Magazine article Mother Jones

Editors' Note

Magazine article Mother Jones

Editors' Note

Article excerpt

This is a time of intense soul-searching on the left. How did we come out on the wrong side of the values debate? The pundits and other practitioners of conventional wisdom have equated voters' concern with "moral values" with a repudiation of gay marriage and abortion rights. On the left, this conviction runs even stronger: It must have been those specific issues that swayed the electorate, because on so many core matters of economic and social equality, surely Americans know that it is the left (and the Democratic Party) that is on their side.

No, they don't. As Garret Keizer argues in this issue's cover story, the right has learned to exploit "with unerring tact" the sense of quiet desperation that besets so many families, the economic and moral slippage that they fear as much or more than Osama bin Laden. Parents whose incomes can't keep pace with basic needs, who fear losing their children to video games and worse, have gravitated toward Bush's promise of strength and stability-though in fact, as Keizer points out, "the widening inequality fostered by the social policies of the right effects the very same 'erosion of moral values' from which the right promises to defend us."

But conservatives are not the only hypocrites: Privileged liberals also cherish their privileges and have traded a historic commitment to economic parity for the same illusion that the right labors under-that "you can be a good person and want a good society without either ldnd of goodness costing you a dime. …

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