5/28/07

Moral Ambiguity

You encounter a lot of new things at college. Middlebury in particular promotes diversity and the value of difference, be it racial, religious, socioeconomic, or simply a difference of opinions. I've run into all these in my nine months at Midd, and for the most part I've appreciated the new perspectives and ideas I got out of such encounters. But a few things have occurred that caused me to stop and wonder: at what point are you allowed to stop appreciating ideas that differ from your own? Do I have to accept a diversity of values and moral standards? Are right and wrong really relative? (If you think I'm going to answer this question in one blog post, you're going to be sadly disappointed.) In theory, I think it's fine for people to have personally defined moral codes. In practice, I hate it when people do things that I consider wrong. It's a different sort of discomfort than when I'm confronted with an opinion that disagrees with my own. Opinions aren't necessarily fundamental; I consider them more thoughts than feelings. My most basic values aren't going anywhere, and I'm not sure I could explain all of them rationally. There are things I do and things I don't do. (Anyone read Orson Scott Card's The Worthing Saga? It plays with that question quite a bit.) So while I'm all for my opinions and ideas being broadened by diversity, I don't consider it necessary or even right for my values to be "broadened" or changed. Does that make me close-minded?