Is patriotism a good thing in an empire? Did General Petraeus betray us or did Moveon? Does morality often serve immoral purposes? Morality Wars shows us how to understand the subtext of these questions and of all the debates about moral values and liberal versus conservative ideology. Derber and Magrass show that the moral problem today is not just lying but "immoral morality," doing evil in the name of good (e.g., Bush preemptively invading Iraq to spread liberty). The authors explore three ancient codes of immoral morality frighteningly resurrected in America today -those of empire, the politically correct, and the born again. Although the right today has recrafted historic arguments that empires bring peace, and fundamentalists battle moral decay, the authors show the Democratic Party and the left have their own IM, with Democrats supporting empire and the left its own political correctness. America's political divide today is a backlash to the progressive revolution of the 1960s and 1970s-secular, antiwar, and feminist-that created a radical break from traditional values and set the stage for current morality wars. In the spirit of de Tocqueville, this powerful book offers a rich and vivid portrait of America's political landscape, exploring ideas that can help move the nation to a new morality and politics.
Charles Derber is professor in the Department of Sociology at Boston College. Yale R. Magrass is Chancellor professor in the Department of Sociology/Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.