Apr 6, 2007

Morals about Infidelity are Relative

Are moral standards relative?

I think most people would like to think that their morals are absolute, something is right or wrong, end of story.

But, more often than not, I think our morals are driven by our self-interest. How does someone's behavior impact me? If someone's behavior has a negative impact on me, it's wrong. But, if their behavior doesn't necessarily have a negative impact on me, then our judgments can be more nuanced.

Case in point, CBS just published a story about infidelity by presidential candidates. It seems like people are willing to overlook a politician's infidelity and cheating, as long as people perceive that the candidate in question has the public's interest at heart. People do not necessarily care that a politician may have cheated on a spouse, but what's in it for me?

When people do us harm, it is wrong. When people try to help us, but cause harm to others, we tend to become more morally flexible.

I also believe that when people are very morally outraged, it may not reflect as much on their moral standards, but that they can not calculate any benefit for themselves by forgiving the person who may have done something wrong.

1 comment:

karmawendy said...

I know that I've always held the belief and standard of not pursuing married men and succeeded. I am not an unselfish person and have had opportunities to rationalize. I think that setting a standard that can not be temporalized or impacted by any external or internal event is worth doing in certain cases. Relativity is moral slippery slope. I am not in favor of a lot of morality but some bottom lines are good and healthy.