress means not just changing, but changing for the better. If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other, there would be no sense in preferring savage morality to civilized morality, or Christian morality to Nazi morality.
In fact, of course, we all do believe that some moralities are better than others. We do believe that some of the people who tried to change the moral ideals of their own age were what we would call Reformers or Pioneers – people who understood morality better than their neighbors did.
Very well then. The moment you say that one set of moral ideals can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more closely than the other. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some peoples’ ideas get nearer to that real Right than others.
Or put it this way: If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazi’s less true, there must be something-some Real Morality-for them to be true about.
For those who see the American “experiment” in republican democracy, as well as the (relatively) free market system, as inherently better or superior to any other, the question becomes: How do we make the case for American exceptionalism in today’s intellectual and relativistic climate?”