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What is the Meaning of Moral Fiber and Its Role in Our Lives?

Renuka Savant May 12, 2019
The idiom 'moral fiber' is drawn from the concept of morality, which in turn, is based on the principles of righteousness. Unfortunately, conflicts tend to arise when we actually begin to question the righteousness that makes up our moral fiber.
"So far, about morals, We know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."
― Ernest Hemingway
Morality is subjective as subjective can be, and there are no two ways about it. Now, the standard definition of moral fiber goes something like this:

Moral fiber is the capacity to discern right from wrong, and picking the right option regardless of the circumstance or consequence.
Thus, when we speak of this attribute, we're automatically alluding to righteousness―the need to take the "right" decision, particularly in the face of adversity. Things may, however, take a turn for the ugly when we begin to fight over who gets to separate the right from the wrong.

Understanding the Meaning of Moral Fiber

In its most basic sense, moral fiber is all about making the right choice after taking into consideration the 'greater good'. We have, over the course of human civilization, awarded certain traits and qualities to be associated with morality. Some of these include:

> Kindness
> Empathy
> Refusal to cause intentional harm
Thus, while making a moral choice, a person ensures that:

1. His decision will positively affect the situation (a show of kindness).
2. He has made a thorough evaluation of the impact of his decision on others, and not just himself (empathizing with others).
3. His actions do not unfairly target anyone (refusing to deliberately cause trouble).
It is amply clear that taking a morally appropriate decision calls for sound judgment. Now, it is apparent that the decision-making process requires us to apply our analytical skills to weigh the options, in order to separate the right from wrong.
There are factors that influence this analysis, ranging from our upbringing, beliefs, cultural background and mindset, to more sublime things like our intuition or even the voice of reason lying within us. It is at this juncture that things begin to get a tad murkier. Every individual brings his own baggage to the table while making a moral choice.
However, another person may bring an entirely different perspective to view the same issue, and thus, come to a decision that is radically different. This conflict is mirrored in contemporary American society, which is sharply divided, with the Liberals on one side and the Conservatives on the other.

Moral Fiber and Conservatism

Traditionally, American conservative values were centered on Christian beliefs and teachings. These values upheld traditional family setups, where religion played a significant role in shaping up mindsets and lifestyle choices.
Liberal values, on the other hand, sought to break away from rigid religious confines and turned to concepts of freedom and equality to help them fight moral issues which plagued them. Their ideals took shape from the belief that freedom is for everyone, and religion need not always influence the action. The current situation must be evaluated on its merit.
In conclusion, we're pressed to believe that while the definition of moral fiber remains intact, it is the concept of righteousness that is extremely subjective. Therefore, what may seem perfectly moral to one can certainly outrage another.