Building a Common Life

It is almost, if not absolutely, impossible for people who view each other with deep suspicion concerning morality to build a common life. And this is completely rational. A difference in moral orientation means that the normal trust in a community that members will not harm each other is not present. Not only physical harm, but intellectual harm. When there is disagreement about how to live morally with each other, children will be morally confused. As intellectual and moral habits form, these children will either act in ways that some approve and others disapprove, or else their confusion will lead to chaotic moral habits that destroy any chance that the community will continue unharmed.  To avoid this, parents may choose to isolate them from opposing moral standards (and thus isolate them from their neighbors.) But unless they live in a community agreed on morality, these children will not benefit from the natural and good diversity of perspective on practical and prudential matters that comes from living in a community of people with different talents and occupations. Instead of either self isolation or a live and let live attitude which hides the deep divides in our communities, we must meet this moral division head on and seek to convince each other to reject the immoral and live together in unity. It does us no good to hide the seething repressed disagreements that occasionally surface on social media behind the thin facade of “basic community goods” which renders our cities essentially shared utilities rather than places for a shared life.