This is a followup to a previous question that suggests that skepticism leads inevitably to moral relativism. In this question, I'd like to look further down the slippery slope and think of the children! This argument is probably false, but I'd like to know where we ought to halt the slide: at what point does one step not lead to the next.
Two points to keep in mind before we start:
I have in mind Metaethical Moral Relativism, which I think most likely to be taught in schools. Descriptive relativism is not so interesting since it doesn't say how we ought to make ethical decisions and it's not clear how normative relativism is supposed to work.
I'm focusing on children and education because people who learn moral relativism after being exposed to some previous foundation for making ethical decisions are not handicapped in the way I describe. To put it another way, if it were possible to achieve a society in which only moral relativism is known, there will be no basis in that society for making ethical decisions.
Here are the steps:
Children are taught that different cultures have different values and that no one culture (even our own) has any higher claim to knowing right from wrong. Right and wrong must be made in the context of a particular system of belief.
Similarly, children are taught to not hold as true (in an absolute sense) any particular system of belief in addition to moral relativism. This includes systems they learn from other parts of society and at home. This is an important consequence of step one since different people bring different moral systems to the school and none can be elevated to absolute.
Students learn that different spheres of society have different moral systems. In school, the principal and teachers make the rules. At home, the parents make the rules. If they have contact with the court system or a religious system or economic system, they learn that each has its own set of moral principles that are unique and relative to their own contexts.
Therefore it is possible to manipulate the moral principles one is subject to by occupying particular spheres of society. It might be as simple as joining a religious organization that has a particularly commodious set of principles or it might be as complicated as establishing an organization formed around the desired moral system. (It seems that at least part of the driving force of forming street gangs is the ability to create a society with rules that fit the desires of its members.)
From there, it's an easy step to discover that the smallest sphere of society is the individual. If we can control our own moral code by moving from one sphere to another, there's no particular objection to creating an individual moral code. And there's no reason our moral code ought to conform to any other standard. After all, no code has any claim to truth outside of it's context and we are able to create our individual context from scratch.
Therefore every individual may do anything they want within their own moral system and no valid criticism may be lodged against them. Students of moral relativism are therefore immune to moral judgments and unable to make them.
I don't think Aristotle would have consented to even the first step. In Nicomachean Ethics, he asserts that having good moral training is a prerequisite for understanding ethics:
This is why in order to be a competent student of the Right and Just, and in short of the topics of Politics in general, the pupil is bound to have been well-trained in his habits. For the starting-point or first principle is the fact that a thing is so; if this be satisfactorily ascertained, there will be no need also to know the reason why it is so. And the man of good moral training knows first principles already, or can easily acquire them. As for the person who neither knows nor can learn, let him hear the words of Hesiod:
“Best is the man who can himself advise;
He too is good who hearkens to the wise;
But who, himself being witless, will not heed
Another's wisdom, is a fool indeed.