Gibt es moralischen Fortschritt?

MELBOURNE – Nach einem Jahrhundert, in dem wir zwei Weltkriege, den Nazi-Holocaust, Stalins Gulag, die Killing Fields von Kambodscha und in jüngerer Zeit die Gräuel in Ruanda und jetzt in Darfur miterlebt haben, ist es schwierig geworden, den Glauben an einen moralischen Fortschritt der Menschheit zu verteidigen. Dennoch müssen bei dieser Frage mehr als nur extreme Fälle des moralischen Verfalls berücksichtigt werden.

In diesem Jahr jährt sich die Einführung der Allgemeinen Erklärung der Menschenrechte durch die Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen zum 60. Mal. Als Reaktion auf die Verbrechen des Zweiten Weltkriegs wollte die Erklärung das Prinzip einführen, dass alle Menschen, ungeachtet von Rasse, Hautfarbe, Geschlecht, Religion oder Status, dieselben Grundrechte besitzen. Daher können wir den moralischen Fortschritt vielleicht daran messen, in welchem Maße es uns gelungen ist, Rassismus und Sexismus zu bekämpfen.

Es ist keine leichte Aufgabe, das Ausmaß zu bewerten, in dem Rassismus und Sexismus tatsächlich zurückgedrängt wurden. Immerhin geben einige neuere Umfragen von indirekt Aufschluss über diese Frage.

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