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dedhed Donating Member (353 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:33 AM
Original message
What is "moral clarity?"
So I'm driving home the other night, listening to Sean Hannity's daily scare-fest... what can I say? It amuses me... like watching a dog eat its own crap amuses me.

Some poor slob calls into Sean's show because he has a problem with Sean's broad disdain for Liberals, even though some of the young troops in Iraq probably fall into that category. This just gave Sean yet another reason to launch into his "Top 10 Reason Why Liberals Aren't Fit To Run The Country" routine. The #1 reason is...

"Liberals lack moral clarity."

So I'm just curious... does anyone know what the hell that means? Moral clarity. In Hannity's little world, does that mean that Liberals don't know the difference between right and wrong? Does he think that right and wrong are so clearly defined that its a no-brain issue? Is the right thing to do that which your morals tell you to do? Does just the very fact that I'm wondering mean that I don't have moral clarity?

I'm looking for a Conservative definition. Maybe some of you know Conservatives who have explained what their idea of "moral clarity" is? Or can provide a link to an article?

Whatever it is, I just know that if Hannity has it... then I most definitely don't.

:bounce:
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
1. Pretty words for confusion...
There is nothing moral or clear about the present Republican Party.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:37 AM
Response to Original message
2. get his butt into my home and i will teach him moral
clarity. the fool, doesnt have a clue. what is it god says about fools
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
3. To Sean it appears very complicated
Like most Republicans, he really isn't smart enough to understand why invading Iraq was morally wrong.
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rocktivity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:40 AM
Response to Original message
4. It was a pre-invasion Repub talking point
Edited on Thu May-06-04 09:45 AM by rocknation
"Moral clarity" is the way Karl Rove ordered the media to describe Bush's refusal to listen to any advice he got against invading Iraq. In the real world, it translates into "egotisical self-destructive stubborness." My response was that two-year-olds left sitting alone at the dinner table because they won't eat their spinach have moral clarity, too.

:headbang:
rocknation
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:40 AM
Response to Original message
5. EVERYTHING is either black or white.
There are no gray areas, no room for compromise.
Yer either with us or a terrist.
Yer either with us or agin us.
That's what "moral clarity" means to me.
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:41 AM
Response to Original message
6. It means to Republicans
that one doesn't do due diligence in making grave decisions. They are always right, so there can't be negative consequences. Read your cult handbook.
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not systems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:42 AM
Response to Original message
7. Moral clarity mean killing people without wondering if it is wrong.
Edited on Thu May-06-04 09:58 AM by ezmojason
Liberals always wonder if actions taken are justified
this is fuzzy moral relativism.

Conservatives know that God guides their trigger finger
and each death is just the will of god.

Moral clarity is shared by Bush and many serial killers.

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ProfessorGAC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:42 AM
Response to Original message
8. It Means We Decide After Reviewing The Data
The opposite of neoconservatism, which requires a position to be taken, unwaveringly, without regard for facts that refute, or data that supports that position.

Rather than call it pigheadedness, or an inability to think critically, they call it "moral clarity", because they are just so sure they're right.

The Professor
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salinen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:45 AM
Response to Original message
9. I think the reason why
these hatespew fuckwads link OBL, Hussein, and Hitler, with Liberals, is that they say we kill babies. They see no difference between Liberals and Terrorists.
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11 Bravo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:48 AM
Response to Original message
10. The absolute certainty that one is right.
It generally is confined to zealots and cretins. Sound like anyone we know?
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
11. I've always had fun asking fundies
...to define their "moral clarity," or their "family values." After all, since they're so superior, they should be more than willing to help the rest of us who lack these things, right?

Usually I'm met with stunned silence and a blank stare, as they realize they really don't know what those words mean, that they've just accepted that they have them and we don't.

There have been a few who have stammered and stuttered a bit, and they've taught me that these things mean:

A man is next to god, and women and children are his property, to be discarded at will when he wants a new model, with absolutely no responsibility on his part (or the state's) to any of them.

Women should all be full time housekeepers and mothers and should never think of leaving their families to work for pay. They should also be prepared to support their children on a second's notice when the man leaves, so that his new family isn't financially burdened.

Morality is limited to matters of sex, and tab A into slot B sex is to be rigidly enforced......but only for those "other" people. All fertilized ova are tiny perfect male human beings who compose symphonies in their heads in utero. Women who drink or smoke or otherwise can't control their habits during pregnancy need to be jailed to protect the holy fetus.

Daycare is the work of Satan, and so are public schools. Women should educate their children within the home. This responsibility doesn't end when the man leaves, nor does the added responsibility of finding a way to feed these kids intrude. One can only assume that the kids are to be safely stored in the closet while Mom goes out to work at night (no word on when she's supposed to sleep).

These folks really believe this stuff, and we've seen the result when they try to live it, women crack under the strain and murder their kids. If they listened to the devil threatening the kids, they go to jail; if they've listened to god telling them to kill the kids, they go to a loony bin.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
12. Its code speak for Dogmatic Moral Authority
Basically its the core of the culture war we are currently embroiled in. One the one side are those that want moral clarity. Black and white, Good and Evil, Right and Wrong. On the other side are those that recognise that in a diverse society (let alone the world itself) you cannot force one interpretation of morality on people.
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Finch Donating Member (487 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #12
18. But dont you realise
That such a position is its self evidence that you are absolutely morally certain that a particular approach is totally correct and (I hate to say this) unwilling to hear someone make an argument that perhaps the extremes in this cultural war are both wrong and that there could perhaps be a centre ground based upon both tolerance and responsibility in equal measure as I would suggest
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. That would be the path formed
By the consensus of those within the society. Certainly not an absolutely right definition of morality. But an effective working model formed from the efforts and positions of those in the society.

Moral relativism does not mean no responsibilities. It does take into consideration the needs of structure within a society. It just allows multiple input on the matter. While moral authority proclaims itself the definitive source of all morality and any that oppose it are by definition evil.

The extreme opposite of Dogmatic Moral Authority would be total anarchy down to an including no protections of individuals from harm. Moral Relativism is not anarchy. It is a means of balancing the cutlural values within the society and forming a consensus. It is recognition that we may not be able to define an absolute moral certainty but we can struggle to derive one to the best of our ability.
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Finch Donating Member (487 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. I agree totally ...in principle...
...but i have a feeling we would disagree on our interpretation of moral relegates...

I think that both the religious right and the socially liberal left have a right to advocate their views HOWEVER I think neither should be endorsed by law as I passionately believe that there is a balance between, what might be thought of by some as traditional, ideas of responsibility and restraint and the values of tolerance and acceptance

IMHO the embracing of either Laze-fair (sorry about the spelling) Social Liberalism or Conservative Moral Authoritarianism would result in imposing one sides views upon the other three quarters or the American population instead I believe that there is a sensible middle ground between the two

I will confess that I have very very little time for the crap Farwell and Robertson come up with that said I would not deny them the right to say what they say but I know very many people who could be considered to have traditional moral views and these people are fairly representative of most Americans neither side imho should seek disparage these viewsthose on the right are suspicious of these people because many of these ordinary Americans see no problem with homosexuality (a bit stand offish perhaps but no real problem with it) or a person being free to believe or not and many on the left are suspicious of these people because they do not generally agree with abortion and they often regularly attend church or synagogue or mosque and have a definite idea of right and wrong often based on their religious faith this is the problem, neither side reflects the views of this majority of Americans and for either to asset its values as totally correct leaves the majority of Americans to have their own values degraded, values which I by and large share
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. Life as we know it
Life is not designed to be legislated. Life is messy. Our government is simply the best we can manage with the natures we have. Our society is comprised of an entire range of individuals each with their own particular place in the arena. Not all are on the same page. Not all embrace the same ways of even numbering the pages.

The end result of this morass is a cobbled together, hopefully improving, set of legal and social rules. As we move forward we discover new implications of our growing awareness. We discern old issues in new light and see them for the travesty they may be. But not all arrive on that level at the same time. Some reject these new ideas and cling to old ways. Others rush ahead and attempt to assert their new found awareness on others. In the end it is a balancing act.

The nature of this progress would be steady if a bit stressfull for some. But into this mix comes a seperate entity that requires a fixed modus of moral authority. There are institutions that only survive to this day based on a complex collection of claims including one proclaiming itself to be the source of morality. A changing society is a threat to this entity. And it has survived for 1000s of years and become very good at surviving over that time. Thus it pits those who are embedded in its doctrine against the changing nature of society. And here in America it is fighting a desperate battle to remain viable in a world that is increasingly abandoning it or simply ignoring it.
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Finch Donating Member (487 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. I must disagree...
Extreme positions imho are very rarely the right positions...

Neither the right nor the left as far as social issues go are totally correct...

I think we will have to disagree.

I will restate that I believe passionately that their is a middle ground where we can end these divisive arguments that have, to run to risk of sounding clichd, torn our nation apart... a society based upon both tolerance and personal responsibility is imho the best solution that man can hope to reach...



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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #23
26. I don't think you are understanding the nature of the sides
On the left you have the group that is trying to cobble together a comporomise of positions. It takes tolerance and understanding and works to form a continually improving understanding of morality in our society. It has some concepts which are relatively stable (ie murder=bad) but on more complex issues it steps back.

On the other side you have a group that believes the only way possible is to do it their way. No compromise. They own the book. They set the morals. End of story.

I am not sure where you are getting the impression that the left is somehow the mirror opposite of the right. Its even a problem for the left that they try to incorporate the righs ideas within itself. They invite them in. They just want all to have a voice in this society and struggle to enable that.

There will be individuals on the left that fail to recognise that some may not see things the way they do. But this does not indicate that the entirety of the left is of this position.

The call for moral clarity from the right is simply code proclaiming tolerance of others positions is unecissary. It is call for intolerance. This is a blind spot within moral relativism. It becomes conflicted when dealing with intolerance. It wishes to promote tolerance but when faced with a cultural position supporting intolerance it finds its tools useless in condemning their position.
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Finch Donating Member (487 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. ...I don't think you get my piont...
Those on the left say basically make every thing permissible (in effect) and every life style is equally acceptable and right no single or range of lifestyles is superior to another...

...but dont you see that this approach is in of its self intolerance towards those who do believe that some restraint should be exercised by the individual

I find the picture you paint of the left inaccurate, of the two yeah I find the left by and large more tolerant, but many on the left are just as dogmatic as some on the right in believing that they have the monopoly on righteousness in the argument over social issues. By arguing that there are no moral absolutes you create a great amount of morally grey territory and demean (inadvertently no doubt) the views of a great many people who do believe that (by way of example) monogamous relationships based on love and respect be they gay or straight are preferable to relationships based on a purely physical attraction and conducted in a short term way. The argument can be expanded to say abortion nono I wont get on to that.it will be counter productive ;-)

But do you see how both the extreme of saying that there is ONE WAY TO LIVE and the opposite extreme of saying EVERY WAY OF LIVING IS PERMISSABLE are both flawed views there is imho a balance between the two embracing the idea of the responsibility of the individual towards themselves and others and tolerance for other views and life styles
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. I did address this
There are those on the left that expect everyone to be on the same page as they are. They expect everyone to see the world as they see it. This is not true of the entirety of the left.

Furhtermore not everything is on the table. Canibalism may be permissible in some cultures but it certainly does not pass muster within our society. The lefts case is not one of whatever is in your culture is permissible in this culture. There are some lessons we have learned over time and we apply these to the rules of our society. In particular whenever one's actions would harm another we step in. When a child is endangered we will look closer. Its not black and white. And that is what makes us a target to those that believe it is black and white.
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Finch Donating Member (487 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. I respect your argument and the clarity with which you have made it...
...but what if i where to refer to "When a child is endangered we will look closer." in the case of an unborn child in the womb?

...Now i am moderately pro-life and however you dress it up can you justify an abortion of a healthy fetus outside of the first termester?

I think generally we agree on the broad issues... however i think we differ radically on the detail... I think there are life styles that are preferable and i think that there is behavior which is not prefereable... and thats me... what separates me from conservatives on social issues is that i believe that there are many life styles (gay or straight, married or unmarried) which are worthy of respect and toleration however i think that there are limitations on what is acceptable and on that i go further than most liberals would like and that is why i think we dissagree...
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. Of course we disagree
That is permissible. That is the entire reason for the lefts position. You are I represent differing positions within a diverse society. To use your fetus argument I would fully expect that our positions on it are divergent. Yes its problematic. Its complex. It was not arrainged for our conveinience. We must struggle to determine what is the best course. We must discuss and examine these things to try to discern what path we should take. What we cannot do is simply state "I am right, you are wrong, end of discussion".

It is simply part of the process that we disagree. But we do not live in stasis. We may never resolve our disagreements but we will change. And in changing the possibility for new insite presents itself. And this forms the basis of our dialog with each other and within society.

It is the numbing silence that arises from the discomfort of our disagreement that poses us the greatest threat. We can acknowledge that we disagree. We can respect that we disagree. But we cannot rest and simply let it be. This does not mean we resort to force. It does not mean we are bitter enemies. It merely means we live in the same world and must continue to struggle together to find a better way.

We are all born blind and screaming into this world. It is only by working with each other that we make any progress in this world.
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Finch Donating Member (487 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. Amen...
...this kind of good natured dialog is both insightful (i hope for us both not just me) and enjoyable... all in all a welcome break from what have to regularly become shouting matches...so thanks....

PS:"We are all born blind and screaming into this world. It is only by working with each other that we make any progress in this world. " - Realization of this self evident fact is what makes us Democrats
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Mandate My Ass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:57 AM
Response to Original message
13. My country right or wrong
It means the US is inherently and unquestionably good, right and virtuous and its enemies are evil and inferior.

If you possess moral clarity you don't need evidence of this evil or inferiority, you simply are sure you are right about this by virtue of where you were born.

THere are no shades of gray. Every issue is lumped into a black/white, good/evil divisions and any attempt to see the other side is at best weakness, at worst sympathizing with and supporting terrorism.

There is no accountability if you have moral clarity. Even if it turns out a country you bombed into a parking lot, killing thousands of civilians, had no WMDs or ties to Sept. 11th, you did the right thing because that country had an oppressive regime that did not value freedom and we have democracy and we do.

Oh, and having moral clarity means God is on your side no matter what you do or who you kill.

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Liberal Gramma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
14. It means everything is black and white
No shades of grey in moral decision-making, or at about the developmental age of 10 in ethics.
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Zero Gravitas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
15. simplemindedness
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Finch Donating Member (487 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
16. Of Course Liberals have Moral Clairity...

...anyone who has solid beliefs which they are sure of being absolutely rightmust have at least some form of moral clarity I would have thought and for me thats a problem as it polarizes debate in this country between two groups who are absolutely certain about being right

I would argue that moderates have a more detached form of moral certainty moderates of either party believe that the principles of either party are the right principles to lead their decisions in the case of Republican moderates these principles can be generalized as individualism (primarily in the economic sphere) while with Democratic moderates the emphasis is upon community and the fact that humanity owes responsibilities to more than just themselves however moderates do not follow these principles in a dogmatic or linear way as either liberals or conservatives would instead moderates apply their principles in a more modest less sweeping way taking into account all the other factors that incur upon the issue and usually influenced by their principles come to a decision on that issue moderates are, as a result, open to considering a position and coming to surprising and for many partisans on their side infuriating conclusions based upon the many factors they take into account


So Yes liberals, Conservatives and Moderates have moral certainty of varying degrees on some issues a person is likely to be absolutely immovable some on issues such as abortion or the invasion of Iraq or on some issues such as government spending and other less clearly ideological issues more people are open to considering the case on its merits rather than imposing a judgment based upon ideology so its relative for example Person A could be morally certain Abortion was right but could be open to discussion on an issue such as the federal deficit so it varies enormously but almost every one of any political stripe has moral certainty of some kind on at least one or two issuesand on both left and right this belief in ones own righteousness can be destructive and a real barrier to tackling the issue from a more impartial less polarized direction but that is the country we live in I guess
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Hamlette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
17. code speak for "not a born again Christian"
Bush II learned that some Americans, conservatives even, were freaked out by the likes of Fallwell and Pat Robertson running things so they deliberately set about to develop code speak that would sould neutral, reasonable even, to the average American.

Family values and moral clarity are two such terms. They mean "we don't kill babies" (abortion) "we are born again" and "we hate homosexuals because we fear they will steal our children and turn them into buggerers."
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
22. things become real clear and simple once you discover there is no morality

"Those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and that there is only one natural right, the right of the superior to rule over the inferior."

- Leo Strauss, spiritual father of the neocons aka neo-Reaganites, teacher of amongst others Paul Wolfowitz
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1amc Donating Member (31 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:20 AM
Response to Original message
24. Moral Clarity
The zionist view.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:23 AM
Response to Original message
25. "What is "moral clarity?""
It's something that by and large, Americans do NOT possess as long as they have "Survivor," FAUX News, Jiffy popcorn, Pisswasser(tm) beer, gas in the SUV, and "lesser beings" to look down on and accuse of being sub-human.

Forgive my anger, kids, and accept my disclaimer of "present company excluded." In my better than half century on this earth, I have NEVER been more durcheinander und wtend than I am today. To any monolinguist who cannot understand those words, I echo my dear recently-departed mother's demand... GO LOOK IT UP.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. You can always replace it with
Edited on Thu May-06-04 11:36 AM by Az
Sturm und drang. :)
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:18 PM
Response to Original message
31. moral clarity
consensual sex - bad, an impeachable offense
lying to get us into a war; invading, bombing, killing people - A-OK
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Finch Donating Member (487 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #31
34. Kick
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