Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We Agree on Something

Merlene Davis of the Lexington Herald-Leader titles her column "What if 52 percent voted not to let blacks drink at the fountain?" in a piece aimed at the reaction of voters to gay marriage proposals on the ballot.

Looking at all of this from a different angle, we should ask: Can a vote of 52% make something right or wrong? If it's a tax increase, then democracy seems a reasonable way to decide whether the tax increase should be allowed. However, would a vote of 52% also make murder legal? Actually, the vote would be couched in different terms: the vote would be to outlaw the prosecution of murder...voters would not be voting about whether murder was right or wrong, voters would be voting about whether the prison system and the taxes involved should continue to go to supporting the legal system, or something like that.

I agree with Davis that a 52% vote should not decide such matters. If gay marriage is ethically right, then voters should not be making such a decision. The irony is that in a world of relativism with no absolutes, it is often public opinion which is asked to determine what is permissible. But when public opinion backfires in this system, many cry "foul."

So then, where does a society derive its basis for right and wrong?

No comments: