It isn't fair!
Q⁄A on Human Sexuality for Teenagers

John Ooi Peng Lee
Master of Engineering, University of Singapore
Master in Education, University of Manchester
Reproduced with permission.


Question 8:

Does true freedom really mean doing what is right? I have friends who say that different people are entitled to their own opinions of correct behaviour, and that there is no right or wrong in any situation.

Answer 8:

Have you ever complained to anyone, "It isn't fair!"? Would you agree that your complaint would have been based on the idea of justice, and of right and wrong? After all, if there is no right and wrong, any action however unfair would have been "correct", acceptable and hence justifiable. Might would be right, and whoever is most powerful would have the "right" to do what he likes. Would you like to live with or work under such a person?

It is not possible, of course, to prove (or disprove) in a mathematical way that there is right or wrong. Nevertheless, we can see the consequences when individual opinions about correct behaviour are allowed to replace principles of decent human conduct and clear standards of right behaviour. For instance, in some societies nowadays, it is no longer accepted that the act of sexual intercourse should take place only within marriage between husband and wife, or that no one should deliberately take the life of an innocent human being. The consequences for many individuals have been poor relationships and broken marriages, damaged physical and psychological health, and messed- up lives. For society as a whole, the consequences have been increased incidences of divorce, single-parent families, sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia.

As mentioned in Q 1.2, clarifying your set of values and sense of right and wrong is a developmental task of adolescence. Learning to live a principled life is part of maturation, and this will help you not only to form good, long-lasting relationships but also to contribute to the stability and betterment of the society in which you live.