The sliding scale of morality – an update on our collective morals

The sliding scale of morality – an update on our collective morals 

Bottom Line: In case you've not been introduced to one of my many ism's "or lessons for life" if you prefer, is the sliding scale of morality. Simply put we all have a sliding scale of morality. None of us are perfect, hopefully none of us are pure evil. So, on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being evil and 10 being perfect, we're all somewhere in between. But we're also not static numbers on that scale either. On that scale five would be neutral. Someone who's neither inherently good or bad. We're all somewhere on the scale but some start higher on that scale than others and the implications are many.  

Let's say for example that you're an 8 at your best. Perhaps at your worst you're a 5. Meaning that even when you're the worst version of yourself you still wouldn't intentionally hurt others. However, someone who starts at say a 6, could very easily become a 3 when they're at their worst. That person would generally be a decent person at best but dishonest and potentially harmful at worst. My concern about the sliding scale of morality is that as we've experienced less morality in our society (I covered this extensively in my two-part suicide story recently) we're inclined to swing wider on this scale and might have fewer people starting from higher standards at the onset. This is increasingly reflected in social issues. According to Gallup's study of social issues there's a huge divide between partisans on what people feel is morality acceptable.  

Here are all the issues that most Democrats and Republicans (50% or more) feel are morally acceptable:  

  • Birth Control 

  • Divorce 

  • Gambling 

  • Alcohol consumption 

  • Unmarried sex 

  • Fur clothing 

  • Death Penalty 

  • Medical testing on animals 

These are issues that no partisans think are acceptable: 

  • Suicide 

  • Polygamy 

  • Cloning humans 

  • Affairs 

These are issues that only a majority of Democrats think are morally acceptable: 

  • Cloning animals 

  • Pornography 

  • Teenage sex 

  • Abortion 

  • Doctor assisted suicide 

  • Marijuana 

  • Embryonic stem cell use 

  • Children out of wedlock 

  • Homosexuality 

There are no social issues that a majority of Republicans feel is acceptable that isn't by Democrats. I don't personally fall within either of these boxes right down the line myself but there's a very wide collective scale of morality in our society. That much is clear.  



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