It’s the morality, stupid!

In my last post, I laid out some criteria I have for my own beliefs. I want to call out one of those today.

I mentioned that beliefs have to be morally sound. Though I mentioned this one last, I think it’s of primary importance, especially for the Progressive Movement.

In the worlds of politics and economics, there are plenty of policy ideas and prescriptions. And individuals and organizations all have their interests, the specific things they want or want to get done for their own reasons.

But none of those things addresses what should get done: what is the morally justifiable way to behave, policy to put in place, or interest to hold?

Tough questions, of course, but to my mind, as the Progressive Movement takes shape, these questions should be at the root of the enterprise.

This is not some flaccid call to appeal to so-called “values” voters. This is not a pitch by a political operative that members of the Progressive Movement need to figure out ways to speak to “people of faith”.

It is, one, a recognition that all healthy, mature human beings strive to act in accordance with what they see as morally right and, two, that having something morally justified can be a huge motivator to act.

Some of this work is already being done. There is a recognition in the Progressive Movement that it needs a compelling story – a simple tale it tells about the world that puts people, institutions, and policies in a cohesive, compelling, and morally satisfying whole.

This is important work that must continue. I just want to make the point that the hardest and most important work needs to be on making the moral case.

What is it about the Progressive Movement that distinguishes it from the Conservative Movement? And why does that matter? What’s at stake? What does the Progressive Movement’s moral case say about it and the people that support it? And in turn, what does it say about the people who identify themselves with the Conservative Movement?

As you might guess, I have some answers to these questions. I’ll lay our some preliminary thoughts tomorrow. For now, I just want to get across that I think we who identify with the Progressive Movement and liberalism need to start thinking about morals and get busy articulating what those are.


Regarding my post about populism the other day, more proof that it’s populism that’s the real problem for many right-wing organizations and writers.

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