I want to try to keep this one easy to understand. We have all heard the argument, and many of us have even embraced it: the argument that we shouldn’t act as though one belief, nation or culture is better than another; or that different things can be equal, or true for different people at different times. Broadly speaking, this belief is called ‘relativism.’ But there is a problem with relativism: it is fallacious. In other words, it is not true. Depending on how it is expressed, it is either a mistake in logic, a deception or even a deliberate lie. Sadly, the reason so many have been deceived by relativism is because our schools no longer teach reason and critical thinking. If they did, then as many who could understand the material would know — not think, but know that relativism is a self-defeating idea. Luckily, this one is easy to prove.
If I tell you that we shouldn’t judge one religion over another, or one culture or a system of government over another because they might both be equally true or equal to different people at different times, I am making a value judgment! In other words, I just did what I am telling you not to do. So, if my argument is true, then I should not be telling you not to judge because, in the process of telling you that, I am judging you. By excluding the possibility that my judgment might be equally true for me as your relativism, or that it might be true at a different time, you are doing the very thing you claim is wrong.
Two conflicting ideas cannot both be equally true at the same time. This is called a contradiction. You cannot tell me that we should not judge without making a judgment in the process of telling me not to judge. So relativism is self-defeating because it is self-contradicting. So, why would anyone argue for relativism? There are three reasons:
1 — They are ignorant: they simply do not know what they are saying, nor do they even know enough about it to know they are ignorant. Sadly, this is the majority of Americans. We have been taught this lie in school, by teachers we trust, so we believe it is true because the tools we need to know better were kept from us by those very same teachers.
2 — People who should know better allow their emotions to over-rule their intellect. Some people who do know relativism is a self-defeating idea still argue for it out of a desire to treat people ‘fairly.’ The problem here is that fairness is a subjective term based on value judgments which, if you are telling people they should not make, places you in contradiction to both the claim of relativism and fairness. In other words, ‘good intentions’ sometimes lead people who know better to double their mistake.
3 — People who know better intentionally argue for relativism so as to persuade you to surrender to their will. They seek power over you and as many others as they can gain, and they argue relativism in an attempt to get you to surrender out of some perceived notion of guilt for having been ‘unfair.’ In this case — as with the media, teachers and politicians — relativism is a deliberate lie. At this point, it is not only fallacious, but it becomes propaganda.
But I can prove that relativism is a lie to you in even simpler terms. When people argue for ‘fairness’ over something like…racism: do they ever include sports in their arguments? Why is that? The answer is simple: they are not arguing for equality of outcome or even opportunity as they claim. They are arguing for power. They never apply their arguments to sports because we all know that some people are better than others and that skin color has very little to do with it. We also know that, if you are good enough, and you have the desire, you can find an opportunity to succeed. This is why so many NFL, basketball and baseball stars can be found playing in the majors when they never went to college. But things are different when we turn to politics.
Once we move to this arena, it is easier to exploit the individual desire for justice. All you need to do is make someone feel as though they are being ‘unfair,’ or in some cases, ‘racist,’ and you can silence them. By telling someone that this culture is no better than that one, or one religion is no better than the next, or that government is equal to another, and then tying it to something such as racism, people can be manipulated into accepting the relativist lie. They can also use personal greed and the desire for pleasure without personal cost to do the same thing. Entertainment media does this all the time. They tie something like ‘fairness’ or ‘racism’ to a action society frowns upon so as to silence any moral opposition. This is what ‘Pro-Choice’ vs “anti-abortion’ is all about. The language is designed to make you feel like you are ‘enslaving’ someone if you object to the murder of an unborn human being. It is why the media always paints the issue in terms of freedom for women vs. a war on women. The whole idea is that the woman’s choice is equally moral to those who oppose murdering babies. So, if you object, you are ‘judging’ the person who has the abortion, thereby making you the one who is unfair and, thus, immoral. But look: by portraying someone as unfair and unjust for opposing murder, you are making a value judgment. That negates the argument of the pro-abortionist, as well as the broader lie of relativism.
So the point is simple: some things are better than others. Some religions are better; some cultures are superior; some governments more just. This is a fact that cannot be changed and, if anyone tries to argue differently, remember: they are telling you their way is better than yours; and hypocrisy is a sure sign that someone is on the wrong side of right.