appeals to middle-class whites with only a passing interest in politics or intellectual matters. It has an emotional or even quasi-religious appeal for these people. Its strongest devotees seem to be middle-aged, middle-class white women.
The basic message of moral liberalism is that good liberal whites are bringing about justice and equality for oppressed groups by taking on and defeating the privilege and ignorance of bad, right-wing whites.
One commenter, Jesse, made what I thought was a good effort to develop further the idea of the "moral charge" that such middle-class whites get from this kind of liberalism. He began:
Moral liberalism works because people by nature are desperate for morality. When Christianity was delegitimised and utilitarian and scientific thinking began to dominate, the majority of people began to look desperately for a new form of morality, to escape from the idea of the world as a barren, cold and uncaring place, populated by people only motivated by their own self interest.
That seems plausible. An ideal of goodness that was once supplied by Christianity was no longer accepted by the philosophers. But the moral systems they erected in its place, such as utilitarianism, did not satisfy the moral idealism of many Westerners.
The essence of moral liberalism is white or pseudo white, middle class and above, people, acting in self-effacing, as well as morally superior ways. It's also associated with utopian aims and involves acting in manners that are obviously contrary to our instincts and natures. By being self effacing we recognise the existence of sin, the combating of which is the essence of morality, and we also dedicate ourselves to something better. By embracing utopianism we show ourselves worthy in striving for a better world. By acting in ways that are contrary to our instincts and natures we show that we're led by our ideas and reason rather than by passions. These ideas appeal to both our vanities and senses of superiority. It also appeals to our desire for moral urgency and submission to higher ideals.
Moral liberals believe they are rising above themselves to combat sin in the pursuit of high-minded moral ideals and personal distinction. This is the "moral charge" that appeals to a certain kind of middle-class white.
Moral liberalism as a manifestation of morality can be combated through morality. If you can demonstrate your moral value, or at least be confident with it, then you can go a long way towards fighting the left. These days I go to Church frequently and in doing so, by being constantly surrounded by the discussion and concern of moral issues and concerns, it allows me to deal better with the moral promotion of the left without submitting to anger or a subtle sense of guilt.
If we seriously discuss and feel comfortable with morality on the right side of politics then we can break the left's monopoly over it, and if we can engage with and discuss the moral underpinnings of conservatism and traditionalism, and not just criticise the left, then we will go a long way towards combating the left
If, on the other hand, we’re simply critical of all manifestations of morality, as many right liberals have done, and embrace the promotion of individual freedoms as the highest good, then we will lose the public.
Jesse has had a go here at answering the question of how we counter a liberalism which has a quasi-religious appeal for some white people. I think it's a good insight that right-liberals will never effectively challenge a left-wing moral liberalism if they only talk about the pursuit of individual freedom. Even though left-liberalism is also ultimately based on a concept of equal freedom, moral liberals need to feel as if something more than their own individual freedom is at stake - they need to feel as if there is a struggle between good and evil in which they are unselfishly subsuming themselves.
He's right too, I believe, that we need to give our own politics a moral charge, rather than just criticising the errors of left and right liberals. The question is how best to do this. Some possibilities are:
- "recharging" the concept of the family man and the family woman.
- reasserting/praising traditional ideals of moral virtue
- linking personal distinction to character or real world achievements rather than to holding politically correct beliefs
- reasserting the virtue of loyalty/fidelity
- reasserting the virtue of prudence
- discussing ideals of masculinity and femininity or praising these qualities in particular men and women
- reasserting family and nation as worthy ends of our moral endeavours/duties
- encouraging the sense that we owe a duty to past generations and the traditions they created - that we have an important duty to discharge in upholding a legacy left to us by our own forebears, one that gives a deeper meaning to our efforts to raise families, to protect and improve the environment, to defend or to raise the level of culture and so on.