Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Moral utilitarianism among the American left and right

At the First Things blog, Ross Douthat has a terrific post on the prevelance of moral utilitarianism among Americans of all political stripes, offering examples of tactitly approving the torture terrorists to get information that might stop an attack (the right) and approving of embronic stem cell research if it might cure disease (the left).

He then draws the following conclusion:
    This reality, I think, offers the umpteenth example of why the Victorian project (which persists to this day) of doing away with Christian dogma but trying to keep Christian morality intact is doomed to failure. Not because Christian morality can’t be approached rationally by nonbelievers of good will, but because without the lived experience of a religious tradition it will never be anything more than an abstraction, an arid intellectualism, something that gets followed when following it is easy to follow and abandoned as soon as the going gets tough.
I agree, wholeheartedly.

Read the whole thing.

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