Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Moral Equivalence

The definition of "moral equivalence," according to It is a term used in political debate, usually to characterize (in a negative way) the claim that there can be no moral or ethical hierarchy decided between two sides in a conflict, nor in the actions or tactics of the two sides.

I just watched The Kingdom. It's not a true story, but it's about a terrorist attack that occurs in a non-Muslim compound in Saudi Arabia, killing lots of people. I liked the movie until the very end, and I'll tell you why in a minute, but I have to set it up for you a little.

Jamie Foxx plays an FBI agent. Foxx and his team go to Saudi Arabia to solve the crime. At the end they successfully hunt down the mastermind terrorist and shoot him. As he is dying, he whispers something into a child's ear.

Earlier in the movie, when Foxx breaks the news to his team that their good friend was killed in the original terrorist attack, a woman on his team starts crying. Foxx whispers something in her ear and she stops crying.

At the end of the movie, you find out what the mastermind terrorist whispered to the kid and what Foxx whispers to the woman. They said the same thing: Don't worry, we're going to kill them all.

This was supposed to be some kind of moral point. Something like: Hate is the real problem. Otherwise, we're all the same. Or maybe, "People, don't you see? This is like the Hatfields and McCoys. It just goes on and on, one side taking revenge on the other, and them taking revenge for the revenge."

What the moviegoers probably don't recognize is something that you probably recognized immediately: They don't mean the same by the word "all."

Foxx meant, "We're going to kill the men who perpetrated this heinous crime. We're going to kill all the men who were involved in killing our friend."

The mastermind terrorist meant, "We're going to kill every last one of the filthy infidels of the world." Or at the very least, "We will kill every infidel who lives in Saudi Arabia."

Of course, this isn't the moral equivalence they were trying to portray. It wouldn't surprise me to find out this movie was funded with Saudi money.

Without that last scene, it would have been a great movie. But with that last scene, the movie became more of the same confusing taqiyya and politically-correct multicultural spew we've come to expect from Hollywood.


Pastorius said...

Great post, CW.

In discussions with friends and family, I've heard this kind of moral equivalence taken to the extreme. When I ask them, is Saudi Arabia a moral government, they will tell me, "That's how they choose to live."

I'll say, yes, that's how the Royal Family chooses to make them live, in the meanwhile, tens of millions of people pass their lives in slavery. Women are not allowed to make basic decisions for themselves.

It doesn't matter to them, or so they claim.

I remember you writing another piece wherein you made the claim that resorting to moral equivalence is a technique people use in order to frame their own choice to do nothing as being a moral choice. As in, they are being moral by respecting the choices of others.

The truth is, they are respecting the non-choices of others. They are respecting the fact that tens of millions of people are enslaved. That's what they are respecting.

Damien said...

Citizen Warrior,

I agree, if we took this movies attitude to heart and lived by it, we'd all be dead, or living as dhimmis being forced to live under the thumb of Sharia.

Anonymous said...

Moral equivalence?! Shhhhhh. . .not in front of Dr. Daniel Peterson. After all, he clearly stated he isn't a leftist, or muslim apologist . . .or gasp, a muslim. He's simply, well, go watch the video and judge for yourself.

Citizen Warrior said...

What's amazing is to think that many if not most of the people watching that movie would have been satisfied with that moral equivalence. They would have seen it as correct, and if only the war-mongers of the world could get it through their skull, everything would be okay.