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Joybird's avatar

How do you define "moral authority"?

Asked by Joybird (3159points) November 4th, 2010

Do you think moral authority is a matter of where you were born or what you were born with? Or both? What do you believe gives your overarching moral authority over other groups?

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23 Answers

josie's avatar

Moral authority is the extent to which your ideas, choices, and actions are objectively correct. Having bigger guns or more money is not moral authority.

Zyx's avatar

Moral authority is forcing your own flawed views on other people.
The only thing I know is that I do not know anything.

YARNLADY's avatar

That which is consistent with my personal and with cultural values.

ETpro's avatar

I tend to be a freethinker so I do not accept moral authority on the word of some ancient holy text whether it be the opne most popular among my own countrymen or one of the many others out there competing for the allegiance of men. I rather look upon morality along the lines of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I accept the moral authority of that rule because it makes logical sense and, if followed, makes civilized society work at its best.

josie's avatar

@ETpro I tend to be a free thinker as well. Plus, I see a value in the principle espoused in the Golden Rule.
But certainly their is an antithesis to the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you must imply that if they try to harm or or steal from you (or others that you value) , they can expect, in kind, something unpleasant in return.
Thus, if I know with moral certainly that someone is acting in a fashion that is undeniably evil, I am entitled to stop them. Correct?

ETpro's avatar

@josie No, you are twisting the Golden Rule inside out to get to the place you want it to take you. It does not day do back unto others what they do unto you.

josie's avatar

@ETpro Oh.
Well then the Golden Rule eventually becomes a suicide pact.
Forget it.

JLeslie's avatar

@josie Are you saying you reject the golden rule? I site the rule constantly. I have never heard of someone rejecting it.

Zyx's avatar

@JLeslie They probably didn’t understand you, most people “cite”.
Anyone have the source of the golden rule? @ETpro ‘s determination to do good frightens me. Especially seeing that “the golden rule” overlooks such massive quantaties of rape.

CaptainHarley's avatar

If you can walk the walk before you talk the talk, you have moral authority.

CaptainHarley's avatar

It’s from the Bible. “Do therefore unto others as you would have others do unto you.” – Matthew 7:12

Zyx's avatar

@CaptainHarley An eye for an eye? Wasn’t that also in the bible?
Never mind, Jesus stepped in.

Jews still believe it though.

Self indulgence: My edit beat those guys posts v v v

josie's avatar

@JLeslie I do not see an important corollary to the Golden Rule.
It would say “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, unless they first prove themselves unworthy of the consideration”
Without that, it is just one more way to lead innocent lambs to the slaughter.

CaptainHarley's avatar


“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
—Matthew 5:38–42, NIV

BarnacleBill's avatar

@Zyx Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

ETpro's avatar

@Zyx Morality is a goal not always realized. I said that morality is contained in the Golden Rule, not that everyone always follows it.I fully understand the need for the rule of law to deal with those who do not so restrain themselves

Qingu's avatar

I don’t think we need to overthink this. There are two sets of morals: ones you don’t think should be enforced, and ones you do think should be enforced. The ones in the latter category are called “laws,” and would thus constitute a “moral authority.”

So, what laws do you think should be enforced (by the state, by armies, by police, whatever)? I’m sure we can all name a bunch, and there would be a lot of commonality.

I’ve found that vague moral truisms like the golden rule don’t end up making good laws.

JLeslie's avatar

@josie it is the spirit in which it is being said, why are you dissecting for a negative circumstance? It is as simple as telling children don’t hit your sister, you would not want herto hit you. It is putting yourself in the other persons place. It is not what the other guy does to you, you do back to him. It is a guide for yourself, not a reaction to others. I am shocked people interpret the golden rule in different ways. If someone treats you like shit, then you have my permission to let them fend for themselves.

@zyx Thank you. Cite.

ratboy's avatar

“Moral Authority” is merely my job title.

anothermember's avatar

So how does a masochist fit into the golden rule. Shouldn’t the rule just be, Treat others how they want to be treated. If everyone followed that rule nobody could ever get angry.

mattbrowne's avatar

@CaptainHarley – You said, If you can walk the walk before you talk the talk, you have moral authority. I couldn’t agree more. I mean it :-)

Blackberry's avatar

Sam Harris suggested a moral authority be something along the lines of actions that contribute to the happiness, or relief of suffering of things we feel can experience suffering and unhappiness. I tend to understand that point of view. Of course one may have questions, but I can elaborate later : )

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