Mahablog has two excellent posts up on the illusion of moral clarity. The following passage comes from the second of these posts. I recommend, especially to my conservative readers, to read them both. They are here and here.
As I’ve written elsewhere, achieving moral clarity is remarkably easy.The standard way to achieve moral clarity on the abortion issue, for example, is to completely disregard women. Examples of such “clear” moralizing include this op ed by Dean Barnett and this one by Michael Gerson.
First, take a firm and inflexible position on a moral question. Then, studiously ignore any factors that might call that opinion into question. If the factors refuse to go away, make up lies to neutralize them.
See? Nothin’ to it.
If you are foolish enough to take all facets of an issue into account, you risk not being clear. In fact, the more gut-level honest you are about a messy, unpleasant issue, the less clear you are likely to be. And this is a problem for conservatives, who by nature cannot stand ambiguity. One of the most basic traits of conservatives, in fact, is a compulsion to sort the world into rigid binary categories — right and wrong, good and evil, white and black. Any muddling of categories sends them into nervous fits. But once all things and all issues are properly sorted, they can relax and bask in their moral clarity.
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