Raging Right Wing Republican

For those of us who are politically informed, and therefore Republican.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dinesh D'Souza on virtues

The conservative virtues are many: civility, patriotism, national unity, a sense of local community, an attachment to family, a belief in merit, in just desserts, and in personal responsibility for one's actions. For many conservatives, the idea of virtue cannot be separated from God. But it is not necessary to believe in God to be conservative. What unifies the vast majority of conservatives is the belief that there are moral standards in the universe and that living up to them is the best way to have a full and happy life.

Conservatives recognize, of course, that people frequently fall short of these standards. . . . But for conservatives, these lapses do not provide an excuse to get rid of standards. Even hypocrisy — professing one thing but doing another — is in the conservative view preferable to a denial of standards because such denial leads to moral chaos and nihilism. . . .

What really distinguishes conservatives from liberals is not that one is for freedom while the other is against freedom; rather, what separates them is that they have different substantive views of what constitutes the good life.

Let us make a list of the liberal virtues: equality, compassion, pluralism, diversity, social justice, peace, autonomy, tolerance. Liberals become impassioned when they use these terms: they make up the moral priorities of the modern liberal worldview. By contrast, conservatives emphasize other virtues: merit, patriotism, prosperity, national unity, social order, morality, responsibility. Both sides are willing to place the occasional restraint on freedom to achieve their substantive vision of the good society.

(Dinesh D'Souza, Letters to a Young Conservative [New York, NY: Basic Books, 2005], 6-9)


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