Society's Moral Absolutism
One of America's largest problems today is not a single belief, leader or foreign nation. The problem is political, but it does not lie within the government; it lies within the American people and their analysis of political issues. The problem is moral absolutism, sometimes referred to more generally as deontology.
Moral absolutism is the belief that no action is justified if it calls for immoral means. The opposite of moral absolutism is known as consequentialism or utilitarianism, which dictates that an action is justified whether or not it calls for immoral means, as long as its benefits outweigh its harms. You may know this concept as "the ends justify the means."
Our society's problem lies within in its inability to weigh the benefits and harms of certain policies. It fails to weigh these and therefore resorts to forming opinions based on moral absolutism.
There are a few examples of political issues that manifest our society's moral absolutism.
The first is Arizona's SB1070 immigration law. This law would remove illegal aliens from our country, which would result in billions of dollars in savings each year, safer Arizonan neighborhoods, and more jobs for Americans. However, our society is too caught up on its "racial profiling" to see the benefits and support this law. The "racial profiling" only takes 30 seconds out of the day of someone who is already being arrested. All he must do is take out his papers and prove his citizenship. However, society doesn't see this harm as minuscule and outweighed; it just sees it as a descendant of the racism of the Jim Crow Era that has been called immoral and immediately rebuffs the idea.
Another example is offshore oil drilling. Offshore oil drilling would provide a temporary solution that would reduce our dependency on foreign oil and lower oil prices until other permanent solutions can be implemented. However, society once again rebuffs this idea because it seems to think that no amount of environmental harm, no matter how negligible, is worth it.
A third example is torture. According to Israel, it has saved many lives and prevented many terrorist attacks using torture. America could do this too, however society believes that saving hundreds of lives isn't moral if we have to hurt just one person. That's wrong, society believes. Imagine this. Israel has already experienced it. Let's say intelligence has just been received from certain sources that an attack is about to occur at the mall of America, where thousands of innocent shoppers are spending their day. The CIA has a suspect that they believe knows how the attack will be executed and when. Is it wrong to torture this one person to stop hundreds or thousands of innocent Americans from dying? Society seems to think so because it is unable to weigh the potential benefits with the harms. It just thinks that torturing a certain human is immoral in any circumstance.
A fourth example is the Islamic Community Center at ground zero. Society is incapable of weighing the consequences of this center. America has heard repeatedly that it’s not right to cause the 9/11 families sadness and pain. Therefore it ignores any potential advancement of security interests that the United States could obtain from the center by receiving the support of the Moderate Muslims and increasing diplomacy with Islamic nations. America thinks it just simply isn't right to cause those 9/11 families any more pain.
A fifth example is welfare. Society ignores that fact that welfare has many problems. It is a temporary solution that creates dependency, it costs the US huge sums of money every year, and its swarmed with fraud. Society just believes that its simply wrong to allow anyone to be poor when there's so much wealth in this country.
A final example lies within a very controversial policy: affirmative action. Our society is completely incapable of properly analyzing the consequences of this policy. Affirmative action is reverse racism that hurts whites. 76% of affirmative action beneficiaries are wealthy blacks, not poor blacks within disadvantages. Affirmative action causes racial stigma and increases the college dropout rate, reducing education for minorities even further. America ignores all of this and hinges on the belief that every person deserves an education and those who fall behind need extra help.
With all of this information and various examples, its easy to see that no leader or foreign nation poses the biggest threat. Society's inability to analyze the morality of actions is what is really hurting our nation politically. America needs to relinquish its belief in moral absolutism and analyze political issues properly with the principles of consequentialism in mind.