Moral relativism is the view that moral or ethical statements, which vary from person to person, are all equally valid and no one’s opinion of “right and wrong” is really better than any other. Moral relativism is a broader, more personally applied form of other types of relativistic thinking, such as cultural relativism. These are all based on the idea that there is no ultimate standard of good or evil, so every judgment about right and wrong is purely a product of a person’s preferences and environment. There is no ultimate standard of morality, according to moral relativism, and no statement or position can be considered absolutely “right or wrong,” “best or worst.”

We hear a lot about the failings of our education system with students ignorant of geography, western moral tradition and truths, philosophy, objective truths in history and science and basically discarding thousands of years of moral history and progress. How can morality be taught if we disagree on its foundations? The Barna Research Group recently polled American public high school students and discovered 70 percent of those students believed there is no such thing as "absolute truth" — that truth is relative to each individual. According to postmodernism, “truth” is a political construct. Facts might exist, but they have no objective meaning or significance until they are interpreted according to a pre-existing political or individual paradigm.

We have failed our students by not continuing the classical educational construct of traditional western culture applied in this country since the 17th century. Western classical education has three phases: primary teaches students how to learn, secondary teaches human knowledge and tertiary prepares for a profession. Western philosophy used to be taught which provided students a guide for a good life with its basic tenants of what do we know and how do we know it (metaphysics), how to conduct ourselves (ethics/virtue) and how to govern ourselves.

Virtue is the foundation of a free society capable of vigorously exercising the kind of self-governance that our Founding Fathers expected of us. Without virtue, we turn to government for cradle to grave care and become buried alive under mountains of tedious rules, mandates and regulations at all levels of government.

Moral evil is the common root of both sin and suffering and is either directly or indirectly to make someone else suffer. Retribution justifies suffering as deserved because it is the punishment for some individual or collective sin, known or unknown.

To lie is to disrespect others by undermining their interest in the truth. Coercion and deception are the most fundamental forms of wrongdoing to others — the roots of all evil, according to Kant. At its root, lying is intentional dishonesty, deliberately trying to make a person believe something that is not true. Many lies are false statements, but half-truths, distortions, concealment, insincerity, exaggerations and baseless assertions intended to deceive or mislead are also lies equally damaging to trust, Michael Josephson says.

The progressive movement with its political correctness, radical environmentalism, race, class and gender identity politics has not won over most Americans and must be based on deceit. Without ruse, there can be no progressive project, and as was true in the past, any illogical and unappealing ideology can be depicted in the trash heap of history littered with failed systems of socialism, communism and fascism.

The common thread to all of this is based on lies.

Jim Hansen is a retired mechanical engineer.