Losing Moral Ground

These days the world of morals and the world of politics seem poles apart. Political leaders secure the approval—or at least the passive acquiescence—of large majorities of citizens by appealing to the worst within us. President Reagan won overwhelming re-election by resorting to coded racist messages ("the South will rise again"), by inspirational jingoism (the United States is "back standing tall," having wiped away the stain of humiliating defeat in Vietnam and Iran by trouncing Grenada), and by celebrating selfishness in its many guises.

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