Where Do We Go From Here?
While it is unlikely that we will stop using the current political system in order to try and create and maintain a common moral conception and the unlikelihood that the populations of our current society will decrease, Aristotle should still remain an important thinker for today.
Aristotle demonstrates the importance of sharing a common moral conception and discusses the benefits that we receive out of that. MacIntyre notes the difference between Aristotle’s time period and ours in that our current society does not use a moral language that is consistent throughout all situations. Instead, we offer our own evaluative judgments on various situations, asserting them as moral judgments. But if MacIntyre is right to claim that the current political system is structured in a way that prevents a common moral language to be used, then the situation does not seem promising, at least from a moral standpoint.
As mentioned before, Aristotle shows that education ought to be a task that is charged to the polis, but what does that mean for us? Recall that Aristotle charges the polis with the task of educating children, specifically the ruler. Since it is the ruler’s job to educate the children, it would make sense to have various places (schools) for children to attend and to learn the same subjects. Therefore it can be inferred that Aristotle would be in favor of the public school system.
However, our schools today are certainly not the same. We have various kinds of schools, such as private, religious, public, home-schooling, etc. These institutions certainly differ from a moral aspect, and it is even more probable to assume that they too engage in the emotivism that MacIntyre proposed. We cannot eradicate the school systems completely and only have public schools, at least from an American society standpoint. It would be too costly and many of the richer families would likely rebel because they want the best they can afford for their children.
Even regarding these factors, is it possible to find a common ground among these varying institutions? In order to do so, we must ask ourselves the following question: whose responsibility is it to teach morals to the kids – is it the primary caretakers, or is it the public school system? If it is the parents, then we might as well retain our status quo and try to determine another path to pursue. But if society as a whole believes that our educators are capable of teaching morals to children (and parents can do whatever they want at home), then we need to reconsider how we can approach this matter on a nationwide scale. But is it not true that teachers already teach their students some conception of morality?
Children’s literature is certainly filled with all types of moral stories. Teachers often instruct their students to be respectful, to be kind, the famous doggerel “treat others the way you want to be treated,” and other associated ideas. If we want to begin to resolve some of the bigger polemical issues such as the moral states of abortion, euthanasia, gun control, illicit drugs, etc., then we need to begin brainstorming ideas about how to teach everyone a consistent moral language.