Moral Standards


It was George Orwell, author of 1984, who said: He who controls the past, controls the present; and he who controls the present, controls the future.

When man was created, he was endowed with all the means necessary to attain his proximate and ultimate end. He was created in the image and likeness of the Supreme Being. Therefore, man is a reflection of his Creator. Just as a painting is a reflection of the inner spirit of its creator. Man is not an animal endowed with a spirit; he is a spirit endowed with a body. In the former, man would be what the evolutionist would want him to be: an evolved baboon. But only baboons would want to believe that.

In the latter, a spirit is endowed with a body and this is why man is superior to all other creatures: Man is a completely unique creation. He stands above all other creatures. He is endowed with the three-fold powers of the Trinity: He has the power of memory, the power of intellect, and the power of free will. Yet, these three faculties are united in one, immortal soul. Man is a `mini-trinity.'

Man is expected by his Creator to act not as an animal, not as a vegetable, nor as a mineral. He is expected to act according to his human nature.

Even though man is a microcosm in a macrocosm, he differs from all other creatures in that the spiritual powers akin to godliness oblige him to act intelligently and freely. This is the origin of morality. No other creature on earth is in this category.

Man is obliged to act as a human being. Because his actions are performed with advertence of the intellect and by the free decision of the will, these actions have the unique characteristic of `morality.'

Morality is a property or attribute of a human act in virtue of which it is said to be `morally good,' or `morally evil.'

Acts are determined to be `morally good' or `morally evil' according as they fulfill those requirements called `moral determinants.' These `moral determinants' are three in number: the object, the circumstances and the purpose of the acting agent. If all these determinants are morally good, the act itself is morally good; if any of the determinants is morally evil, the act itself is morally evil.

The question is: How do we know whether and when an object or circumstance or an end is good or evil? There must be some way of knowing when these determining factors of morality are present and when they are absent. The moral character of many acts is not self-evident. This is clear from the fact that there are different opinions regarding many acts. How can we know?

Obviously, there must be a norm and criterion of morality. A `criterion' is a standard of judging. It acts much as a ruler acts as a standard of measurement. Applied to morality, a `criterion' is a rule or test by means of which we are able to discriminate between what is morally good and morally evil.

The norm of morality is that which is the foundation for the criterion. The moral criterion presupposes the existence of an objective moral `standard' with which the act can be compared in order to judge whether an act is morally good or morally evil.

The `norm' is an authoritative standard serving as a model to which things of a similar nature must conform. The standard, or `rule' which determines the morality of an act must be objective, that is, independent of man himself. For, if man is entitled to create his own standards of morality there would be nothing but chaos in the world. Which, of course, is what we see today: The universal breakdown of objective morality.

There are five qualifications that must be met for a moral norm to be effective. For, if a norm or rule is ineffective, it has no value.

1. The norm must be unchangeable. If it would change, there would be no basic stability to morality. For example, murder and adultery might be morally evil at one time and morally good at another. Such a standard would not be reliable.

2. The norm must be universal. It must apply to all men: to a President and to a pauper; to a `Pope' and to a peasant.

3. The norm must be accessible to all. Young or old, learned and unlearned, rich and poor and at all times. All men of whatever time or condition must be able to know at least the basic principles of morality. Otherwise they could not lead a moral life as their human nature requires.

4. The norm must be applicable to all conditions of life. The individual must be able to make all his actions conform to the norm of morality. This would only be possible if the norm could serve all individuals in all cases.

5. The norm must be a single standard. Moral actions are many, but morality is one. All men have the same human nature, and the moral standard for all must be the same. Consequently, there cannot be one norm for one set of persons or actions and another norm for different persons or actions. Adultery is morally evil whether a General or a Private is involved or whether a President or private citizen is involved. So too with murder: Mass murder is no less morally evil when mandated by abusive authority than when committed by a private individual. For this reason, abortion is purely and simply murder. It is murder because it is the unlawful taking of an innocent life. Those promoting abortion, therefore, are guilty of murder and ought to be punished in any civilized society according to the laws relating to the crime of murder.

It makes no difference to the morality of the act how many murderers shout to the contrary, any more than the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is not to be imputed to those who shouted at the direction of the Pharisees: "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" These are all guilty of deicide as well as those who condone it today. The murder of Jesus Christ is on the blood-stained hands of every Rabbi who continues in that tradition. No human authority can erase the fact, nor disguise it with pietistic prattle or circumlocution.

The present day effort to distort the past has for its purpose the corruption of the future. Since the future belongs to our children, they are the targets of historic falsification. Truly, the words of George Orwell find their realization in the universal falsification of history: He who controls the past, controls the present; and he who controls the present, controls the future!

Our moral struggle, then, is to preserve the truth of the past so as to assure the truth of the future.

Return to Contents

Return to Homepage.