6/15/2006

Canada's Moral Majority

(h/t: Jesse)

A recent poll took stock of Canada's views on morality. Before I say anything, allow me to note that in our relativistic society it is actually quite surprising to me that such a poll was conducted at all.
The results can be summarized as follows:
Sixty-five per cent of Canadians... [believe] that sex under age 16 is wrong...
[Pedophilia ]was ranked the most unforgiveable behaviour, considered immoral by 81 per cent...
Extra-marital sex was second, condemned by 74 per cent
Prostitution was third on the list, considered immoral by 68 per cent...
Alcohol abuse, pornographic films, and blasphemy were condemned by more than 50 per cent of respondents...
Those were followed by abortion, which 34 per cent felt was immoral, and divorce, at 17 per cent...
31 per cent of respondents considered homosexuality immoral...


Blasphemy made the list? Wow. I am shocked that the pollster even thought to put it in!
Consider the results of the poll. Now weigh the results against our laws. I find it interesting that our system of belief has become so separate from the laws which govern our country. Had the Liberals won the election, prostitution would likely now be completely decriminalized and possibly regulated. Many, MANY years ago, adultery was illegal. Now, we just don't care. Pedophilia gets a bare slap on the wrist.
If our laws are not going to reflect the morality of our citizens, then what is the use of them? Whose morality, or lack thereof, are we reflecting?

5 comments:

Brian Lemon said...

Hi Root
The descrepancy between laws and morality can be traced back to the incorrectly determined assimiltude of morality and philosophy.
Morality is absolute, the percepts of which are thousands of years old and shared by almost all societies.
However, in the 60's some began confusing morality with philosophy.
They began defining percepts within their philosophy as being percepts of morality. So if "I" believe that a woman's rights to her body are absolute, then abortion is moral.

Mr Ed said...

problem with the simplified arguement...

"So if "I" believe that a woman's rights to her body are absolute, then abortion is moral."

...I'm guessing this assumes the pre-born child receives no rights as an individual or potential person in the same philisophical arguement being viewed as a non-person in the eyes of the person arguing pro choice... here's an Idea...safe sex or practicing birth control would make the arguement of pro-choice a non-starter.

Where the real challenge exists is in that society in general has developed the "excuse" mentality...it's everyone elses fault and no one today is willing to accept responsibility if they can pawn it off on someone or something else. Everything short of the devil made me do it...

Because we've adopted laws that are based on a burden of proof of guilt, defence attourney's are writting the laws of the land...not the people we elect to do so. Every time some philisophical arguement wins credibility in a ruling for the defence, the law of the land is updated...the balance swings a little further from center or Blind Justice. Eventually the laws are more for the rights of the accused and less for justice and protection of victums. If Mr Dithers last minute attempt to remove the "not withstanding clause" in the constitution had been successful, the downfall of our society would have been within the next 2 generation. As it is, the charter needed an overhaul before it was ever completed. Unfortunately Canadian general apathy pretty much shows the "it's good enough for Gov't work" mentality won out and now the courts do a better job of protecting criminals then victoms waving the chater of rites around for criminals.

My own comments are also over simplified but the results of the poll suggest they're not too far off the general opinion in Canada.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Then again, morality and law are certainly related, but I think we've come to agree that they should be separate. That's why, as you point out, adultery was long ago decriminalized.

That being said, I did think about your suggestion that we should consider the poll and weigh the results against our laws. And when I did that, it occured to me that conservatives should perhaps be focusing their efforts on criminalizing and/or restricting alcohol abuse, pornography and blasphemy, long before they try to do the same for abortion. After all, the numbers of Canadians thinking these things are immoral are almost 20% HIGHER than the numbers who think abortion is immoral.

You wouldn't agree with that, or so I think, but that's the point, and therein lies the flaw in your argument. I think a person can deem something "immoral" while not wishing it to be illegal, and while the examples are not as obvious, I think someone could deem an act to be "moral" while still believing it should be illegal (civil disobedience comes to mind, but there are no doubt better examples).

I'm also not so sure about your comments about the notwithstanding clause. Not that I wish the notwithstanding clause to be eliminated mind you, but personally, I fail to see how eliminating a Constitutional clause that has never once been used outside of the province of Quebec could lead to the downfall of our society within two generations. I mean, even the Quebec uses of the notwithstanding clause have been extremely limited in scope and purpose, so I fail to see how a constitutional clause that for all intents and purposes has never been used is somehow keeping our country from falling apart.

Thanks for bringing an interesting poll to our attention. Particularly interesting was that Quebec and ALBERTA were the most tolerant of the behaviours put to them. Quebec is not a surprise of course, but I was somewhat surprised that Albertans were the most tolerant in the country with regards to "prostitution, alcohol abuse, porn and contraception". Very interesting. Maybe I should move to job rich Alberta after all! :-)

Ruth said...

I am not surprised that Alberta is tolerant to alcohol abuse. I was surprised that they were more tolerant on prostitution. Of course, where the respondents live in Alberta may also make a difference.
LKO, with regards to porn, alcohol abuse and blasphemy, you would be wrong to assume that I wouldn't want tighter laws on these things in certain respects. Now, please note, I do NOT think alcohol should be made illegal. However, I do think there needs to be much tougher penalties for things like drunk driving... especially when it results in a death. I also think there should be tougher laws on porn. Like adultery, it also used to be illegal... actually, if memory serves, I may have blogged on it a long time ago. As far as blasphemy goes... this is a tough one. As far as I am concerned, it is a mortal sin to blaspheme the Name of God. However, what constitutes blaspheme can differ from religion to religion and some may be at odds with each other. I don't think a law banning all forms of blasphemy would work. Take for example the fact that as a Christian, I believe Allah doesn't exist. Saying such a thing constitutes blasphemy (most likely) under Islam. However, according to the Bible, suggesting that Allah (or any other god) exists constitutes blasphemy against God. So, if we wanted to punish blasphemy, what would you punish me for: blaspheming the Christian God or blaspheming Allah? Unless we had an official state religion, there is no way our government would touch an issue like this.

Mr Ed said...
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