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Don’t sweat the small stuff

Patrick Graff | Friday, November 20, 2009

In response to Mr. Petrocelli, (“The Actual Facts,” Nov. 18) I would like to humbly suggest that the search for truth in morality is not only “not that simple” but completely pointless. I mean, “no one knows the truth,” so why bother even looking for it?
You’re right, the search for truth in morality “should not be treated as a civil war,” so let’s work together to reduce the number of moral philosophers in this country, who are constantly dreaming up and debating such personal issues like abortion, about which we can know almost nothing. Is it a person, isn’t it a person, who really knows?
We shouldn’t be divided about substantial moral issues to the point of conflict, for now that the slavery issue has been settled, there are decidedly no more objective moral injustices to be resolved. With only gray moral differences remaining, we should should respect all stances merely because the individual has chosen them.
If some people want to kill babies and others want to save them, how can we know which side is on the side of Truth? Why can’t both sides be right? If we just compromise to a position of loose platitudes, even if held for different and incompatible reasons, we will never have to actually resolve these issues, or even think about them, and that sounds like something everyone can get behind.
Just as you say, there will never be a consensus in these complex moral issues, so what we need to do is stop asking questions like, “Does human life have inherent value?” or “What constitutes a good life?” and realize that because these questions are unknowable, trying to answer them is an utter waste of time and our society’s intellectual resources. Instead, let us celebrate the magnificent panoply of human choice through respect, no matter who those those choices affect, and not sweat the small stuff. Thank you, Mr. Petrocelli, for giving us the actual facts.

Patrick Graff
Dillon Hall
Nov. 20