Tracey fell head over heels in love, married the violent criminal on his release and brought him home to live with her 8-year-old daughter. The married couple were very happy together.
Until they had an argument one night, just three months after their marriage. Simon Downer shoved aside his stepdaughter, stabbed his new wife fatally in the heart telling her "that's what happens if you push it with me".
Most women would not have married the thug. Even so, there has been a spate of reports in recent times of women, sometimes quite respectable professional women, choosing to have relationships with violent criminals.
One thing this tells us is that the ruling idea of human nature in Western societies is mistaken. John Kekes describes this ruling idea as follows:
The view of human nature at the core of the liberal faith is thus that human beings are by their nature free, equal, rational, and morally good.
If you accept this view of human nature as adequate, then you will think it not only possible but desirable to leave each individual to arrive at their own moral view. The ideal will be a society of free, equal and morally elevated individuals, untouched by any external restraints on their choices.
But the liberal view of human nature hasn't brought us closer to a society of independent, high-minded gentlemen and women who freely, and therefore most virtuously, choose to discipline their lives to some morally elevated purpose.
Look what happens, for instance, when the "no rules" principle is applied to women like Tracey Downer. Her sexuality is liberated from the influence of traditional morals, which then unleashes a destructive attraction to violent, dangerous men. The result is disastrous.
The problem is that we are not equal in our natures. Not everyone has the same level of moral conscience, prudence and self-discipline. Nor are we entirely rational in our natures. We are moved too by passions and loves, which for both better and worse define the human experience in important ways.
Liberals worry that if a society sets a moral standard, or if we are influenced by the culture we live in to be good, that we are acting like automatons, and losing the virtue of freely choosing the good. A liberal wants to feel morally elevated because of his own autonomous character.
I think this fear is mistaken. There will always be the possibility of acting badly, no matter how great the influence of society. Our moral free will to choose for the better or the worse will always be there. All that a society can do is to bolster the voice of moral conscience and encourage prudence.
Second, it can be argued that it's the liberal view which undercuts the need for character and moral will. After all, if people are naturally and equally good, then doing the good will come easily. It's only if you think that human nature is fallen, with each individual struggling to follow the better part of his nature, that our acts of goodness become achievements of character.