Alee vs. The Moralizer

right-wrong-saint-devilThe Moralizer is that hard to avoid, ever-present personality which tries to instruct others on the “right” and “wrong” ways of being, doing, and thinking. The Moralizer considers their particular way of living to be the most virtuous, correct, and/or successful, and will often offer their advice, whether asked to or not.

Thoughts of the Moralizer might conjure up images of church leaders or political extremists, but not all Moralizers are so forward. Some prefer to command others through close relationships, where they use condescension, manipulation, and often attempt to instill a sense of shame in others to get them to change their ways. This is not always conscious on their part, but the Moralizer is one personality I find peculiarly difficult to tolerate, for a few reasons:

Right and Wrong are Relative

While there are a few things that are considered universally morally right or wrong, most of what we each view as right or wrong is informed by our biases, experiences and individual lifestyles. Thus no one person’s views could or should serve as the template by which all others should live by. In addition, what may be considered wrong in one context or situation may be considered right in another time or place.

Moralizing Can Be Imposing

Moralizing can often become a subtle form of imposing on the right and freedom of others to simply be, and in extreme forms can be downright bullying. With less outgoing Moralizers this tendency may not be so obvious, but victims of their moralizing may feel a strong sense of being intruded on. Some would say the Moralizer is more interested in converting others’ to their viewpoint than in trying to help them.

No One is Perfect

While Moralizers consider the thoughts and actions of others to be in serious need of adjustment, Moralizers rarely scrutinize their own lives and behavior in the same manner. Often their own way of living does not hold up to the high standards they set for others. Since the best way to live is merely an opinion, someone may view the Moralizer’s lifestyle as flawed and in need of change.

Have you ever encountered a Moralizer? What do you think of moralizing and a fixed idea of right and wrong, in general?
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20 thoughts on “Alee vs. The Moralizer

  1. I’ve only really come across people like this in my misguided teens when I thought attending church was a fun thing. I used to go to a Friday evening youth sermon and many of the other teens loved to cast judgement on others and tell them how to live their lives but apparently theirs lives/behaviour was immune to scrutiny. This was one of the many reasons why I ultimately stopped going to church (besides the fact I never really believed in God anyways) as the hypocrisy was so blatant.

    I must say I do feel a bit of schadenfreude when very vocal moralizers are caught doing the very thing they blast others for. It quiets them really quickly.

  2. In some circumstances the moralizer might actually be right. Imagine an anti slavery moralizer living before slavery was considered an absolute moral wrong. Such a person would fall under your category of an annoying and misguided moralizer (during his times). In hindsight, we would now consider this person to have had a very valid point of view and his moralizing would now be considered justified.

    Is it not reasonable to suppose that in these times there are people who you would consider annoying moralizers but who are justified in their moralizing?

    Was Martin Luther King a moralizer? Was Jesus a moralizer? Does being passionate about gay rights classify a person as an annoying moralizer? What about a gun control advocate? Your condemnation of Moralizers is too broad.

  3. Tend to find that moralizers don’t get on with each other. Because they are full of themselves and not prepared to listen.

  4. *shrugs* Well maybe there would be a better world without any morals or restrictions.

    It is not bad Alee to expect people to act right, proper and have at least a little bit moral decency which I find many lack. Particularly in the western world were all kinds of behaviour is encouraged.

  5. Sorry Nko, what do you mean with: Particularly in the western world were all kinds of behaviour is encouraged
    That’s so freaking hypocritical. Africans practice gang rape of girls and women. Where’s the outrage/morals?.
    I normally adore your comments, as I agree mostly and admire you tremendously for your stance, but here in the Western world, we at least have laws that protect the “weak”. Certainly not perfect, but enormously more than one can say for the continent of Africa.

  6. Excuse me while I curse: I fucking know such a bitch. Moraliser. I dislike her hypocritical morals, INTENSELY. She has made a lot of my years(I’m rather naive and Caribbean) in Switzerland dramatic. Especially when she became religious. She wanted to end her life, though she’s got all the trappings of what women supposedly want: marriage to a really really hot guy(but looks are all he has!. Ok, he’s a good snowboarder too), a child, career. Still didn’t make the bitch happy. She needed to spout her venom, which I tried my best to ignore(understand). Finally, 2yrs ago, I let it rip. Told the cow, she needs to “live and let live”. Noone was exempt from her moral compass and it got sooooo tiring. Haven’t heard from her since. THANK YOU, universe!. I’m healing and moving the blazes on!!!.

  7. I realized that people who fall into that category (perhaps I’m speaking from my own personal experience with being a Moralizer or a Fundie Christian) is for some odd reason there’s this need to build this wall of superiority. Most of the time it’s a false sense of superiority. Also there’s this need to view the world in purely black and white terms. After awhile I came to realize that when you’re constantly pushing your morals on others it doesn’t stem from wanting to protect them, it doesn’t come from a place of love or even a sense of concern. An example of this would be how some social conservatives condemn single mothers by labeling them as irresponsible sluts, without taking any time to understand their circumstances. Just comes from wanting to feel superior.

    As far as encountering moralizers, yes it seems they’re mostly concerned with other people’s behavior instead of their own. To make it so bad is those behaviors usually have no impact on their lives whatsoever. Not to mention that in my experience these moralizers have a lot of skeletons in their closets.

  8. Nissim,

    Please don’t misunderstand. The kind of personality I am talking about moralizes more in the realm of lifestyle and behavior. There are some universal morals and The Golden Rule is one of them. Slavery and discrimination are in violation of it.


    Nkosazana,

    But what is right or proper? For instance, a Moralizer I know would consider the previous discussion/post improper because sex shouldn’t be discussed in public. According to her.

  9. Foosrock! I do agree with your underlying point, but I want to point out that much of the instability in Africa is due to some of the actions of the West towards Africa. Now, of course, it is not a zero-sum game. Some of what the West has done in Africa over the past few hundred years has likely had some benefits, but overall I would have to say that one of the reasons that Africa lags so far behind many other parts of the world in many categories is because of European colonization and American neo-colonization.

  10. Very true, Froggie and I totally agree. Have you read Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo. Totally enlightening.

    Alee thanks for not deleting my post with all the expletives. I try my darnest not to call any woman a bitch, but this one I ranted about and her clique of religious bitches who tried to marginalise me, deserve the word. The high fallutin embeciles.

  11. I agree that moralizing can become obnoxious. I call it the P.C. police. It’s best just to take a break from a person whose behavior and beliefs rub you the wrong way. Thanks for this. Very interesting.

  12. RenKiss,

    I completely agree with your entire comment!

    “I realized that people who fall into that category…is for some odd reason there’s this need to build this wall of superiority. Most of the time it’s a false sense of superiority. Also there’s this need to view the world in purely black and white terms.”

    I agree. It’s a sort of intolerance of others’ views and ways of being. It’s like having someone live or believe differently than they do personally disturbs them.

    foosrock, it’s okay, there’s nothing abominable about a well-placed curse word. 😉

  13. Foosrock! I can agree. Giving aid with a primary focus towards food won’t help much in the end. Africa needs trend towards an insufficient infrastructure and also a lack of stability. Food and proper nutrition is of course important, but it will do little to solve the problems.

    As far as moralizers go I think the best thing for people to do is to show the “proper way” to live as opposed to telling others how to live. Show rather than tell your morals.

  14. Through the years, your blog articles find a way to put into words people behaviors I would have never figured out how to define. They have helped me to understand and grow up. Thank you for that.

  15. This is sooooooooooooo true! I call this “unsolicited advice…” These people often give feedback that is based on THEIR STUFF and displace it is if they are relay trying to help others. My feedback is that “it’s only helpful if its helpful…” Hence if what you are saying IS NOT helping the other person, then it’s not helpful and they need to back off. Thanks for validating these concerns 🙂

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