Modern liberalism, says Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel, has emptied the national narrative of its civic resources, putting religion outside the public square and creating a value-neutral "procedural republic." ... The failure to perceive the importance of community has seriously wounded liberalism and undermined its core principles. So has the strong tendency to convert moral and social questions issues of individual rights, usually constructed and then massaged by judges to place them beyond the reach of majorities and the normal democratic process.Leo is on the mark, but I think the problem is more serious than suggested, because many Christian denominations also avoid the "vocabulary of right and wrong," giving only lip-service to the real transforming power of true repentance.
Bitter. Liberals have been slow to grasp the mainstream reaction to the no-values culture, chalking it up to Karl Rove, sinister fundamentalists, racism, or the stupidity of the American voter. Since November 2, the withering contempt of liberals for ordinary Americans has been astonishing. Voting for Bush gave "quite average Americans a chance to feel superior," said Andrew Hacker, a prominent liberal professor at Queens College. We are seeing the bitterness of elites who wish to lead, confronted by multitudes who do not wish to follow. Liberals might one day conclude that while most Americans value autonomy, they do not want a procedural republic in which patriotism, religion, socialization, and traditional values are politically declared out of bounds. Many Americans notice that liberalism nowadays lacks a vocabulary of right and wrong, declines to discuss virtue except in snickering terms, and seems increasingly hostile to prevailing moral sentiments.