Legal and Moral Relativism

July 30, 2020 Updated: July 31, 2020

Commentary

Today’s leftists believe in the philosophy of “by any means possible,” or, in other words, “the ends justify the means.” The U.S. Constitution is effectively discarded to get to a desired result, and justice differs depending on to whom it is being applied rather than what actions that person took. Legality is relative. Morality is relative.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, but it’s a more dangerous one than in the past. I remember the days of the Paula Jones lawsuit against President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. You may remember it for its more memorable victim, Monica Lewinsky. The issue was that President Clinton had lied under oath about his affair with Lewinsky when he was accused of sexual harassment by Jones. It wasn’t too much earlier that Democrats had painted Clarence Thomas as a sexual predator, but Democrats brushed off President Clinton’s sexual escapades even after he first lied and later admitted them.

Around that time, my wife and I had regular dinners with progressive friends, which always ended with a heated political debate. These so-called liberals and feminists actually told us that the women accusing Clinton were “bimbos” who “wanted to have relationships with Clinton” and so we should just “move on.” That’s where the left-wing organization MoveOn.org got its name, founded at that time.

Yet that same organization, and the same party and people behind it later accused Mitt Romney and then later again accused Brett Kavanaugh of being sexual predators based on uncorroborated high school pranks, while dismissing the more serious recent allegations of molestation against Joe Biden.

“Believe all women,” they claimed—a highly unconstitutional and anti-American contradiction of the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” But what they really meant was “believe all women who advance our goal of destroying anyone with whom we disagree, particularly conservatives and Republicans.” The ends justify the means, and justice is relative.

Perhaps more frightening is the new justification of the ongoing riots in major U.S. cities. They’re not peaceful protests. As those on the left tell us, and I agree, there’s no such thing as an innocent bystander, just as there were no innocent whites who ignored anti-black racism in the American South in the ’50s and ’60s, and there were no innocent Germans at the concentration camps during World War II.

As philosopher Edmund Burke famously said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” The protesters are not doing nothing; they’re actually enabling and, in many cases, protecting the rioters. An article in the magazine Wired gave tips to protesters for protecting rioters, ignoring criminal activity, and shielding perpetrators from the police. The ends justify the means, and justice is relative.

One justification I’ve been hearing from those on the left is that change only comes about by violence. I’m told this particularly by progressives from the comfort of their homes in exclusive suburban communities. They tell me that the United States was founded by violent mobs. They specifically mention the Boston Tea Party.

Now, these are not uneducated or miseducated Millennials; these are my Baby Boomer peers. Many attended the same public schools as I did and were taught the same American history. They should know first that no innocent people were harmed during the Boston Tea Party and, more importantly, that the American government was formed to give a voice to minority opinions, to allow the people to have control over their lives, and to do so without the need for mob rule. So the progressives justify violence by rewriting history. The ends justify the means, and justice is relative.

In the ’60s and ’70s, there was an effort, particularly by feminists, to stop “blaming the victim.” If a woman wore a short skirt in a public place, it might be irresponsible. It might even be dangerous. But it wasn’t criminal, and it never could excuse or mitigate the criminal behavior of a rapist. This was an important lesson, brought to us by liberals. And yet now, the same people, or at least their ideological heirs, claim that vandalism, destruction, thuggery, and even murder can be explained as an acceptable reaction to systemic racism or white supremacy or white privilege or Donald Trump.

One hundred conservatives not wearing masks elicits many progressive editorials and political speeches condemning them. A few dozen religious Jews at a funeral elicits arrests by progressive mayors. A few hundred thousand people marching in close proximity through the largest U.S. cities causing destruction of property and even harming and murdering people is excused. The ends justify the means, and justice is relative.

Homeowners protecting their property against illegal trespassers in St. Louis are charged with a crime while the criminal protesters are not charged. The ends justify the means, and justice is relative.

The city of Portland allows protesters to take over parts of the city, patrol with weapons, attack police, set fires, and damage buildings, but the city council fines the federal government for setting up fences around federal buildings to protect property and lives. The ends justify the means, and justice is relative.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) accused Attorney General William Barr of preventing the rioters from destroying federal buildings solely to appeal to President Trump’s base. He said, “The protesters aren’t mobs, they are mothers, veterans, and mayors,” as if certain “nice and respectable” people should be allowed to rampage. Nadler, and many of his compatriots, have made it clear that the ends justify the means, and justice is relative.

If President Trump’s base comprises people who believe that law and order is good, that justice should be blind, and that destruction and violence are to be opposed not promoted, then count me in his base. If the Democrats feel differently, as many are making perfectly clear, then they have abandoned American values and the American people.

Bob Zeidman has a Bachelor of Art and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. He is an inventor and the founder of successful high-tech Silicon Valley firms including Zeidman Consulting and Software Analysis and Forensic Engineering. He also writes novels; his latest is the political satire “Good Intentions.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.