Here’s a generalization of my last post.  Let X be any behavior in conflict with common-sense morality: lying, stealing, adultery, drunkenness, murder, etc.  Then two pressing questions about X are: “Is X prevalent in our society?” and “Is X morally acceptable?”

Responses to these two questions yield the following four-fold typology.


Is X Morally Acceptable?

Is X Prevalent in Our Society?












1. The Apologist admits that X is prevalent, but rejects the common-sense condemnation of X.

2. The Puritan embraces the common-sense condemnation of X, and laments that X is prevalent.

3. The Antinomian rejects the common-sense condemnation of X, and laments is X is not prevalent.

4. The Naif accepts the common-sense condemnation of X, but denies that X is prevalent.

Most societies tirelessly push the Naif position; it’s part and parcel of Social Desirability Bias.  But thoughtful people eventually notice that it contradicts basic facts about human behavior.  At this point, they can either dismiss common-sense morality and become Apologists, or judge mankind and become Puritans.  All the while, a small fringe of Antinomians stick with Naif view that common-sense morality governs human behavior, yet reject this morality with contempt. 

The fundamental chasm between me and Tyler is that he’s an Apologist, and I’m a Puritan.  To the Naif, we’re both hopeless cynics.  But Tyler’s a “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” cynic, and I’m a “Who needs ’em?” cynic.