Outside the moral context

In You Talkin’ To Me?, Sam Leith observes that absence of rhetoric is itself a rhetorical strategy. For example, a politician who claims honesty, who champion his or her authenticity, is manipulating citizens in the same way as the politician who alludes to authority and breadth of experience as the reason they should be elected. A similar thing happens when debating and demonstrating moral and ethical stances. Consider this passage from Stephen Erikson’s Midnight Tides:

“But in this case, the proof of a god’s power lies not in the cause but the effect. Accordingly, in this world and in all others, proof is achieved by action, and therefore all action — including the act of choosing inaction — is inherently moral. No deed stands outside the moral context.”

It is impossible to exempt ourselves from the games of morality that humanity plays with such relentlessness. To play is to participate; to refuse to play is to participate too. Acts of commission and acts of omission are both acts. Both influence the process, and thus the outcome. No deed—and no non-deed—stands outside the moral context.