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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Polarity #4 is MERCY & JUSTICE. Mercy for the individual becomes unjust without concern for the good of the whole. And to be truly virtuous, justice must be balanced with care for each person.
Polarity #3 is COMPETITION & COOPERATION. One without the other can become problematic. But when both of these are brought together in a mutually correcting relationship that provides for both *challenge and support,* the value-creating potential of each side is maximized.
Polarity #2 is REAL & IDEAL. Each pole needs the other. Realism alone can lead to a cynical acceptance of a dysfunctional status quo. And unrealistic idealism can result in ineffectual wishful thinking. But through mutual co-correction they can fortify our power to improve things
In this new article by Carter Phipps, he asks where 50 years of "I'll do me and you do you" has gotten us.
This tweet is the first in a series of our favorite positive-positive interdependent polarities: LIBERTY & EQUALITY. These two values need each other to maximize their value creating capacity. Through a dynamic relationship of challenge and support, each pole trues-up the other.