Right On: Liberals’ descent from high moral ground

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OPINION – Classic military strategy dictates taking and holding the high ground. Many a battle has been won where this advice was followed.

For the last 50 years, liberals have seen themselves as holding the moral high ground. Their message and politics are based on what they see as fairness and compassion. But a thoughtful appraisal shows today’s liberals failing to recognize how far downhill they have descended as they embrace morally ambiguous causes.

This Wikimedia Commons photo dated Aug. 10, 1968, shows an anti-war march as Chicago was preparing to host the Democratic National Convention. | Flickr photo by David Wilson CC by 2.0, St. George News

The 1960s’ civil rights movement united a broad coalition on moral high ground to rid the country of its remaining racist institutions. During that same decade, opposition to the Vietnam War painted the country as militaristic in the minds of many.

Largely ignoring Democrats’ longstanding role representing the American worker, the party’s liberal wing used its civil rights credentials to find other faults with American society and institutions. As they did so, they saw themselves as ascending new moral heights. Others saw their new causes as unpatriotic, morally ambiguous and in some cases unconstitutional.

Anti-Americanism became a liberal badge of honor. The Founding Fathers were dismissed as racist. Mobs jeered and spit on troops returning from Vietnam. Rioters disrupted the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The far left glamorized and even aided communist insurrections and puppet regimes around the world. Remember Che Guevara and Ho Chi Minh T-shirts?

Focus on social issues attracted new political constituencies. Putting these groups into demographic bins, liberals began their moral descent by embracing now-discredited identity politics.

Political advantage likewise came from describing conservatism, focused on individual freedom, limited government and economic issues, as leading to oppression of minorities and the disadvantaged.

The left found no shortage of societal ills that needed its attention. Unsatisfied with equal opportunity, liberals insisted on equal outcomes. Anything less was prima facie evidence of discrimination and must be taxed and redistributed or ended by government civil rights action.

This irrational — and dare I say immoral — concept led to numerous court cases, affirmative action, the Equal Rights Amendment and legislative district gerrymandering to ensure minority majority representation.

The liberal message pricked the conscience of those in the white majority who could be made to feel guilty about American society. Most bore no personal guilt for discrimination but by supporting liberal causes, they felt they could help atone for the sins of others.

Liberalism became a personal identity rather than an ideology: “I am a moral and high-minded person because I support (fill in the blank here).” As philosophy professor David Schmidtz said, “If you’re trying to prove your heart is in the right place, it isn’t.”

The late ethics professor Jean Bethke Elshtain wrote, “Pity is about how deeply I can feel. And in order to feel this way, to experience the rush of my own pious reaction, I need victims the way an addict needs drugs.”

Searching for new victims to pity, liberals espoused white guilt, political correctness, the diversity cult, environmental orthodoxy and campus intolerance. They continued to see moral virtue in all these while stigmatizing those who didn’t as narrow-minded and bigoted.

Liberals are obsessed with imposing their ever evolving version of morality on those with differing but sincerely held moral standards, often based on religious principles. This obsession is clearly illustrated by their witch hunt for opponents of same sex marriage.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision, liberal media gleefully chased around the country to find a bigot who represented the backwardness of organized religion. The media descended (double entendre intended) on a young woman in Indiana who was happy to serve members of the LGBT community in her pizza restaurant but said she wouldn’t cater a same sex marriage. A “witch” had been hunted down! Her deviation from liberal orthodoxy, no matter how innocuous or reasonable, would not be tolerated.

Chik-fil-A’s CEO had the nerve to announce his opposition to same sex marriage. Sensing an opportunity to bolster their moral credentials, liberals announced a nationwide boycott with Boston’s mayor going so far as to suggest the company “get out of town.” But the boycott instead resulted in a surge of business for the fast food chain, its best day in history. Where did all these moral deplorables come from and how could they not see the liberal light shining brightly from the moral high ground?

Four thousand people were shot in Chicago in 2016. Struggling to find moral high ground amid this minority disaster, Chicago’s mayor announced the city will be a sanctuary city for illegal aliens. Liberals feel good about championing illegals that violate existing law. But how is Chicago’s minority community served by the mayor’s endorsement of lawlessness?

To me, the liberal fight for transgender restrooms says it all, a fitting epitaph for their moral self-righteousness.

Liberals have squandered the moral currency gained in the 1960s civil rights movement. They will continue to lose elections until they return to issues that resonate with a majority of Americans.

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: hsierer@stgeorgeutah.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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35 Comments

  • theone March 16, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Yo Howard my man, let us know when religion has reached a moral high in which society can live without discrimination, hate, oppression,
    misogyny, racism, fear mongering, etc, under it’s mandates.

    Oh wait, you’ll never be able to when it comes to religion and all it’s damaging ills on society.
    Liberals need to keep up the fight to stuff that religious genie back in the bottle so we don’t drown under
    it’s smothering grip.

    • comments March 16, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      This is why I’ll never understand why the far left is coddling moslems at this time. They attack xtians relentlessly, but the moslems get a free pass. Bewildering.

      • theone March 16, 2017 at 2:06 pm

        Not true, quit watching fox news. I belong to groups of atheist liberals from around the world, and they hate Islam just as much, but they aren’t clouded to think all Muslims are bad like you do. Grow up.

        • mesaman March 16, 2017 at 9:10 pm

          I’m wondering how you conjured the conclusion that comments was branding “all” moslems as bad. I’ve not read very much about non-militant moslems standing up against the terrorists. Perhaps you can learn something about growing up yourself.

          • desertgirl March 17, 2017 at 10:11 am

            mesa man,
            then is typical of the left; total lack of regard for anyone disagree with his opinions. Only answer they have is the world has always been wrong for having any faith, and any and all not an atheist lefty is ‘racist’. The brainwashing is complete for many like ‘theone’ sheep pure and simple. Arguing and discussing with sheep is like looking for sunshine at midnight. btw lol referring to it’s self as ‘theone’ kinda says it all. Have a good one mesa man and hope to communicate in the future.

          • theone March 17, 2017 at 10:45 am

            Since we live in the US it is why the christians are subject to ridicule.
            By being the dominant religion here and injecting its dogma through politics
            it deserves to be called out.

          • theone March 17, 2017 at 10:46 am

            Go back and read your comment to see how you branded all Muslims.

        • ladybugavenger March 17, 2017 at 11:36 pm

          Wait theone! Hold your horses! I was reading your comments. But I’m confused, help me out. Are you against hate unless you’re the one hating?

          • theone March 18, 2017 at 10:31 am

            Yup, you’re confused. Where did I hate? Islam is not a person so hating religion is not against a person, it’s against an idea.
            Atheism is not a religion, it’s nothing more than the rejection of a god. No no no no we are not all born with god in us, it’s a thing that man created, please don’t lump me in with your delusional dogma.

          • ladybugavenger March 19, 2017 at 9:10 am

            Get over yourself, you’re wrong.

          • ladybugavenger March 19, 2017 at 9:18 am

            At least you admitted it’s a rejection of God. That’s your choice to reject God and you’re not alone in that rejection, the world is full of people that reject God. It doesn’t make you right tho.

            Why would you have to reject something that you say doesn’t exist.

          • ladybugavenger March 19, 2017 at 10:49 am

            I’m not trying to convince of you anything theone, you have the choice to believe in God or to not believe in God, that’s what makes this whole life we live here so adventurous. God wouldn’t be a loving God if he didn’t give you a choice. You have the choice. But I don’t like you calling people that do believe in God, delusional. It’s just not nice theone.

            You can have your liberal atheism but you don’t need to attach mental disorders to people that don’t believe the same as you.

            Have a great day theone!

          • ladybugavenger March 19, 2017 at 11:49 am

            Millions of people lie to their kids about a fat man in a red suit flying through the air in a sleigh with flying reindeer delivering presents to all the children. And society finds this acceptable. That is a lie told by parents to children. My mom was liar, not just about Santa Claus either, she never acknowledged God, she said I had all kinds of mental disorders, she convinced others, and yet no doctor ever diagnosed me with a mental disorder. So you saying the same thing about me ain’t nothing new. I’ve heard it all my life and while taking care of on my mother that last 2 weeks of her life, she was on her death bed, and I was talking to her and loving her for the best weeks of my life, I asked her many times, I didn’t quit and I asked her one more time if she would renew her belief in Jesus, and she did, a week later she died.

            You can’t hurt me Theone, I’ve overcome too much pain and suffering for you to convince me or others that I believe in a fairy tale.

            God Bless you theone!

          • ladybugavenger March 19, 2017 at 12:06 pm

            My mom was on Prozac for 40 years and then Prozac and ability for many years. so dont talk to me about mental disorders. She was a liar, manipulator, did everything to hurt me and my kids emotionally and mentally (up until her death bed) I loved her and she finally let me love her (for 2 weeks) 2 weeks out of 46 years. Only God could do that! Only God can change a heart. Only God could give that to me!

            Blessings to you theone

          • ladybugavenger March 19, 2017 at 12:19 pm

            And theone, during the last year of her life ( she had cancer, in between her stomach and other organs that mastecized and she had a colostomy bag. She apologized to me, and said she should have never done what she did to me and my kids and that’s why she got cancer. She knew in her heart she got cancer because of what she did to me. And I agree. But I worked with hospice team and I took amazingly well (complimented by doctors and nurses on how well i did) I made sure my mom did not suffer and was comfortable during the dying stage. Yes theone, my mom made sure my sister would give me half of the estate. My mom’s words to me were, I want you to buy a house. So here I am in the house I bought. She would be proud!

            So please be kind theone. Be kind to people, all people! Don’t diagnose them just love them

        • ladybugavenger March 18, 2017 at 9:03 am

          theone, you have your own religion that is called “atheist liberals” oh I’m sorry, it’s a cult.

          There are no atheist, It was imputed in everyone to believe in the one true living God. You just turned away, went blind, and joined a cult. Come back to the light.!

          Blessings to you theone. Hugs ?

          • ladybugavenger March 18, 2017 at 9:04 am

            Joyce! It’s impuded not impudent. Will you correct that for me please! Thank you!

          • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic March 18, 2017 at 9:06 am

            Sure, but I think you mean imputed …
            🙂
            Joyce

          • ladybugavenger March 18, 2017 at 10:31 am

            Thanks Joyce! Lol….I should have googled it! ?

      • .... March 16, 2017 at 5:33 pm

        LOL this is to much. we got Bob the racist bigot commenting on morality ha ha ha ha ha that’s some funny stuff right there

        • Real Life March 17, 2017 at 6:20 am

          Do you even read the stories? You are an idiot, and that is being polite.

  • desertgirl March 16, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Mr Sierer,
    You have articulated thoughts, observations, and feelings so difficult for many of us to convey. Called it. Thank you.

  • Ojibwe March 16, 2017 at 11:53 am

    This is the least objective, most hypocritical diatribe attempting to justify prejudice that I’ve ever read. You’re claiming there’s a religious imperative to justify hate and bigotry, which puts you in a higher moral plane. There’s a severe case of victim mentality at work when a grown man claims to be the victim of someone potentially using a bathroom stall in a way he doesn’t like.

  • Proud Rebel March 16, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Just how many other countries are there in the world, that would knowingly allow immigration of citizens of nations with predominant religions, that had the very publicly stated goal of destroying that country? While I suppose there are a lot of citizens of those countries who do not agree with that goal, just how do you tell the difference, until the person has actually made a terroristic action?
    Just how many countries would stupidly put aside the safety and self interest of their own country, by allowing these people in, “because they are not ALL terrorists.”
    This is insanity.

  • comments March 16, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I was looking for something to refute or disagree with. Couldn’t find it. The left really have almost abandoned economic justice entirely and turned their whole platform into pet social issues and identity politics. However, I have a feeling that with the neo-cons back in power things will get worse. Morality really doesn’t play into the neo-con agenda at all; greed, excess, and destruction is what they do best.

    • .... March 16, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      And hateful racist bigotry is what you do best Bob !

  • Pheo March 16, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    I don’t support liberal causes out of guilt. I support causes that are right and kind.

    • .... March 16, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      Well then what you’re saying is you don’t support Bob !

  • comments March 16, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    The biggest fallacy of Howard Sierer is he thinks the right-wing, republicans, and neo-cons will change things for the better in every part of policy. Although the transsexuals may not be able to slip into the ladies room, I predict about every other part of policy is going to be a failure and get more corrupt over the next 4 years of neo-con rule. That’s the biggest reason I didn’t vote for the donald was I figured he’d tow the R-party line. It’s looking like that will be the reality.

  • comments March 16, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    And Howard let’s be realistic, the Vietnam war was an abysmal failure. The cost in money and lives was enormous and accomplished nothing good. It’s a bit like Bush II’s failed middle east wars. And the donald looks to be gearing us all up for more neo-con military adventures. hmm

  • commonsense March 16, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    The Democratic Party had become the party of labeling and division. Instead of discussing policy they label (racist, misogynist, xenophobe, homophobe). Their criticism of the current cabinet members is their wealth. It’s all label and innuendo. No policy. No ideology. Instead of promoting a political position they promote hate, division, obstruction, protest and violence.

  • richardspringdale March 16, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    Mr Sierer, I’m sorry you feel that way.
    You seem like a pretty nice old retired guy. Have you thought about volunteering in some kind of community service? Help people, take your mind off politics.
    I’m an old guy too, but my views are liberal. I believe that we can do better. So many conservatives seem stuck in the past. Those days are gone, for better and worse. What are conservatives so afraid of?
    PS- the sooner we can get rid of this Trump clown, the better.

    • desertgirl March 17, 2017 at 10:22 am

      richardspringdale

      Interesting. You see conservatives as stuck in the past, yet, you liberals are the ones still pushing the old socialist/Marxist ideas and world globalization. Talk about stuck in the past and a past that history has proven doesn’t work well for the masses. Glad to finally be rid of the anti-American Obama and his hateful wife and administration. The hypocrite is happy hanging out with his wealthy limousine liberal pals and terrorist buds like Farrakhan and sickie bomb throwers Bill Ayers and his crazy partner Bernadette Dohrn. More living in the past from the liberals. You guys want to spread the wealth and equal distribution, lets see how much of that $64 mil book deal the Obamas are receiving and the 10’s of millions they will make via speeches as they become worth 100’s of millions they ‘distribute’ to their fellow citizens. Yeah, sure.

  • commonsense March 17, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    Richard, you are typical of liberals. Calling Ed names in a condescending way. Try promoting policy ideas with logical arguments. Labeling conservatives as “stuck in the past” doesn’t promote a discussion.

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