Universal Norms in a Diverse World

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar fillyjonk says:

    I once read an essay arguing that one statement all or nearly all world religions agree on is the Golden Rule. The Abrahamic faiths all have it, maybe worded a little differently (“Do unto others as you would have done unto you” vs. “Do not do what is abhorrent to you to your neighbor”), but it’s the same thing.

    I’ve also known agnostic/atheist folks who ascribed to it, as well.

    I tend to consider it a pretty good rule.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to fillyjonk says:

      It’s the one I live by.Report

    • For me personally, the second framing of the Golden Rule makes much more sense and is easier to use as a yardstick for (what I consider) good behavior. The first framing allows for a little too much “helping people who don’t want it” and too much confusion about what to do if someone hates themselves.

      That doesn’t mean I’m always or even usually successful at following either of the framings in practice.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Going back and looking at Leninism’s ideal society, at Stalinism’s, and Maoism’s, it seems like there is at least a little bit of tension between what they want and these universal norms.

    If the norms are, in fact, universal (or close enough to universal for jazz), then that’s pretty much why those systems all failed.

    Any political theory that does not take into account these norms (or wishes to work around them) will find itself failing in short order. Probably have to start punishing people who prefer the universal norms to whatever newfangled system is trying to be put in place.Report

  3. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    This brings to mind Jonathan Haidt and Moral Foundation Theory. Now short of actually paying for access to an academic paper or two I find it difficult to compare their respective methods for identifying these foundational or universal moral principles, but I note that the lists differ quite a bit.

    I’m not sure what to make of that given that both groups seem to be using some similar methods to go after the same idea and they seem to share a common theoretical framework.Report

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