vendredi 14 janvier 2011

A Tale of Two Moralities

On Wednesday, President Obama called on Americans to “expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.” Those were beautiful words; they spoke to our desire for reconciliation.

But the truth is that we are a deeply divided nation and are likely to remain one for a long time. By all means, let’s listen to each other more carefully; but what we’ll discover, I fear, is how far apart we are. For the great divide in our politics isn’t really about pragmatic issues, about which policies work best; it’s about differences in those very moral imaginations Mr. Obama urges us to expand, about divergent beliefs over what constitutes justice.

And the real challenge we face is not how to resolve our differences — something that won’t happen any time soon — but how to keep the expression of those differences within bounds.

What are the differences I’m talking about?

One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state — a private-enterprise economy, but one in which society’s winners are taxed to pay for a social safety net — morally superior to the capitalism red in tooth and claw we had before the New Deal. It’s only right, this side believes, for the affluent to help the less fortunate.

The other side believes that people have a right to keep what they earn, and that taxing them to support others, no matter how needy, amounts to theft. That’s what lies behind the modern right’s fondness for violent rhetoric: many activists on the right really do see taxes and regulation as tyrannical impositions on their liberty.

(…)This deep divide in American political morality — for that’s what it amounts to — is a relatively recent development. Commentators who pine for the days of civility and bipartisanship are, whether they realize it or not, pining for the days when the Republican Party accepted the legitimacy of the welfare state, and was even willing to contemplate expanding it. As many analysts have noted, the Obama health reform — whose passage was met with vandalism and death threats against members of Congress — was modeled on Republican plans from the 1990s.

(…)Right now, each side in that debate passionately believes that the other side is wrong. And it’s all right for them to say that. What’s not acceptable is the kind of violence and eliminationist rhetoric encouraging violence that has become all too common these past two years.

(…)We all want reconciliation, but the road to that goal begins with an agreement that our differences will be settled by the rule of law.

Deux pays en un!

Il y a une Amérique libérale et démocrate et celle des Tea Parties. De la même manière il y a une Europe populiste et une Europe de l’Etat Providence; un peu comme il y a une Wallonie de gauche face à une Flandre de droite. La diférence ? Il n’y en a pas, sauf que pour ce qui concerne la Belgique , les deux camps sont séparés par une frontière dite » frontière linguistique. D’année en année celle-ci se transforme en frontière politique.

C’est u peu comme si l’Amérique du Nord votait démocrate et les Etats du Sud votaient Tea Party. Vous me direz que c’est déjà arrivé et que cela a provoqué une guerre de sécession qui a bien failli casser l’état fédéral américain en deux…

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