Frank Furedi is a commentator, author and sociologist whose recent work explores the nature of authority and mistrust. He is a leading voice in discussions of fear, risk and the unknown.
Contemporary society is more comfortable with values in the plural than with a value that everyone can embrace. Instead of “the truth”, society prefers to lecture about truths. The celebration of non-judgmentalism and difference can be interpreted as a self-conscious attempt to avoid having to make moral judgments. On most issues we are free to pick and choose our beliefs and affiliations. Educators continually inform university students – especially in the social sciences and humanities – that there is no such thing as a wrong or right answer. Instead of an explicit moral code, Western society seeks to police behaviour through a diffuse rhetoric – such as appropriate and inappropriate behaviour – that avoids confronting fundamental existential questions.
Paradoxically, the absence of moral clarity encourages an illiberal climate of intolerant behaviour.… Read the rest