Thursday, September 8, 2011

What is morality?

Morality is defined in the dictionary as discretion between good or bad and wrong or right, seemingly pretty clear cut.  Ironically morality seems to be one of the most ambiguous topics out there.  Everyone has their own set of morals based on what is personally important to them, but in general there is a common sense of what is and what is not considered moral.  Almost everyone would agree that littering, cheating, and stealing are all immoral, and there are certainly many other morals that a vast majority of people would agree with.
So for the most part it seems as though everyone has a similar sense of morality.  The catch that distinguishes everyones morals is the way in which they are carried out.  There are people who go through everyday life and quietly enforce their morals upon themselves and the opposite end you have the people who always seem to be forcing their morals onto others.
There are also people who believe so drastically in their morals that they are willing to sacrifice other lesser morals for the one they see more prominent.  A radical example of this is found in a speech from a European soldier after the first world war.  The beginning talks about how can be able to find pride in the reasons for which they are fighting, providing themselves with a sense of morality and that they are doing something worth while.  When the harsh reality is that they are destroying human lives, and in doing so sacrificing some of what an average non-soldier person would see as completely immoral.
The european soldier's speech continues on to talk about how this revolution they are involved in is breaking down walls placed by prejudice and eliminating racial barriers.  On the whole it seems as though the speaker has the right idea about morality.  The general feel after reading it is that he is a fairly moral character and he believes he is doing what he is doing for the right reason.  The author of the speech is Adolf Hitler.  When he talks about eliminating racial barriers and doing what is better for Germany he is very convinced that this revolution they are involved in is the right idea and that he is doing the right thing.  And to an extent he does, the way he carries out his plan to eliminate racial barriers however is probably one of the most drastically immoral examples in history.
Hitler's wording in this speech shows exactly how he was able to convince an entire nation that "executing" all of the different groups of people targeted was the right thing to do.  A perfect example in believing so strongly in a particular moral that all others are completely thrown out the window.  Is Hitler however considered a moral person?


  1. when you said that some people quietly carry out their own morals while some force their morals upon others it really made me think about how all of society falls under one or the other of those categories. is it moral to force your morals upon others? that's definitely a loaded question.

  2. I like how you didn't say that it was Hitler right away. It almost made it seem like you were talking about someone completely different. I think that to himself, Hitler was being moral. However, to everyone else he wasn't. Adolf's past was almost definitely a factor in how his morals were conceived. Do you think the Nazi soldiers thought what he as doing was immoral?

  3. I wish that I were in your group for the discussion activity because this speech sounds so extremely interesting and controversial. I believe that Hitler himself believed that what he was doing was moral. I think he was a very smart person and had the right idea but simply went about it in a totally unacceptable and completely wrong way. I wish everyone would read this speech because it would open peoples' eyes to a whole new view on Hitler as a person. I think by using this example it made your response very strong. Good point of view Mariah Mckenna

  4. Your post is exactley my train of thought but in much better explainnation! I love how you said "There are people who go through everyday life and quietly enforce their morals upon themselves and the opposite end you have the people who always seem to be forcing their morals onto others", this line is execellent.We do have those people who take morality in soceity, in their own hands. Telling people how to live their life and only judging morality on their stuck up views. I commonly use the example of religion. Just because one person goes to church and another person doesnt. It doesnt make the religous person anybetter moral wise. That, in reality, is irrelevant.