„Cultures are relative; morality is absolute. Cultures, as Michael Walzer has argued, are “thick”; they prescribe institutions and behavior patterns to guide humans in the paths which are right in a particular society. Above, beyond, and growing out of this maximalist morality, however, is a “thin” minimalist morality that embodies “reiterated features of particular thick or maximal moralities.”“

—  Samuel P. Huntington, Context: Does the vacuousness of Western universalism and the reality of global cultural diversity lead inevitably and irrevocably to moral and cultural relativism? If universalism legitimates imperialism, does relativism legitimate repression? Once again, the answer to these questions is yes and no. Cultures are relative; morality is absolute. Cultures, as Michael Walzer has argued, are “thick”; they prescribe institutions and behavior patterns to guide humans in the paths which are right in a particular society. Above, beyond, and growing out of this maximalist morality, however, is a “thin” minimalist morality that embodies “reiterated features of particular thick or maximal moralities.” Minimal moral concepts of truth and justice are found in all thick moralities and cannot be divorced from them. There are also minimal moral “negative injunctions, most likely, rules against murder, deceit, torture, oppression, and tyranny.” What people have in common is “more the sense of a common enemy [or evil] than the commitment to a common culture.” Human society is “universal because it is human, particular because it is a society.” At times we march with others; mostly we march alone. Yet a “thin” minimal morality does derive from the common human condition, and “universal dispositions” are found in all cultures. Instead of promoting the supposedly universal features of one civilization, the requisites for cultural coexistence demand a search for what is common to most civilizations. In a multicivilizational world, the constructive course is to renounce universalism, accept diversity, and seek commonalities. Ch. 12 : The West, Civilizations, and Civilization, § 2 : The Commonalities Of Civilization, p. 319
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—  Robert A. Heinlein American science fiction author 1907 - 1988
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„By believing we are the product of random acts, we eliminate morality and the basis of ethical behavior. For if there is no such thing as moral authority, you can do anything you want. You make everything relative, and there’s no reason for any of our higher values.“

—  Ben Carson 17th and current United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; American neurosurgeon 1951
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„I think if we study the primates, we notice that a lot of these things that we value in ourselves, such as human morality, have a connection with primate behavior.“

—  Jane Goodall British primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist 1934
Context: I think if we study the primates, we notice that a lot of these things that we value in ourselves, such as human morality, have a connection with primate behavior. This completely changes the perspective, if you start thinking that actually we tap into our biological resources to become moral beings. That gives a completely different view of ourselves than this nasty selfish-gene type view that has been promoted for the last 25 years. Frans de Waal, in a NOVA interview, " The Bonobo in All of Us" PBS (1 January 2007) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/bonobo-all-us.html; quotes from this interview were for some time misplaced on this page, which probably generated similar misattributions elsewhere, and the misplacement was not discovered until after this quotation had been selected for Quote of the Day, as a quote of Goodall. Corrections were subsequently made here, during the day the quote was posted as QOTD.

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