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What do empire, the born again, and the politically correct have in common? Is patriotism a good thing? Did General Patraeus betray us, or did MoveOn? Does morality often serve immoral purposes?
This book offers a new way to approach these questions, which lie just beneath our increasingly poisoned political conversation today. Derber and Magrass show that the problem today is not just lying but “immoral morality,” doing evil in the name of good. Both Republican and Democratic presidents, they show, have been immoral moralists.
The authors explore three ancient codes of immoral morality frighteningly resurrected in America today —those of empire, the politically correct, and the born again. The British preached the White Man’s Burden to show empire was a moral obligation. Bush today proclaims that the U.S. must occupy Iraq to spread liberty. Although the right today has recrafted historic arguments that empires bring peace, and fundamentalists battle moral decay, the authors show that the Democratic Party and the left have their own IM, with Democrats supporting empire and the left its own political correctness.
America’s political divide today is a backlash to the progressive revolution of the 1960s and 1970s—secular, antiwar, and feminist—that created a radical break from traditional values and set the stage for current morality wars. In the spirit of de Tocqueville, this powerful book offers a rich and vivid portrait of America’s political landscape, exploring ideas that can help move the nation to a new morality and politics.