Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Liberals, Speaking Relatively

Liberal Catnip comments on my earlier post (welcome, LC!). Hidden away in a fairly lengthy comment is the following gem:
You fail to appreciate the fact that poverty is relative to the country in whichit appears.
So, to those on the left, not only are morals now relativistic, but so is poverty. Odd, because I'd always thought that fundamentally the needs of each and every human being were similar; that someone living in even a poor social housing neighbourhood in Toronto was less poor than someone living in a refugee camp in Africa and subsisting on UN food aid. I'd always pictured that Torontonian having more of their needs met than the African and therefore being less poor. But no. Relatively speaking, the Canadian is poorer, because (God forbid) Canada has rich people too, while the African refugee camp doesn't.

Follow this to its logical conclusion and we should abandon all international aid, because, as long as everyone in a country is poor, then, relatively speaking nobody is. What patent nonsense.

Relativism is a necessary tool for any left-winger, because it's the only way to avoid what psychologists call 'dissonance' - the holding of simultaneously contradictory ideas and viewpoints.

For example, without using relativism, how could someone (rightly) believe that the Catholic Church and Catholics in general should be held accountable for the actions of pedophile priests, while simultaneously condemning the suggestion that Islam and Moslems be held accountable for their followers flying planes into buildings.

Uncomfortable as it is for liberals, the fact is that there are absolutes in life. There is right and there is wrong; moral and immoral, rich and poor. Morals don't change, mores do.

Don't misunderstand me - I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't be striving to address the conditions in which our own poorest people live - and that First Nations should be at the top of that list. We must find solutions to these problems, although after 30 years of throwing liberal dollars at the issue I humbly suggest that it might be time to recognise that it might take more than money. But that would mean doing something practical, and the left would rather sit in ivory towers of academia or DSL-connected apartments and preach.