Moral Relativism and the London Riots

“These riots were not about race. These riots were not about government cuts … And these riots were not about poverty… What last week has shown is that this moral neutrality, this relativism – it’s not going to cut it anymore.. bad behavior has literally arrived on people’s doorsteps. And we can’t shy away from the truth anymore.”
-UK Prime Minister David Cameron on the London Riots

Moral relativism, the view that a person cannot claim an absolute standard of right or wrong, true and false in regards to morality saw its logical outworking in the London riots.  People scrambled to find a reason for the riots and why so many seemingly upstanding citizens got involved in the rioting and looting of London.  The “causes” all pointed outward, but Prime Minister David Cameron showed wisdom by turning the responsibility for the chaos inward.

Moral relativity, when carried out to its logical conclusion is a rationale used to absolve oneself, or another person, or responsibility for their actions or lack of action.  Recognizing the desire of fallen humanity to avoid taking responsibility for sin, Cameron called for the “the restoration of responsibility” in his country.  Demonstrating courage, the politician took the risky step of declaring the need to start talking about absolutes in regards to morality again.  The Christian Post’s article “Moral Relativism Won’t Cut It Anymore, Says UK Prime Minister” summarized some of Cameron’s talking points:

We have been too unwilling for too long to talk about what is right and what is wrong. We have too often avoided saying what needs to be said – about everything from marriage to welfare to common courtesy,” he said.  He listed irresponsibility, selfishness, fatherless children, reward without effort, crime without punishment and behaving as if one’s choices have consequences as some of the problems contributing to a “slow-motion moral collapse.


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