Last Sunday, I picked up a copy of Boston Magazine while sitting in the green room at the Fox News studios in Watertown, Mass. Leafing through the publication, I came across an article titled "Confessions of an Ivy League Callgirl," written by Jeannette Angell, a university lecturer with a master's degree from Yale. The fact that she was a Yalie caught my eye -- as a Harvard Law student, I've already adopted our communal animosities -- and so I read the piece.
Apparently, Angell began trading sex for cash after receiving her doctorate in social anthropology. But what was shocking was not Angell's experiences but her insistence that she not be condemned for her actions. "Please don't be so quick to call us hookers, to judge us," she wrote. "We could be your mother, your sister, your girlfriend, your daughter. Even your college professor. No, I take that back. It's not a matter of saying that we could be. We are."
The logic goes something like this: If you have a relative who engages in a sinful act, the act cannot be condemned. After all, blood is thicker than morality, right? Loyalty to the tribe comes before loyalty to moral values.
It's a successful tactic often employed by proponents of liberal social policy. Just this week, Michael Moore wrote in USA Today that most Republicans are actually social liberals. As proof, he cited a supposed interview with a "proud Republican." "Would you discriminate against someone because he or she is gay?" Moore asked the man. "Um, no," the man answered. Moore comments: "The pause -- I get that a lot when I ask this question -- is usually because the average goodhearted person instantly thinks about a gay family member or friend."
Unfortunately, Moore's explanation of moral hesitancy rings true. Social liberals expect to emerge victorious from the culture wars because of conflicting allegiances among social conservatives: allegiances to friends and family, and allegiances to traditional morality.
In order to assuage the moral qualms of conflicted social conservatives, social liberals have created a whole new system of morality. Social liberals redefine right and wrong: It is right to value your friends and family, and wrong to condemn them for moral failings. According to the social left, in any pitched battle between traditional morality and friendship, those who side with traditional morality are morally wrong.