Re: RARA-AVIS: morality & the unreliable narrator

Date: 25 Feb 2007


"The reason they sympathize with Montressor is that they have been taught that morality is simply a personal opinion, and that making moral judgements is a prejudicial act best avoided. Criminals become victims. Terrorist become freedom fighters. By spoon-feeding them this thin gruel of postmodern pablum, this is the impasse that academia have brought to education."

I'm not so sure postmodernism is solely at fault here, since this criticism long predates it. It has long been the accusation that the religious right has thrown at the "moral relativism" of "secular humanists" and/or liberals. In fact, a response to it dates back several centuries, to Samuel Johnson (which I first read as the title epigraph of a very good Donald E Westlake book):

"If a madman were to come into this room with a stick in his hand, no doubt we should pity the state of his mind; but our primary consideration would be to take care of ourselves. We should knock him down first, and pity him afterwards."


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