Is Morality Universal?
When we speak of “Morality” we think of the difference between right and wrong, the difference between the good and the evil. We use morality to justify our actions and decisions. More often than not, people impose their morality on others and expect them to act in the way they find fit. They believe that the idea of right and wrong is universal. In her essay “On Morality”, Didion contradicts this theory and believes that everyone can have different ideas of morality based on their own perception. To make her point, Didion uses the examples of Klaus Fuchs and Alfred Rosenberg. Fuchs was a British traitor who leaked nuclear secrets to the Soviets, and Rosenberg was the Nazi administrator of Eastern Europe, where the Germans committed their most heinous and most murderous acts during World War II. Both of them claimed that what they did were morally appropriate. She then goes on to say that Jesus justifies what he did based on morality. The juxtaposition of these ideas affirms Didion’s theory that the conviction of morality is vastly based on perspective. This juxtaposition also helps prove that people use morality to justify almost anything. Osama Bin Laden believed that it was morally right to take the lives of millions of innocent civilians in the name of religion. President Snow, along with the Capitol, in The Hunger Games saw it fit to throw 24 teenagers in a battlefield and let them fight until only one remains. Morality does not seem like a tool to distinguish right from wrong, but a method to have a clean conscious, irrespective of whether one’s acts are good or bad. Didion also says, “For better or for worse, we are what we learned as children.” (158) This shows that the ideas we have of good and bad and the so-called “morality” is part of what we’ve learnt growing up. A lot of people might find it pointless to stay with a corpse on a highway. But to Didion, it is the moral thing to do. We do not leave behind our dead. Friedrich...
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