Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ London's "The American Dilemma"

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Oct 26, 1999

Send to American Outlook, 26 October, 1999
Posted on newsTrolls, 1 November, 1999

Herbert I. London's "The American Dilemma" is an Interesting article.


Even if I agree with him that there should be a shared set of standards and morality in society, I would not agree that it should be based on the Golden Rule or the 10 Commandments.

I think that the Golden Rule is a serious error - I do not want people treating me the way *they* would like to be treated, because some people do not like to be treated well at all!

As for the ten commandments - in certain cases, such as incest, "Honor thy father and thy mother" is a travesty. And "Thou shalt not steal" is immoral if applied to a starving man. I could go on, but you get my point.

The problem with "common sense" is that there is no definition of it, no articulation of what it means. And your version of common sense is probably very different from mine. For example, I do *not* think it is common sense to imprison people for sex acts or drug use. You may.

The real dilemma here is - what makes you right and me wrong? If we're going to have a common sense of morals and standards in society, why can't they be my standards, and not yours? It is easy to say that relativism is wrong, but this assumes that there is some standpoint of *right* which may be known and understood.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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