Morality Is Not One-Size-Fits-All
Start writing a post
Student Life

Morality is not one-size-fits-all

How morality can be objective but not universal


It's an idea that we've come to terms with hypothetically, in stories, but not in actuality. Nobody would contest such commonplaces as the classic, "With great power comes great responsibility," or "Do what you can with what you have." Yet this same notion requires some concrete extension.

Take, for example, the trendiness of sustainable consumer choices. It's wonderful to see a culture so joyously and artfully take up an extremely important call. We have recognized that though one individual's choices contribute very little, the collective effect is vital. On top of this utilitarian idea, the question of personal ethics has arisen. Essentially, though one individual's decision to buy a sustainably sourced item does not, on its own, make a difference, it does matter to that individual's degree of morality that they are not consuming products which were produced unethically.


This conception of individual morality requires a bit more nuance. Yes, the wrongness of allowing products to be made through means involving the poor treatment of human beings or the environment is an objective truth. And we should make every deliberate effort within our abilities to purchase items from ethical sources. But the tragic and undeniable truth is that ethically sourced products are often more expensive. If an individual lacks the funds or material access to purchase in this manner, I suggest that whatever force of objective morality exists would be sympathetic. Items such as clothing and food are survival needs, and so people who struggle to attain such items at all should certainly be held to a different moral standard.

What this means, of course, is that those "on top" have an even bigger responsibility. Certainly, they have an absolute moral obligation to support the most ethical of companies and resources. At the same time, they face an additional duty to use their positions to challenge economic structures that require many consumers to purchase from unsustainable sources.

Wherever you stand, perhaps a more effective and even more moral move than adjusting our own consumer choices is larger scale advocacy to ensure that all resources are ethically attained, manufactured, and sold or distributed.

Furthermore, I must note that those with higher positions absolutely do have a greater moral obligation to, for example, pay taxes that contribute to programs for those in lower positions. They have a greater duty, too, to use their platforms to speak in respectful, empowering, and impactful manners. This idea can be supported from both a utility standpoint and from an individual moral one.

Certainly, as the Christian text suggests, "To whom much is given, much is expected."

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Marconi Beach

Three years ago, I chose to attend college in Philadelphia, approximately 360 miles away from my small town in New Hampshire. I have learned many valuable lessons away from home, and have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in Pennsylvania. One thing that my experience has taught me, however, is that it is absolutely impossible to beat a New England summer.

Keep Reading...Show less

Fibonacci Sequence Examples: 7 Beautiful Instances In Nature

Nature is beautiful (and so is math). The last one will blow your mind.

illustration of the fibonacci sequence

Yes, the math major is doing a math-related post. What are the odds? I'll have to calculate it later. Many people have probably learned about the Fibonacci sequence in their high school math classes. However, I thought I would just refresh everyone's memories and show how math can be beautiful and apply to physical things everywhere around us with stunning examples.

Keep Reading...Show less
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments