Common wisdom these days seems to suggest that progressives have a political Achilles heel: morality. Regardless of the real impact that religious belief had on the 2004 election (1), it’s overwhelmingly true that Republicans have tapped into an issue which is neglected by Democrats. If we want to stop the Democrats’ continued rightward drift, it’s important to understand morality, society, and politics at a deeper level than the discussion is being conducted today.
My current thinking on progressive morality started with a discussion I had back in February of this year with a friend who said (roughly): "the left loses support in some quarters because it fails to provide the linkage to morality that many, if not most, people want." Since that comment, I’ve been trying to understand how progressives can create a credible civil and secular morality for our public sphere.
I now believe that to be the wrong approach.