Where does O’Toole get his morality?


Irish Times journalist Fintan O’Toole complains that Donald Trump “determines to be true … whatever suits him at the moment.” And it would be “real news” if his people “actually told the truth.”

O’Toole assumes that telling the truth is a good thing. He has smuggled into his attack on Trump a moral teaching he learnt as a Catholic child. He now wants to impose it on others.

But as a liberal he dodges a lot of questions. Is telling the truth, for example, really a good thing? What makes it good? Why should others submit to his moral view, especially if it will cost them?

By attacking others, liberals like O’Toole can avoid such questions and they are rarely challenged, mainly because so many in the media share the same groupthink. Attack is their best form of defence. It distracts them from the muddle and despair at the core of their view of life. But it’s a game for losers.

The real issue here is objective morality, the idea that behaviour is good or evil irrespective of what Trump or anyone else may think.

Does the journalist believe in objective morality or not, and if he does, where does it come from?

This raises a deeper issue – the basis for human dignity. He needs to face that one too.

When US blogger Leah Libresco, then an atheist student at Yale University, set out to defend objective morality it eventually led her to the Catholic Church. O’Toole, in his quest for moral clarity, might check out Libresco’s story.