Traditionally, conservatives have focused on issues of private morality and liberals have focused on issues of public morality. But over the last few decades the Left has become overly secularized, rationalistic, corporatized in its conversation. We will argue things on an economic basis but have acted as though words like “morality” are almost beneath us. In fact, not all moral issues are relative and some things are simply right or wrong. At the very least, the debate over moral issues is worthy.
Now, policies that strike at the heart of the moral core of our nation are confronting us, and we need to reclaim the moral argument in order to challenge them most effectively. Mass incarceration, for instance, is not unwise only because it is an absurd waste of money. Mass incarceration is unwise because it is WRONG. It is evil. It morally diminishes who we are as a nation.
Similarly, the issue of torture is not about “whether or not it works;” the problem with torture is that it is simply WRONG. And we can go down the list. Economic justice is a moral issue. Environmental sustainability is a moral issue. Immigration is a moral issue. For decades we have bought into the evil lie that if something appears to make economic sense, or appears to be effective in terms of sheer brute force, then somehow it should be seen as our highest good. But in fact, such arguments are often reflective of our basest instincts. And anything that tears at the moral fabric of our nation will in fact weaken us, not strengthen us. It is in God and God only that we are strong, and God is Love. The line “God shall not be mocked” means that He will not be. It is the sheerest form of arrogance to think we will not reap what we sow, as a nation as well as as individuals. And each of us has a part to play in proclaiming a higher good.