Analysis of and commentary on South African politics from a liberal perspective.

Tag: Moral Absolutism

10 steps to avoid moralising

AFEATURE: South African public discourse is awash with moralisers – people who care little for argument or reason, evidence or logic, but rather wish nothing more than to shout their position from the treetops, in the belief that it represents some universal truth. The effect of this on debate is damaging. It is also infectious. What follows below is a list of ten suggestions to avoid moralising. Hopefully, they constitute a helpful guide to some of the pitfalls inherent to moral indignation, and how best they can be overcome.

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On heroes and villains

ARTICLE: Something about sensationalism fuels the impulse to adulate or denigrate people – that is, to see them either as heroes or villains, good or bad. When that attitude is well set and pervasive in a society, the subtlety and ambiguity that marks human nature is overlooked in favour of the kind of moral absolutism that understands everything (and everyone) as either right or wrong. Not only is it temporary – one day someone is a hero, the next a villain – but often it is to misunderstand the attributes of a real hero in the first place.

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