Morality Is Absolute
"Subjective morality" is an oxymoron. By definition, moral principles apply to everyone, everywhere, at every time. Objecting that extenuating circumstances can affect the moral value of an act is a self-refuting appeal to an absolute principle in an attempt to refute the existence of absolute principles.
The existence of absolute morality is essential to the concept of inalienable rights. If some things aren't always right and some things aren't always wrong, then citizens have no leg to stand on when their government deprives them of life, liberty, or property in the name of the "greater good".
In short, the only two options are absolute morality or no morality.
How to Define an Act's Moral Value
Every willful human act has three elements that determine whether it's good or evil.
Here's how to do the math: if all three elements of an act are good, then the act is good. If even one element is evil, then the whole act is evil. God intends for the good, i.e. Himself, to be the final end of all human beings. Therefore all of our actions should be directed toward the good. This principle rules out intentionally doing evil, even if good might come of it (Romans 3:8).
- The object/matter of the deed itself: the immediate end willed by the actor (what was done).
- Intent: the actor's ultimate motive (why it was done).
- Circumstances: conditions that can modify, but not fundamentally change, the nature of the act (who, when, where, how)
Let's look at two examples of how to apply these principles in concrete situations.
A pro boxer enters the ring so he can excel as an athlete and earn a living. He trained hard for the fight, so he wins.
Another boxer agrees to a match for the same good reasons. He also wins--by loading his gloves.
Both cases have identical outcomes, but the second fighter's cheating makes his whole effort evil regardless of the goods he obtained.
(Note: Determining a thing's Moral Value lines up with the Trivium Method.)
No one ever said Good was easy. It it was, Evil wouldn't have anything useful to employ to seduce others to its side. Remember what Yoda said about the Dark Side: "...quicker, easier, more seductive..." (emphasis mine). Much like any other form of excellence, achieving and sustaining moral excellence requires a superior degree of discipline and diligence than most people possess.
People slip up routinely in the pursuit of this excellence, as they do with pursuing others; failure is not only an option, it is inevitable, which is why repentance and forgiveness are vitally necessary elements in the overall pursuit. However, as Brian notes in his post, this is NOT an excuse for Total Pacifism.
Evil must be fought by Good if Good is to endure, and that resistance does extend to the use of force to prevent and put down the violence--the violation--of Good by Evil. In short, there are times when it's a-okay to shoot them in the face, and discerning when that time comes is a big deal.
However, most of the time we're talking and not shooting, which is why this is a Narrative Warfare post.
Let's take up the Moral Value discernment rubric and apply it to a Narrative Warfare approach as we commonly see it.
- The Narrative Warfare campaigner promulgates a claim, presented in the form of a story employing a mythological structure, where evidence and facts are carefully curated (and contradictory elements suppressed) in order to create the illusion of reality ("verisimlitude") regardless of the actual truth of the matter.
- The intention is to acquire power or wealth by deception, i.e. fraud, which is a criminal act upon the targeted population and therefore it is Evil.
- The means used are multiple instances of deception, often with confederates assisting. This is a conspiracy to commit fraud, which is Evil.
- No matter the circumstances, the campaigner will double-down on the deception and often justify doing so by resorting to claiming that morality is subjective. This is yet more fraud, which is Evil.