One thing I find difficult about living in modern American culture (or at least Internet culture): the rather widespread idea of what I'm going to call elastic morality. Shortly put, anyone can have a moral code. In elastic morality, any such set of morals consists almost entirely of condemning things the holder has no inclination towards.

When someone acquires a personal revulsion to something, they mark it up in their moral code as something "wrong". When a person finds themselves disposed to do something, they reconsider their morals and usually conclude it must not actually be wrong.

A couple of examples:

  • Many people are against the censorship of Internet pornography, but usually except child pornography as safely bannable--because they (and the culture as a whole) have little or no inclination to pedophilia and label it "wrong". Someone who enjoys child pornography would likely protest its banning.
  • Many conservative Christian preachers soundly condemn homosexuality as "wrong" (or "evil", in strong forms). Rare is the homosexual who thinks it should be wrong, and the straight people who defend homosexuality are in such a small minority they are often accused of it themselves.
  • Many people don't care for the government. If a law interferes with them, they ignore it--they might say they have the "right" to live as they please. This is commonly seen in traffic violations and tax evasion.

Anyway, I think this is because people don't like to condemn themselves. Most people would rather rewrite the list of things that makes them feel guilty than to overcome the source of their guilt.

This bothers me. I often do things I think of as "wrong". When I try to tell people about the conflict between what I want to do and what I think I should do, they look at me like I'm from another planet or something, because they don't recognize any difference between them.

That's the best way I can think of to explain it ATM. If I've been unclear, let me know.

Disclaimer: I'd like to keep my personal morality out of this, and I make no claim here to any "absolute" rightness or wrongness of any person or activity mentioned here.

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