Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Continuing On The Topic Of Morals

Yesterday, FLG highlighted a sentence from a David Brooks column:
Alasdair MacIntyre has written about emotivism, the idea that it’s impossible to secure moral agreement in our culture because all judgments are based on how we feel at the moment.

This morning, FLG was reading this post by Tim Kowal about abortion and slippery moral slopes in which he references the story of a a Canadian girl who killed her newborn and threw the body over a fence into a neighbor's yard. The comments by the judge in the case might seem appropriate to many, but appall FLG. Words like sympathize and grieve for the mother sound a lot like emotivism. But this:
The judge noted that infanticide laws and sentencing guidelines were not altered when the government made many changes to the Criminal Code in 2005, which she says shows that Canadians view the law as a "fair compromise of all the interests involved."

Regular readers will know how much FLG hates the word "fair." As he has said before, fair is entirely relative and subjective and in the eye of the beholder. Ultimately, it's a therapeutic word for those who use it.

But this comment is what really pushed FLG over the edge into apoplexy:
People please, move past your emotional reactions. Look up infanticide on Wikipedia. You'll find a link to Postpartum psychosis:

"Several nations including Canada, Great Britain, Australia and Italy recognize post partum mental illness as a mitigating factor in cases where mothers kill their children."

We are complicated animals, and understanding and compassion must take into consideration what we have learned about ourselves and the brain.

Your black-and-white views on morality and justice are holding us back.

Now, in complete fairness, this comment is in response to some tirades, but the idea that black-and-white views of morality are holding us back when we are talking about a mother killing her newborn baby is rage inducing.

Look, FLG gets that there is such a thing as post-partum depression. But he is equally sure that the moment society is accepting of it or any justification for mothers killing their children, then that's pretty much the beginning of the end of the society. If there's anything society is founded upon it's parents taking care of their children. We start shrugging it off when they kill them, that's bad.

FLG gets there are extenuating circumstances. She's a young girl. Maybe she had post-partum. Whatever else you want to put in there. So, maybe she doesn't get the full sentence. But there is something very wrong when the Canadian justice system seems to be deciding between zero and a grand total of 16 days for killing a person.

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