The Rise of Relativism
As the tides of foreign policy keep churning, a new wave has crashed onto America’s shore. Rather, it has only just appeared to crash. In reality, this wave pounded the sand of America years ago. This wave is that of relativism. It has seized the general public with an iron fist and dominates political rhetoric with reckless abandon.
To some, this may be comforting, a signal of a fresh change of scenery and pace. To its credit, relativism ensures that every voice will be heard, regardless of how outlandish they may seem. But at what cost does the condemnation of objective principles sacrifice what this country was built upon? If relativism stays on pace, the Constitution will be nothing more than a page in the history textbooks of school children.
When the Founding Fathers collaborated to separate from Britain and establish an independent state, they drafted one of the most influential documents in American history, the Declaration of Independence. In it, they outlined several grievances against King George and declared that, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” This rests on the idea that all human rights are given from a Supreme Being, not a ruler. Unfortunately, this idea has been long neglected. We no longer live in a society that acknowledges rights given from God. Rather, we live in a society that tells us we are our own god, and that all principles placed in front of us are neither concrete nor true, but subjective.
To identify the impact that relativism will have on foreign policy, we must first dive into the murky waters of social construct. According to Webster, a social construct is, “an idea that has been created and accepted by the people in a society.” The supposed social construct that has taken over the spotlight of discussion in recent years is gender.
Many argue that gender, the masculine or feminine inner self, has no correlation to sex, the biological difference in reproductive organs. In an effort to entertain LGBT activists, a movement to give LGBT citizens the supposed rights that they did not possess swept across the nation under the Obama administration. At first glance, one would be glad to hear that a minority group has been defended, freed from persecution, and given equal treatment. Upon digging deeper, it becomes easier to identify this as no more than a ploy to shift the status quo to the left. This shift has become the cornerstone for the rise of relativism that the United States is experiencing.
We can further identify relativism’s prominence when looking at the U.S.’s current approach to foreign policy. The area that jumps out the most is the relationship between Russia and the United States. President Trump is too busy praising Vladimir Putin’s power to recognize the authoritarian regime that has subdued Russia. To appeal to a vast electorate, recent presidents have frequently flip-flopped on issues. This represents a microcosm of the much bigger problem that relativism poses. If the voice changes when the tides turn, then we have elected officials that are merely paying lip service in order to get elected.
In a recent interview with Tucker Carlson, Sunsara Taylor, a member of the ‘Refuse Fascism’ group, likened President Trump to Hitler. She said, “He is more dangerous than Hitler ever could have been.” What was the one distinction between the two? “Trump and Pence are operating out of Hitler’s playbook, only they have nuclear weapons.” Sunsara Taylor accurately embodies the problem that relativism poses in America today. Many will condemn her harsh comparison, but many will agree with her.
Anyone looking at this comparison objectively would merely need to look at the death toll under Hitler to see that President Trump is clearly not “operating out of Hitler’s playbook.” Similarly, Donald Trump might have access to more dangerous weapons than Hitler did, but that completely neglects the greatest system of checks and balances that has ever been created in the history of all of humanity. This emotionally charged rhetoric not only sounds ridiculous; it is ridiculous. However, this serves as a perfect example to show how far we have gone in the wrong direction. When principles and facts fail to be a focal point, cultures crumble. If America does not shift away from subjective relativism back to objective, principled thinking, she will fail to remain great.