Ethical Relativism = Moral Conformity?

According to the theory of ethical relativism, an individual should follow the moral rules and customs of their society. This theory also claims that there is not an “absolute morality” and that morality is determined by an individual’s own society or community. A component of this line of thought is that if the society is incorrect as to what is moral (determined by whom?), the citizens of that society are not able to change their morals according to ethical relativist theory.  According to the theory of ethical relativisim, a true ethical relativist would claim that it was not morally right to invade Germany for the purpose of stopping the extermination of jew and homosexuals because Germany was exercising its right to choose its own morals.

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Majority rule?

There are many governments in the world that have small groups of experts make major decisions for their society.  There are several reasons why small groups of experts should make major decisions for society instead of the majority rule. There are many occasions where the nature of the issue at hand are extremely complex and are not able to be fully appreciated or comprehended by a majority of the population. As a result, a majority rule could result in a severely detrimental result for the society if the uninformed rule of majority were supreme. In such a situation, it is appropriate that a small panel of experts make a decision for the majority because they are better informed to the situation at hand.

Conversely, there are also important reasons for which major decisions should not be made by a small group of experts.  One reason for this is that the decision makers may not be impartial and may not have the majority’s best interests at heart.  If the appointed or elected decision makers are out for personal gain, they can use their influence to create laws and policies that are more beneficial to them personally than they are to the rest of the society. Additionally, if an outside individual is able to influence the panel of experts through coercion or intimidation, then the panel’s decisions will be not be primarily for the well being of the society. 

There are many reasons for both the majority rule and the rule of few. I believe that the rule of the elected or appointed few is better than the rule of majority because due to sectional tensions and different backgrounds, the rule of majority will be unable to reach consensus on what is best for the society as a whole. Additionally, the general population may not be informed enough to make a good decision regarding an issue. Regarding the rule of the few, assuming the society is democratic, if the rule of few becomes corrupt for any reason the people can vote these “few” out of office.