Does America set a good moral example for the world? NPR’s Phoenix affiliate station KJZZ recently interviewed me about PRRI’s 2017 survey of American values. (PRRI, or Public Religion Research Institute, is a nonpartisan national polling organization). Interviewer Steve Goldtein of NPR was specifically interested in one of PRRI’s survey questions regarding the changing status of America’s moral leadership internationally. In response to this important question, I try to quickly get to the heart of the matter in this 7 minute audio interview. I invite comments below.
Part of what NPR left out of the 20 minute recorded interview was my discussion of a recent PBS documentary, hosted by Jim Lehrer, about the possible end of America’s role as the primary defender of modernity worldwide. The documentary highlighted that even though the U.S. wants E.U. countries to foot more of the bill for global stability, and even though both the U.S. and the E.U. decry this relationship of dependency, neither has shown a real willingness to end it. The fact that the U.S. can’t afford this anymore is part of what Trump’s voters were signaling. However, although liberal modernity is threatened from external enemies without, it is also threatened from within its own culture—by postmodernism’s strident rejection of modernity, despite its gifts and accomplishments. Culturally transcending and including postmodernism may thus be America’s main opportunity for moral leadership in the time ahead.
There is obviously much more to say about this matter, but these seven minutes at least provide some food for thought.
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From Developmental Politics: “The higher purposes which we recognize as *transcendent* have a kind of magnetic power that draws us forward. As Oxford philosopher Iris Murdoch wrote, ‘we are spiritual creatures, attracted by excellence and made for the Good.’”
Emerson’s insight, that “every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact,” reveals the connection between exterior physical energy and interior ‘value energy.’ In fact, ‘the good’ in itself can be most accurately conceived of as an upward current of perfecting energy.
Although every infant begins life with the same basic form of biological “human nature,” the extent to which their consciousness develops is largely determined by the culture in which they are raised. Human nature itself thus evolves through the evolution of human culture.
Managing the polarity of liberal and conservative values is not simply a matter of meeting in the middle or compromising. Working to both challenge and *support* our political opponents is a new approach to politics that is pragmatic and transformational at the same time.
On the new Growing Down Podcast, Jeremy Johnson, Ryan Nakade, Matt Hudkins, and I discuss the intersection of progressive politics and developmental politics. We focus on how progressive politics can benefit from an integral perspective. https://anchor.fm/growing-down/episodes/3--Developmental-Politics-ft--Steve-McIntosh-Interview-Series-ec5914/a-a1qcs3g