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Liberals Hold the Moral High Ground

Liberals Are Morally Superior
The BriefGet Up To Speed

Do conservative or liberal philosophies lead to more just outcomes? Opposing moral philosophies have long fueled debate about America’s policy goals and national identity. For conservatives, morality is grounded in ideals such as patriotism, including a respect for order and authority; fairness and liberty in the sense that an individual’s actions yield just rewards, or consequences; and reverence for the sanctity of religious and moral tradition. Liberals place moral emphasis on caring: for the poor, the disadvantaged, and the marginalized; on fairness in the sense of redressing both historic wrongs and current inequalities of outcome; and on generosity extending beyond the bounds of nations or cultures. In today’s divisive political arena, which side best embodies the nation’s most cherished virtues? Morally speaking, is the left right?


Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we're left, right or center. In this eye-opening talk, he pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most.

Friday, February 1, 2008
Jonathan Haidt

In The Roots of American Order, the historian Russell Kirk provides a persuasive answer: America is not only the land of the free and the home of the brave, but a place of ordered liberty.

Monday, June 9, 2008
Edwin Feulner

When Adam Smith and a group of fellow Scots first used the word in a political sense, it meant something very different than it does today. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014
Daniel B. Klein

With this platform, we the Republican Party reaffirm the principles that unite us in a common purpose. 

Monday, November 27, 2017
Democrats believe that cooperation is better than conflict, unity is better than division, empowerment is better than resentment, and bridges are better than walls. It’s a simple but powerful idea: we are stronger together. 
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

As we watch Roy Moore thumping his Bible to defend himself from accusations of child molestation, let me toss out a verbal hand grenade: To some degree, liberals practice the values that conservatives preach.

Saturday, November 18, 2017
Nicholas Kristof

A distinctively liberal commitment to cultivating autonomous character is vital for social opportunity and for a free society more broadly.

Monday, April 24, 2017
Richard V. Reeves and Dimitrios Halikias

As I investigated America’s culture wars from Jefferson to Obama, I found that they follow a predictable pattern. They tend to start on the right, with conservatives anxious about some cultural change. Yet conservatives almost always lose, because they lash themselves to lost causes.

Friday, January 29, 2016
Stephen Prothero

A three-part series on the history and achievements of progressives, and liberals, in American politics. Part two and three here. 

Friday, January 1, 2010
John Halpin and Conor P. Williams

The truth is that Liberalism is about making elites feel better about themselves and their lives without requiring the underlying action of significantly improving the lives of African-Americans.

Friday, August 18, 2017
Nikki Johnson-Huston

The political left might consider itself more open-minded than the right. But research shows that liberals are just as prejudiced against conservatives as conservatives are against liberals.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Matthew Hutson

The right has been very clear about what government should not be doing, or should be doing much less of, but it has not had nearly enough to say about just what government should do. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014
Peter Wehner and Michael Gerson

Much more disturbing is that half a century after the civil rights battles were fought and won, liberalism remains much more inter­ested in making excuses for blacks than in reevaluating efforts to help them.

Saturday, June 28, 2014
Jason Riley

A series on the moral differences between conservatives and liberals and explanation of why liberal values do not always represent voter interests. Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are available.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Dennis Prager
Civil Rights

Fifty years later, a dive into what it took to make the historic legislation law. 

Monday, June 30, 2014
Natasha Geiling

The GOP has allowed itself to be cut off rhetorically from a pantheon of Republican political heroes, from Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass to Susan B. Anthony, who represent an expression of conservative ideals as true and relevant today as it was in the 19th century. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Jonathan Chait responds to Kevin Williamson’s article on the history of civil rights in the Republican party.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Jonathan Chait
Role of Government

With all of official Washington in the grip of Republicans, and an autocratic — not to say imperial — figure in the White House, many liberals are taking a second look at the 10th Amendment.

Monday, January 9, 2017
Renée Loth

A good but limited government is one that serves its citizens by exercising well its particular task and refraining from other tasks. Essential to government's particular task is ensuring that other social institutions are free to exercise their own particular tasks.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Ryan Messmore

The right yearns for an era when churches and local organizations took care of society's weakest—an era that never existed and can't exist today.

Monday, March 24, 2014
Mike Konczal
Religion & Faith

For many people on the left, pro-life views are wrong but understandable, while traditional views on sex, marriage, and gender identity are not merely wrong but bigoted and deplorable. 

Friday, August 4, 2017
Ryan Anderson

Faith leaders whose politics fall to the left of center are getting more involved in politics to fight against President Trump’s policies.

Saturday, June 10, 2017
Laurie Goodstein

The left has a chance to supplant the Christian right as the new moral authority.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017
John Stoehr

Conservatives love to tout their economic bona fides. But the data reveal a far different story.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Sean McElwee

Leveling the playing field means fairly enforcing regulations and progressive policies that help people build small businesses and ensure consumer demand for their products and services.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Kate Bahn and Regina Willensky

Conservatives love this deeply misleading factoid about poverty in America.

Friday, July 24, 2015
Dylan Matthews

When actual flesh-and-blood people are being considered — when we consider how big government affects human beings — we find many victims of its policies not among the rich, but among the poor.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Edwin J. Feulner

Blaming the success of America’s 1% for the slow growth of middle- and working-class incomes leads to policies that slow an already slow-growing economy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Ed Conard

Reaganomics was right for the 1980s, but today’s economy calls for a new approach from the right.

Thursday, June 22, 2017
Max Bloom