Friday, September 12, 2014

Why Was He Wrong?

There's one aspect of the Ray Rice contretemps that I find particularly interesting. Everywhere one turns the tv or radio tuner, at least everywhere there are people talking about news and/or sports, Rice is being roundly condemned, his behavior is deemed beyond despicable, and moral outrage fills the airwaves. Okay, but I have a question that no one in the media that I've heard has even attempted to answer. Why is what Rice did actually wrong?

Did he break a law? Yes, but people break the law all the time and the national media doesn't suffer collective apoplexy. Did he transgress some moral prohibition? Yes, but only if one thinks there are such things as moral prohibitions, and this is what I find interesting. So many of the people commenting on this matter simply assume that what Rice did to his wife was morally wrong, but no one I've come across has undertaken to explain precisely why. And for good reason. They can't.

Either they can't because to do so would be to introduce religious reasons into public discourse - i.e., reasons such as that people are made in the image of God and loved by God and therefore persons have dignity and worth and God demands that we not harm another on pain of divine sanction - but this is a serious no-no, a heretical transgression, in our secularized culture. Or, they can't because when they express their repugnance at Rice's behavior they're doing nothing more than emoting. They have no basis for saying that any behavior is morally wrong, but nevertheless they really don't like what he did, and they're so mad about it they could stamp their feet and spit, but, of course, not liking another person's behavior doesn't make it wrong.

This is the corner our culture elites painted themselves into when they abandoned traditional religious foundations for moral truth. They left themselves bereft of any grounds for making moral judgments. Of course, this doesn't deter them, they make judgments anyway, but they sound pretty silly when they do because they're hanging those judgments on philosophical skyhooks.

Earlier today I heard a news clip in which a bunch of media types were complaining about the fact that a lot of Baltimore Ravens fans, including a lot of women, were wearing Ray Rice jerseys at the game last night. The commentators were clearly flummoxed by this. They called the women "morons" and "idiots", but they never once tried to explain why these people were such odious human beings for supporting Rice.

They assume that their audience will just agree with them without the need for an explanation. At least that's their hope because if someone insisted they give an explanation they'd be unable to do it.