How Prejudice and Partisanship Distorts Moral Evaluations


We are living through the most astonishing period of time where partisan prejudice has destroyed the ability to make moral judgments on the basis of objective norms of behavior. Both sides give their violators soft treatment or a pass.  Until we unite around common moral and ethical norms, progress in many areas will not be possible. Plus, both sides make exaggerated claims that are way beyond reality.

I have written several times that President Trump’s language is divisive and not at all in accord with any person who professes to believe in Jesus (as he professes).  His demeaning of his opponents with name calling is beneath the dignity of his office and is painful to observe. Yet, I have noted 10 policies from this administration that are good policies that are good for the country and good for conservative religious communities.

The President’s coarse language and unthought out tweets bring him unnecessary and unhelpful reactions.  Yet, they are interpreted way beyond what his language means. For example, of the Charlottesville demonstrations where the left and those who wanted to keep confederate statues, Trump said there are good people on both sides.  For this he is accused as a racist since white supremacists and even a murderer (now convicted) was on the one side. There were good people on both sides. The President said he was not referring to the white supremacists but those who did not want to erase their historical regional figures.  No matter, he will not be credited.

Meanwhile, Trump is called a racist for telling the four members of congress, now known as the squad, to go back to where they came from (a generally understood racist trope, though was used in the past for white immigrants from other countries).   He qualified it by saying, “then come back and show us how to do it.” Clean up the mess from where you came from. This kind of language is not acceptable. If he said that their values and positions were anti-American, there would not have been a problem.  Indeed, they push socialism, and with regard to Israel support BDS which is not just against the occupation of the West Bank, but in its founding seeks the elimination of Israel! There is plenty of information on these four, anti-Semitic tropes, BDS, claims that Israel is engaged in genocide, Omar saying that 9/11 was “something happened,” that the immigration facilities are concentration camps (compare that to the holocaust that forever defined that term), and so much more.  Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s foul mouth and anti-Israel statements are so over the top. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s policy statements are foolish, not well thought out and terribly destructive. Yet Democrats go soft on these congresswomen. Criticism of them leads to charges of racism. So now they are creating a class of people who are above criticism (women of color). All that Trump needs to do is play their worst statements and say nothing and continue to say over and over again that the Democrats need to condemn these statements.  But he then does wrong in his responses.

Honest and fair moral judgement is now in short supply on both sides of the aisle.  However, I believe the problem is worse on the left and the group think on the left is astonishing.