The death of moral relativism

The shift in cultural artifacts from the late 20th century to now illuminates America’s changing moral framework. Popular music in 1990s, for example, was marked by a live-and-let-live mindset voiced by musicians such as Kurt Cobain. Today’s top-40 charts look much different.

As Helen Rittelmeyer argued in The American Spectator, “Breaking taboos for shock value is relativism; breaking taboos as a means rather than an end is not, which gives Lady Gaga and Seth MacFarlane an alibi…over-processed chart-slayers like Katy Perry and Ke$ha don’t act as if they want to be judged by the brutal honesty of their self-expression, and neither do mannered indie darlings like the Decemberists.”

Rittelmeyer points also to recent trends in cinema, which are now dominated by heroes who draw clear moral lines. Modern audiences do not wonder if Voldemort or the Joker is actually justified, right, or moral.

“Virtue, authority, and law and order are all in fashion, as the bank accounts of Chris Nolan, J.K. Rowling, and Marvel Comics will attest,” Rittelmeyer says, “There are still plenty of enemies for conservative culture warriors to fight, but relativism is no longer one of them.”