Was Martin Luther daft to nail his Ninety-Five Theses on the Door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517? Was Rosa Parks daft for refusing to surrender her seat in the Montgomery, Alabama, bus on 1 December 1955? More currently, is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi daft for being faithful to Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence despite the open oppression and corruption of the generals lording over Burma? Do we need a Norway gunman type shooting rampage before the white horses and their
Morality may be a hard concept to grasp, but it can be quickly acquired. A kindergarten pupil will learn it's improper to eat in the classroom, because the teacher said so. If the rule is lifted and eating is approved, he will happily much to his heart's content. But if the same teacher says it's okay to shove another pupil off a queue, a moral child will hesitate. Some kids will actually shove to get their way and won't feel particularly bad about it - unless he gets caught. See how easy to go down the slippery slope? It is said the deepest foundation on which morality is built is the phenomenon of empathy, the ability to co-experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions, or feelings of another without them being communicated directly by the hurt party. A lack of empathy is manifested by a poor sense of communication that fails to understand the perspective of the audience. The phony Tans, father and son, have a lot to learn.
Even if one is equipped with an iota of moral programming, the software has to be booted up before moral behavior is in action. One powerful community tool for enforcing group morals is the practice of shunning. O.J. Simpson may have thought he got away with murder with his dream team of highly paid lawyers, but society turned its back on him, denying him work, expelling him from his country club, refusing him service in a restaurant. "Human beings were small, defenseless and vulnerable to predators," wrote Babara J.Kings, biological anthropologist at College of William and Mary and author of the book Evolving God. "Avoiding banishment would be important to us." What we don't want is a reprise of the Seng Han Thong incident; paint thinner is a petroleum based product that costs money and attracts GST.