Atheist Morality

A place for atheists to discuss morality issues. What shapes your morality? What new perspectives have you found since abandoning faith (if you ever had any)? Is there any merit to religious moral authority?

Right Wing Takeover as effective moral messaging

George Lakoff: How Right-Wingers Scam People Into Buying Their Toxi...

Lakoff says that liberals talk policy instead of moral narrative, and that's why the Right Wing has taken over.

Call it a "rationality trap." Progressives often find themselves explaining the details of their preferred policies, and arguing that they would maximize the common good if enacted. Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to eschew the fine print to embrace sweeping, moral narratives to back their positions. For the Right, debates over concrete public policies are often framed as contests between good and evil, freedom and tyranny; that's how, for example, conservatives can transform a modest 3 percent tax hike on the wealthiest Americans into pernicious “class warfare” and an intolerable example of “socialism.”
...we have two very different family models in this country. They rise from two different understandings of morality. Morality as nurturing and morality as obedience to legitimate authority. Those give rise to different types of families. A strict father family has a father who is the ultimate authority which cannot be challenged.
...there are a lot of working people in this country, especially men, who are strict fathers at home. Those ideas of “family values” can then be extended into political, economic and religious ideas.

[emphasis mine]

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    Jedi Wanderer

    Yeah its a shame nobody commented on this discussion Ruth. Your postscript is right on. The right has got the simplistic moral messaging down pat: "abortion is murder", "homosexuality is sin", "taxes are socialism". That last one should be amended to "taxes on the rich is socialism, taxes on the poor is justice", but of course they wouldn't grant us this. And the messaging on the left is just so long-winded. Obama falls into this trap just as quickly as the rest of them (and really I'm no fan of Obama these days). But imagine the left being honest about their beliefs like the right is. "Abortion is occasionally morally justified", "god really doesn't hate gays", "socialism is good". They don't sound right for a reason - the left's positions are generally more complex and nuanced and well-thought-out, and the right feels no shame in spouting "god hates gays" and other absurdities. My point is, its not a fair fight, because in a race to the bottom, the dirty fighter will win every time. This is why there is no third party to the left of the Democrats, because it is just too easy to turn politics in this country into a race to the bottom, and a party with any real principles would just get creamed. Imagine if Obama decided he didn't want to take corporate money, he wanted to play fair and win honestly and not be beholden to corporate interests like the rest of Washington! Romney would rake in the dough and obliterate him with messaging and ads and everything else money and power bring, and that would quickly bring an end to Obama's chances of getting reelected. Now, if Obama had gotten behind the Occupy movement and waged a full-on verbal assault on the immorality of a system dominated by moneyed interests, he could have led a real movement in this country (I think he could have started one himself if he had just done finance reform in 2008 when he had the chance instead of lousing up healthcare, but once he missed this boat he was already in the pocket of the corporations so no wonder he avoided getting into any real confrontation with Wall St.). So perhaps messaging could help swing the battle somewhat, but with a political system as corrupt as this one is, I'm not so sure that taking on a more moralizing narrative is really going to turn the trick.

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      Ruth Anthony-Gardner

      Here's an example of how the right wing has taken over moral messaging on Climate Change. Explaining why Democrats aren't even discussing Climate Change,

      Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse faults his own party, saying Democrats have allowed the GOP to intimidate them from talking up the issue.

      “I think the Republicans do a very good propaganda job of poisoning certain phrases. And then, rather than fight, we walk a step back, and we use a different phrase,” said the Rhode Island Democrat, who didn’t address questions about Gore specifically. “Once they poison that phrase, we’ll walk back again. So, we say: ‘We won’t talk about climate change anymore. Now we’re going to talk about clean energy.’” [emphasis mine]

      Where's Al Gore?

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        Ruth Anthony-Gardner

        Nice illustration of Democratic Party's poor messaging skills.