clarity and compasses

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Sara Robinson's AlterNet piece on right-wing claims of "moral clarity" observes that "conservatives live in a world of paranoia, xenophobia and seething aggression that most progressives can't even fathom:"

And their entire moral universe has been twisted to serve their externalized fears; to take that will to project their own demons onto someone else and then destroy them and elevate it as the highest possible moral good.

It's a definition of "morality" that renders the rule of law meaningless but readily justifies genocide and torture as moral acts of self-preservation.

Robinson references Peter Scoblic's US vs. Them, noting that "Throughout the book, Scoblic traces the roots of this recurring phrase - 'moral clarity' -- and discusses the very specific and narrowly defined meaning it has to conservatives. [...] If you've ever marveled at the depths of conservative moral self-righteousness, now you know the deep well from which it springs." Fortunately, criticizing conservatism's brand of morality does not nullify the entire concept. Robinson writes of the need to "challenge this horrific definition of "moral clarity" and overwrite it with one of our own:"

The next time a conservative starts talking about "moral clarity," let's not just stand there scratching our fuzzy liberal heads. It's not a joke, and not a piece of idle cant. Their use of the phrase to is a fundamental challenge to our entire view of society and government and to everything we value.

We need to call them out on this murderous and hateful "morality" and challenge them to reconcile it with the values of Enlightenment humanism. The conservatives have cherished this belief for nearly 60 years, but it has no place in the 21st century. It should have died when the Berlin Wall fell. Now that we understand what they're really saying, let's show some true "moral clarity" and bury this toxic idea for good.

A moral compass that's welded into place may still appear to be functioning if its owner stands motionless; it will not, however, be of much utility in real-world situations.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on January 30, 2009 2:37 PM.

stimulating facts was the previous entry in this blog.

science and democracy is the next entry in this blog.

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