The greedy ones have already been born

May 27, 2015

Ours is a society full of greedy souls, the greedy ones. This greed exposes itself not so much in individual dealings in big and expensive stuff, but rather in small ways in which we interact with each other. We want to receive from each other but we are most reluctant to give to one another. The greedy ones attend village weddings uninvited and demand food and drinks while they are unwilling to give a present to the bride or groom. They don’t want to help in anyway during the celebration. No washing of the dishes or helping to prepare the meal like those who came before us used to do. When you organise a party or invite people to your house for dinner or a meal, the greedy ones will appear empty handed ready to eat and run. When our ladies are invited for “bridal showers”, “kitchen parties” or “baby showers” the naked greed is revealed. People are appointed “organisers”, which in reality means “contributors”, and large amounts of money are required from such organisers. Pressure is then exerted on an organiser and presents demanded. The sad thing is that in many of the cases such pressure comes someone who is not even close to you. A person may not know you very well actually but they will try as much as they can to extract as much money from you as they can.

Those getting married or those having birthday celebrations also sometimes make demands. They demand presents and get rather grumpy when none are given. Sometimes this greed is demonstrated when one meets you in the streets, at a mall or anywhere at all and attempts to steal your clothes right off your back! It all begins with a disguised compliment, something like: “Ke rata ditlhako tsa gago!” Or “Jakete ya gago e ntle jang mma!” When you smile and delight at the attention and appreciation, the greedy one pounces: “E mphe tlhe mma!” “Ke a e kopa tlhe rra!”What the greedy one is saying is: “What you are wearing is good on you but I want it for myself. I am envious of how well you look and therefore I want to take that good look away from you.” Indeed the greedy ones are amongst us; the greedy ones have already been born.

The hustles of a city boy

May 18, 2015

He wants to be a well-mannered man, with poise and class, perhaps a CEO of some corporation living in the most affluent part of town. He wants to drive the most expensive car in town and wear the most expensive and exclusive clothes. What he wants is wealth; lots and lots of wealth. And so he hustles. At least that’s what he says he is doing. He is hustling. Life itself is a hustle; a series of hustles. It must be said that he also wishes for sophisticated mannerisms, something he can’t put his finger on because it keeps shifting like shadows. Is it a kiss on the cheek perhaps? Is it in a hug? A smile? Opening the door for a lady? Perhaps pouring the lady a drink? He isn’t sure. But both wealth and sophisticated mannerisms evade him at every corner.

If he were to visit a good psychologist perhaps she would discover that somewhere deep in his heart; somewhere where the spirit and the soul engage in the dance of old, there is a cry for recognition; an insatiable desire to be; to be somebody that can be seen, that can be recognized. No man wants to be Ralph Ellison’s Invisible man groping the underground. A man must be seen. He must be noticed.

And so he wears his suit with its tight pants. His tie is bright – always bright. It is important to have a bright tie. A man’s tie is his closes piece of attire to his phallus. What animal goes around with an exposed dark phallus? A phallus must be bright to appeal to the opposite sex and announce the presence of the beast. It must be bright for its owner to be seen. Is it any wonder then that his tie is made by the top men’s-clothes company called Hermes? Hermes is the son of Zeus. He is the Greek god of the phallus! A fertility god. He is a well-put together city boy. He is physically groomed. A good hair cut; a moisturized face and an over perfumed body. He drives a sleek clean car. It is always clean because it is cleaned whilst it is still clean.

Sometimes he comes to work driving a Land Cruiser – a heavy fuel-guzzling thing with clean shovels on its sides. This is not a mistake. He wants to be a farmer, yes a farmer. Though at one level he despises farming and all that is associated with it, there is one part of farming that appeals to him. The reason he drives his Cruiser is because a number of successful men drive Cruisers. This is the part that appeals to him. He wants to be within the circle of successful men. He wants to be seen as one of them. Certainly if successful men drive Cruisers, to appear successful, one ought to drive one.

So he says he bought a farm. Yes, a farm, not a tshimo. You see there is a subtle difference here to be made. Anybody can have a tshimo. Government allocates masimo to its peasants. Old men and women have masimo. They cut a few thorny branches to form a wall around a tshimo. Ke batho ba masimo! Tshimo communicates poverty and rustic mannerisms devoid of any refinement. It is associated with dikhwaere le banyana ba ba tlerebetsang. A farm means something else. It communicates money, wealth, modernity and sophistication. So he has a farm. That’s what he tells everybody else. No one has seen him farming. No one has seen him selling any produce. But that doesn’t matter. He has a farm.

He has also made sure that he lives and eats where important people eat and live. It really doesn’t matter to him what the expense is. It has cost him dearly to live in his neighbourhood which is far removed from his work place. He has a simple motto: you have to spend money to get money. He knows that money is not made by the most educated or intelligent, but by the most connected. He therefore runs after connections and pays to get connected. The most important issue for him is who knows him and not whom he knows. He therefore has a stack of business cards somewhere in his inside pocket from which he periodically extracts one card to hand to his contacts. He hopes for a call from his contacts. It is always better to receive a call from a contact rather than to call him. It is a good sign. But he is angry and frustrated because his choices and tastes have left him financial exposed. For a number of years now he has been sinking into a dark pit of debt from which it is becoming rather tricky to extricate himself. He has therefore tried strategies of extracting money from his contacts in a dignified manner. He tries to be useful to his contacts. He has got a number of his contacts to supply his employer with much needed services with an understanding that upon receipt of payment his contacts would grease his hands. Up to today his hands remain dry. Recently he travelled to China and Dubai in search of ways to make extra money. It hasn’t been as easy as he thought it would. Now he frequents coffee shops in Riverwalk, Game City and Airport Junction with a laptop. He still shakes hands enthusiastically with a wide smile followed by a short loud laugh. He hasn’t lost hope. One day. All it takes is one day, then that tender will be in the bag and he will be home and dry.

I bet you did not know this about kgomo

May 11, 2015

We know that an entity (that’s an intelligent way of saying “a thing”) is an important part of a people’s life by the way it is expressed in their language. If an object or a living entity is central to a community, the amount of lexicalization, i.e. the formation of terms to refer to that object’s permutations in the society, will be high. The English have a great fascination with dogs. They therefore have a large collection of terms that refer to dogs. Specifically, the terms refer to the different breeds of dogs. These include Cocker Spaniel, Foxhound, Mastiff, Setter, Springer Spaniel, Water Spaniel, White Terrier, English Bulldog, Staffordshire Terrier, German Shepherd, Basset hound, Beagle, Bearded Collie, Bloodhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback and many many others.

It was the linguist, Franz Boas who first noted that the Eskimos have multiple words that refer to snow, a matter that has been a subject of much debate in linguistics circle. For the Batswana, for many years nothing has been definitive of the social life as kgomo (a generic term for cow. In this column we use the term cow, not to identify a female beast, but we use it generically to refer to all cattle, male and female). Kgomo has defined a man. A man with many cattle has been defined as smart, intelligent, wise, influential and rich. A man without cattle has been a perfect symbol of poverty. This is because with cattle a man can feed his family. He can get milk from his cows for tea, for drinking, for making logala, also known as sekholo, nthiane, sengana and lephintshatshwene. The milk can be used for madila (sour milk) that can be added to bogobe before or after cooking. Lobebe (the thick milk crust that forms on top of boiled milk) was eaten or applied on the face of girls and women for personal beautification. The importance of milk amongst the Tswana has led to a variety of expressions that relate to milk. Amongst these are kgwa mashi, kgomo ya mashi, mashi a kgomo ke tswa thobeng ke le phepa, selabe se tla le motsayakgamelo. Milk that has just gone bad, is known as mageri. A cow that is a source of milk is called legangwa or leradu. Go lala digobo is when a cow goes a day without being milked, or skips a day without feeding its young. A cow that produces much milk is called segamo while the one that produces little is called motete. Lephusa is a cow that has been producing much milk but now has started producing little because it recently fell pregnant. If a cow cannot become pregnant it is known as moreba or setwatwa.

The significance of kgomo can also be seen in the terms that are used to refer to the different types of dikgomo amongst the Batswana. Kgongwana is a term that means a smaller cow, usually slightly older than a calf, which in Setswana is lexicalized as namane. There are also terms that refer to a calf. If a pregnant cow dies before giving birth, the dead calf found inside it is known as mohungwana/mohumana. Its meat is usually cooked and fed to toothless old men and women! A calf that was born recently is called lebotlana. An older calf that is fit, healthy and beautiful to behold, is called lesole. Some call it lesolemotlhabana. Moalolelo is a calf that has been separated from its mother, especially to allow its mother to mate with bulls. In terms of size, there are cows that are mature but not fully developed to be called cows, bulls or heifers. At this size, they are called meroba (pl); moroba (sng). An un-castrated male adult cow is a poo (a bull). A castrated male cow is called a pelesa. A pelesa was used in the past as a beast of burden. E ne e belesa dithoto. During travel, it would be loaded with all manner goods on its back. Pelesa was also used during the ploughing season to pull a plough. If a bull was castrated as an adult it was called tshikela. Tshikela therefore refers to a poo that has been castrated in its adult life. In the past Batswana used to ride male castrated cattle just like horses. Such a cow was called lekaba. It is from this cow that the idiom mogwe lekaba ga a tsofale has been derived. If a cow has no horns we say e chochwa.

During a wedding ceremony cattle that function a variety of roles are lexicalized differently. The cattle that are given as bride-price to the family of the bride are called bogadi. After the delivery of bogadi in some Setswana cultures, such as the Bangwaketse, there is an adult cow that is given to the family of the groom by the family of the bride. Such a cow is given alive, e perepetshega. It is known as perepetsha. I have only scratched the surface on the different names that cattle can receive because of the function they perform in the various Tswana cultures. There are also numerous idioms and proverbs which have been derived from kgomo which I give below for evidence without comment. If you wish to know what they mean, consult a good Setswana dictionary like the one I wrote: “Tlhalosi ya Medi ya Setswana”. Nnete ga e jelwe kgomo, lentswe la maabanyane ga le tlhabe kgomo, kgomo mogobeng e wetswa ke namane; lebitla la kgomo ke molomo; mmatla kgomo kolomela o etse mhata sediba; kgomo ga nke e ntsha boloko jotlhe; kgomo ga e nke e tlhaba mong wa yone; kgomo ga e latswe namane e se ya yone; kgomo ga e imelwe ke dinaka e le tsa yone; ka e tlhoka ka tlhoka boroko ka nna le yone ka nna ka bo tlhoka; mokoduwe go tsoswa o o itsosang; kgomo go tlhabana tsa lesaka le le lengwe; makuku a naka tsa kgomo; mashi a kgomo ke tswa thobeng ke le phepa, selabe se tla le motsayakgamelo; mmala wa kgomo o gola namaneng; go baya motho mabele a kgomo; go opa kgomo lonaka; go bopa kgomo ya mmopa; phitlhela kgomo ya serotswana; go se na kgomo ya boroko; go jela motho kgomo; kgomo ya lefisa re e gama re lebile tsela; Kgomo e tshwarwa ka dinaka, motho o tshwarwa ka mafoko; kgomo e e mashi ga e itsale; mosima o duleng kgomo ga o thijwe ka bobi; mahube a naka tsa kgomo; Go jela motho kgomo; Go ema kgomo mogoja; Go se na kgomo ya boroko; Itaya kgomo lonaka; (Dithoto) di ja kgomo le namane; Kgomo e e mashi ga e itsale; Kgomo e tsentse tlhako kgamelong; Kgomo e tsewa ka namane; kgomo e tsoga ka tlhogo; kgomo ga e imelwe ke dinaka e le tsa yone; kgomo mogala tshwara ka thata e se re o utlwa sebodu wa kgaoga; mahube a naka tsa kgomo; makuku a naka tsa kgomo; mabele a kgomo; mmala wa kgomo o gola namaneng; poo go bewa ya kgomo, ya motho e a ipaya; se beetswe kgomo se retetse; tlogatloga e tloga gale, modisa wa kgomo o bolola nayo; ga le ke le feta kgomo le tlhaba motho

Tales of peace and conflict

April 29, 2015

The field of linguistics is broad. None can study all of its areas sufficiently. Advanced linguistics study demands that individuals specialise in specific areas. There are those who study the sounds used by languages of the world. We call them phoneticians. There are those who study the structure of words. We call them morphologists. There are those who study the structure of clauses, phrases and sentences. We call them syntacticians (from the word syntax). Those who concern themselves with linguistic meaning are known as semanticists. We must quickly acknowledge that the study of meaning is itself vast. There are linguists who concern themselves with sentence meaning, that is, how different sentences relate to each other. Such linguists look at sentence relations such as contradiction (e.g. I killed a man but he is alive) and tautology (e.g. I saw him with my two eyes. Obviously! We never see others using borrowed eyes!). There are those who deal with word meanings and how they relate to each other. Such individuals deal with matters of meaning similarity known as synonymy as well as meaning opposites known as antonymy. There are also those who study how context or society contributes to our understanding of meaning. They argue that language is a social product and it is better understood within specific social contexts. For instance, Setswana has unique colour patterns and terms which are unique to it. We know that both blue and green are represented by the form tala, the same form that we use to mean raw. We also know that Setswana has a unique and rich animal colour terminology. Technically we say such terms have been lexicalized, by that we mean that a single word refers to a concept. For instance phatshwa refers to the concept: “black and white in male animals”. English lacks a similar colour complexity. This unique quality of language linked to a specific culture is known in linguistics as a Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. It is a fanciful way of saying language is linked to its context. In other words language reflects elements of its culture and therefore words gain better meaning within a specific culture and period. Below we look at the word kagiso and how it is formed in Setswana. The central argument in this regard is that Batswana look at peace not as a state but rather as a continuous process that is continuously being built. We gain all this by looking at the formation of the Setswana word kagiso. Let us start with how kagiso is put together.

The Setswana word “kagiso” means “peace”. It is formed from the root: aga which means to build, to construct or to put together. The suffix “-isa” is then attached to the verb “aga” to form “agisa”.
aga + -isa = agisa. “Agisa”
means “to help someone build”. To change agisa to a noun we add the noun maker suffix [-o] to derive a noun. We therefore have: agisa + -o = *agiso (We here use the asterisk * to show that a word is not acceptable or doesn’t exist in Setswana.) Unfortunately [*agiso] is not acceptable or doesn’t exist in Setswana. This is because in Setswana when you form a noun from a verb that starts with a vowel you always insert a [k] at the beginning. For instance:

aba + -o = *abo > k + abo = kabo
aga + -o = *ago > k + ago = kago
ara + -o = *aro > k + aro = karo

To return to our unacceptable verb “*agiso”, the argument is therefore that it follows the same pattern as the above verbs. “*agiso” therefore takes a [k] at the beginning to form “kagiso”. The whole process appears as follows:

Aga + isa = agisa + -o = agiso > [k] + agiso = kagiso

That is the technical morphological formation of “kagiso”. Semantically it is clear that the Tswana believe that peace is something that is built with the help of others. In the language it is called “go letlanya” (from the verb “letla” meaning to allow/permit) to bring peace between two or more people. Amongst the Batswana, therefore no one builds peace by themselves. Peace in the Tswana philosophical thinking is negotiated. It is a matter of give and take: trasliterationally “I allow/permit you” and “you allow/permit me”: Re a letlana. Peace is also seen as a continuous process; and not a state or a once off thing. Peace like a building is built or constructed. It takes time. Like a building sadly peace can be destroyed and razed to the group. Let’s pause there with our discussion of the term kagiso and consider its opposite: kgotlhang meaning conflict.

The word kgotlhang is derived from the verb: go gotlha (and not the verb kgotlha which means to poke, as one might expect) which means to rub against, to file down, to scratch, to scrape off. Through a linguistic process of strengthening the noun kgotlhang is derived from gotlha. Conceptually when there is conflict the Batswana see this as the occurrence of a rubbing against each other between protagonists: batho ba a gotlhagotlhana. The idea behind this is that there is not just an encroachment into each other’s space since that is not seen as a source of conflict. Instead, a conflict is when one doesn’t just encroach into individual space, but proceeds to clash with the occupants of such a space; to rub against them, to cause friction. This results with a clash against each other which causes friction. Friction is unpleasant. It leads to fires. It leads to a burning and a peeling off. This tells us something else. It tells us that the Batswana value individual space since it signifies peace and serenity. They value coexistence within such a space and not a clash. One must be left alone and not be harassed: a tlogelwe. An understanding of where words come from gives us a better glimpse at the mental processes that birthed them such that an understanding of peace and conflict is laid bare before our eyes.

As the statues come tumbling down

April 10, 2015

Read the rest of this entry »

Has our government turned into a bunch of satanists?

March 25, 2015

What is the problem? What has got us so worried that we wish to create a law that restricts the registration of new churches? What could be wrong with the preaching of the gospel? What is wrong with the ceaseless much of the gospel of Jesus Christ? As a country, we have never really had problems with churches previously. So why now? Our education and health developments have benefitted tremendously from church establishing themselves amongst our people. Churches opened schools and hospitals and reached our communities with mental light of both spiritual and physical health. The churches have always shown mercy to the brokenhearted, the poor and the despised. Our dikgosi, from Khama, the great, to Bathoen I, all embraced the life changing message of the cross. At the bottom of the Bangwaketse crocodile are those words of total surrender: Let their will be done. Ours is a nation established on God. Actually our very national anthem perceives this nation in its totality as a gift from God, an inheritance from our forefathers: Fatshe leno la rona ke mpho ya Modimo; ke boswa jwa borraetsho. God has for many years been at the centre of our society that almost every formal government activity begins with prayer. Prayer to God has been at the centre of our school life and family life. Individually we have grown in families that pray & some of us have lived lives where prayer was at the centre of our families and communities. So what really is the problem? Has our government turned into a bunch of satanists who want to make it difficult to worship at the feet of Jesus in this land which is a gift from God? Is the problem really the mushrooming of churches around us? I am inclined to think not. If a church is such an excellent institution which has attended to the soul, spirit and physical life of the society, why would anybody wish to make it difficult for a church to open its doors in Botswana? Why? We have had the mushrooming of bars across the country and we have never really been so animated to create laws that restrict the acquisition of a license to open alcohol joints. We have been a fairly liberal societies which has accorded space to all faiths, including those that we despise.

But we must also be sincere. The problem is really not the mushrooming of churches. The problem is the mushrooming of what appears to be churches led by con-men and women who come through the church, either aiming to acquire Botswana citizenship using the church as a cover or coming through the church to swindle unsuspecting citizens who are sometimes sick and impoverished. Heelang banna, batho ba re direla bosigo ka kobo! The stories are many. Con-men with pointed shoes and shiny three-piece suits distorting Christian doctrine and manipulating God’s people to give that which they cannot afford have come amongst us like a legion of demons. Most of these men don’t build churches and schools. They don’t provide education and health facilities. They are passers-by. They rent halls or meet in tents in residential areas. Their churches cause unbearable noise pollution to neighbourhoods at awkward hours of the night. Families under pressure from economic downfall of the past few years have been moved by the eloquence and charisma of these men to sell their houses and cars to support these men who mainly preach wealth for themselves: The man of God cannot be poor they say. It is the responsibility of the flock to take care of the shepherd! They have their theology on its head. Money is therefore poured into these churches…really into the bank accounts of these swindlers with a sweet tongue. They convince families to sell their cars and houses or give them to the church as a sign of commitment to God. They are sowed as a seed, they say. The teaching is that the more you give, the more you will receive. It has a semblance of truth. Giving to God then becomes increasingly like motshelo. Those who believe in this kind of doctrine sadly neglect their families and plunge the entire family into unimaginable debt and poverty. Family lives are strained, while the pastor becomes richer and flashier and more arrogant and flamboyant. Those who try to question this twisted scenario in the church there is a swift and decisive response: Touch ye not my anointed: and do no evil to my prophets. Put differently: the man of God, the moruti, the prophet, is beyond reproach and question. So unlike churches of the past which were changing communities through preaching, teaching, feeding the hungry, building hospitals and schools, taking care of widows, the modern offending churches take care of the leader. They feed him and clothe him. They put him on a pedestal. The leader takes on the father figure. He is called daddy, papa, or father regardless of how old he is. Members of the church become children, his children, the de facto sons and daughters, not just of God but of the church leader himself. The churches promise healing; they promise miracles, quick wealth; A child of God isn’t supposed to be poor. How can he be when the Father owns the entire world with its gold and silver? If you are poor it is your fault; it is a sign of lack of faith. Just tap on Jesus! Give more! If you give more and you don’t receive more, it is still your fault. You lack faith. Have faith in God and you will see his wonders! Guilt kicks in, inadequacy seeps in.

This is the kind of exploitation and manipulation that has worried many in government. They wonder: How can we fold our arms and watch when our people are exploited in this way? I understand government’s frustration and yet I disagree with the government’s proposed law. Increasing the number of members required for a church to register fails to address the real problem: how to deal with churches/ministries which swindle their followers. The problem does not arise from ease of registration. Most of these churches which swindle their followers pull fairly large crowds within a short time, while many of the good churches don’t. This means that many good small local churches will increasingly find it impossible to get established. The second problem is that the law is unfairly targeting churches, something which is grossly unconstitutional. What about other establishments, and characters such as healers and medicine men who swindle many of our people? What are we doing with them? Sadly in a democracy we must accept that we have to allow space for the existence  of religious persuasions with which we disagree to coexist with those that we approve of. We cannot be like those dikgosi of old who used to chase out of their villages people and churches they disagreed with strongly. The state cannot legislate what theology is right for its citizens. So the question: Has our government turned into a bunch of satanists? must be answered with a resounding NO. My opinion is that the government is just ill-advised.

What is wrong with killing and eating your neighbour? The pitfalls of subjective morality

March 24, 2015

Our society marches forth under a plethora of cultural influences from elsewhere. Some of the influences come from our powerful neighbour South Africa, while others in the past, flowed from the north, from Zimbabwe. With the advent of the internet and television, our influences now come from all directions. They come from the west and the east; they come from the south and the north. They come unfiltered and unregulated. Many of the influences are good for us; many are bad. They enrich our worldview and aid us in the resolution of challenges that face our society everyday. Others challenge our preconceived worldview and lead us along a previously unimaginable path. They force us to reconsider, to relook at and re-question our previously-held views. One of the influences which has begun to gain some currency in our cities and towns is subjective morality, also known as moral relativity. It is a matter of philosophical discussion and one cannot do it much justice in the space of a matter of a column. However simply put, one’s point of view or beliefs have no absolute truth or validity. They are only subjective or relative, reflecting an individual’s perception and life’s consideration. For instance, having sex before marriage is considered morally wrong to someone who holds a certain moral view. Such a view may be influenced by a specific culture or a religion. Subjective relativity argues that this view on sex before is not absolute truth – it is just somebody’s opinion. One may find some society somewhere where sex before marriage is perfectly acceptable.

Subjective morality therefore argues that something that is wrong to you may be right to somebody else. Most importantly you should not attempt to force your subjective morality on other people.  Let your beliefs be yours, be subjective, be private. Don’t try and force them on others. This philosophical worldview appears attractive until you realize that subjective morality is contradictory and unworkable. The police, the courts and the military work largely with absolutes. Those absolutes may be clearly spelt out in a constitution or specific statutes. Such documents define moral parameters under the influence of a certain worldview. Therefore we know that killing and eating a neighbor is wrong because it violates certain absolutes such as the sacredness of human life and the sanctity of the human body. We cannot leave such matters to moral relativity. It would be most perverse to have someone say: “Keep your morality to yourself, killing and eating a neighbor may be wrong to you but it is morally acceptable to me, so I am entitled to kill and eat my neighbor.” There is clear danger in moral subjectivity. If morality were purely subjective, then absolutely nothing would stop anybody from being a morally subjective moralist and shoot a neighbor in the forehead and cook him in garlic source. Indeed the 20th century was the bloodiest as many bought into moral relativity. We killed more people in the 20th century than the 19 put together. We lock the doors in the night, set the house alarms on because we are afraid of a moral relativist who though knowing what hurt his criminality may bring to his victims, still proceeds with evil acts he perceives them as profitable to himself.

As Ravi Zacharias puts it, every worldview must address four essential life issues: origin, meaning, morality and destiny. And those who subscribe to philosophical absolutes hinge those absolutes on a specific worldview. Absolutes don’t hang in mid air. They have to be grounded on a certain worldview. Every absolute is based on a worldview.  Some, like the philosopher, Kant, see human reason as the source for moral parameters while Christians would take Christ and his teachings as a source of moral code and moral parameters.  

As a society we need to accept some absolutes. We need something that will help us guide our children along the right path. We cannot raise our children, run a government, lead successful families on “it depends” regardless of how sophisticated such a statement may appear. Clean politics are done with accepting certain absolutes as foundation. The electorates deserve truth and sincerity and cannot be engaged on continuous relativity. When dealing with matters of poverty and poverty reduction, we must accept certain absolutes about poverty and how destructive it is to families and the society. However, if we reduce such matters to relativity, it affords us room to avoid dealing justly with humanity. In grappling with the questions of prostitution, pedophilia and sex slavery we must deal with the sanctity of human life and that of the human body. Can such matters be left to subjective morality? Our courts and the police system cannot be run on the basis of subjective morality. It would lead to chaos, confusion and a total collapse of the society as we know it. It is unthinkable for one to face a judge and confidently declare: “Well judge, my actions may appear bad to you, but they appear perfectly fine with me!” With subjective morality we will fail to deal with social ills sufficiently. We are left powerless. In a society where everything is relative, where morality is dismissed as an individual matter, the society will consistently remain helpless and unable to address the moral depravity that confronts it. We will consistently end at the unhelpful end of the rope: it is an individual choice. Certainly killing and eating a neighbor cannot be dismissed as a matter of personal choice.


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