Thursday, December 17, 2009

Moralism v. Morality

Deneen, in a letter commenting on another's post decrying "greed" in the bankers.

...this reinvigoration of moral language comes without an accompanying code that translates judgment into action. What we are seeing is moralism without morality: we are hearing the remnant of moral language without a comprehensive moral system, particularly one that can confidently demand and expect changes in behavior, particularly efforts to restrict or limit behavior that is deemed sinful or vicious. The discomfort with the implications attending the use of moral language is revealed at the conclusion of Katherine Marshall's post, which emphasizes the difficulty of arriving at a solution to the problem of greed, and offers "complexity" rather than the rather simple conclusion that the behavior of greed requires the exercise of and inculcation in virtue.

...The Left's rediscovery of moral language marks a sea change from its more recent ways of speaking, derived from its dominant philosophical stances of the past forty years or so, when much of the language of the Left became either riven with technocratic dispassion (think Michael Dukakis) or relativistic non-judgmentalism (think "multiculturalism").

And let's not bring up abortion...

This comes back to G K Chesterton's aphorism that "When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws."

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