As submitted to The Daily Maverick
There is a difference between being moral and being moralistic. Whether or not we ever reach consensus on what it means to be good, I don’t think it could ever be a good thing to replace debate and discussion on morality with simple – and simple-minded – tut-tutting and finger-wagging that is premised on a belief in moral certitude.
Examples of individuals who claim this sort of moral authority are easy to find. From Mary Whitehouse’s campaign against the “permissive society” in Britain to local examples like the homophobic Errol Naidoo, these individuals tend to treat moral dilemmas as black or white issues, and are always at the ready with unambiguous solutions to those dilemmas.