Tag Archive | morality

Santa Claus Morality

Somewhere, right now, there is a mother encouraging her son to release his brother from a sleeper hold, or to stop lighting his sister’s Barbies on fire.

“You know, Santa is watching you.”

That’s right. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good. He’s like the CIA.

And around this time every year, parents get to use him as a tool for behavior modification—If you want toys, you have to play by the rules.

We also have Elf on the Shelf. Have you seen this? It’s a creepy little elf doll you place throughout the house—preferably in high disobedience areas—to keep an eye on the children. He’s like Santa’s whistleblower. Parents tell their kids, “You better be good. Elf on the Shelf is watching, and he tells Santa everything. EVERYTHING.”

It’s adorable manipulation. And it works. At least until the kids forget about Old Saint Nick. I’m pretty sure my parents used the same tactic with us, but Santa must have been a pushover when we were young because somehow we kept getting toys.

The strategy always wore off in the warmer months. Fortunately, someone always stepped in to give Santa the summer off. Growing up in church, I learned that Jesus was watching me too. Read More…

I’m Only Human

“I’m only human” works well as an 80’s pop song (Watch this if you don’t believe me). It also works as the explanation for why I am unable to step off my roof and take flight, or why I can’t outrun, say, a cheetah.

It just doesn’t work the way we normally use it.

Why did you cheat on her?

Hey, man. I’m only human.

Ah yes, it’s the humanity factor. Aliens have no idea what it’s like to deal with these pesky human hormones. Must be nice.

Unfortunately, this argument isn’t sustainable. While human beings lack the capacity to leap tall buildings in a single bound, we are fully capable of keeping pants zipped and buttoned. The problem isn’t physical ability; something else contributes to our moral missteps.

Even from a purely humanist perspective, the “I’m only human” plea is limited. The popular politician may apply this defense to infidelity, and with time and “good” behavior, the people will probably forgive him. But if this politician molests a child the excuse is removed from the table, and rightfully so.

But why is that? Violation of rights aside, the same sex drive that led him to his assistant’s hotel room also put him in the presence of a vulnerable child. Give the guy a break. Right?

If that was as hard to read as it was for me to write, you will agree that something much darker than impulse is at play.

Something evil. Read More…

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