Morality must be fostered, otherwise it does not develop enough

Millions of refugees, terror-states, call for violence and hate against foreigners in election campaigns, politicians with secrete accounts for tax evasion in Panama, managers who manipulate exhaust values, government which imprison independent journalists, religious regimes which punish dissenters, people who steal, deceive and hurt others ….

Findings of moral psychology show that violence, deceit and power signal a scarcity of moral-democratic competence. Many people apparently do not possess sufficient competence for solving the problems and conflicts which they face in an adequate, civil way.

The question should not be: What is the real cause of this scarcity — whether media,  parents, capitalism, religion, or whatever could be blamed?  Because the answer to this question doesn’t get us anywhere, besides nourishing ‘blame-games.’

The question should rather be: How can we counter this scarcity? How can we foster moral-democratic competence effectively and sustainably? We know today,

  • that all people have moral ideals, they want to be good,
  • that, in order to put these ideals to practice people have to develop moral-democratic competence,
  • that, indeed, this competence can be fostered effectively and sustainably,
  • and that it must be fostered, because today for most adolescents there are not enough natural learning opportunities anymore in order to stimulate their development of moral-democratic competence.

The only possibility for fostering this competence is in our system of education, because this is the only agency which we can  compel to create proper oppotunities for moral learning. Ultimately we pay it.

More reading:
Lind: “How to Teach Morality” (Berlin, Logos), 2016, in prep.

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