No! Nonsense! Moral ambiguity is for the weak. By the time you are done reading this essay, you will see that ethical problems are really incredibly simple to resolve, regardless of how complex they may seem at first.
Moral relativists treat ethical principles as mere personal preferences, akin with emotional desires or political opinions. The problem with moral relativism, is that it results in a gradual undermining of integrity until everything becomes meaningless. Values and circumstances become hopelessly confused. Moral relativism as the default ideology has left us unable to determine what is right and what is wrong. Enter the moral dilemma.
I instead argue a position of individual rights and universal morality, based on the classical and neo-classical concept of natural law. There are universal moral principles, they can be understood by using reason, and they derive from nature. Individuals can use their free will to make poor choices which run contrary to universal morality, however, we know what is right and we have for a long time.
Common Sense Ethics boils down to a philosophy of harmlessness. You should not do anything that harms or defrauds others. You should not initiate violence. You should not deprive others of their rights. Treat people the way you would like to be treated. Simple. Universally applicable.
Individual Rights, Freedom, and Personal Conduct
Individual rights are innate by virtue of being human. There is no such thing as community or majority rights, only collective consensus, or mob rule. A collective is a construct made up of individuals; it therefore has no rights. Only individual humans have rights.
So what exactly are your rights as an individual? An individual has the right to do anything that does not harm or defraud others.
Any action is ethical which does not harm or defraud others. Unethical actions include the initiation of violence (not in self-defense), stealing, lying, rape, abuse, and any action that causes deliberate harm to others.
Some people abuse their freedom by making unethical choices. However, the potential for wrong action is not sufficient to forcefully impede an individual doing anything which has not harmed others in actual fact. For example, your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. You can swing your fist all you want, but if you actually hit me, the action becomes unethical.
What does this have to do with proper personal conduct? Well, proper personal conduct is ethical conduct. I agree with Søren Kierkegaard that we have moral responsibility over our lives, and that this moral responsibility is always in effect.
Actions have consequences.
If you cause me harm by hitting my nose with your fist, the consequence may be me defending myself against your aggression. Other consequences of your action might be me running away, filing a police report, or protecting myself by punching you! After all, I have the right to be left alone and unharmed, and your action has violated that right.
If you are considering an action that harms another person, you should stop and consider that you would reasonably not like to be harmed yourself. In personal conduct, you should strive for the golden rule of Christianity, or the reverse of the golden rule according to Thomas Hobbes, "Do not that to another, which thou wouldst not have done to thy selfe."
Is it Right or is it Wrong?
1.) Does the action you are thinking of taking harm or defraud others?
2.) Does the potential action violate the rights of others?
3.) Would you like to be on the receiving end of this particular action?
If the answer is no to any of these three criteria, the action is most likely wrong and should not be taken. And you figured it out in less than 10 seconds.