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Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice Paperback – April 17, 2002
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Coupling these interviews with a nationally representative telephone survey conducted with CBS, Wolfe gets down to cases fast. Asking eternal moral questions, e.g. what is virtue, what is vice?, Wolfe comes to a startling conclusion: Americans have for the most part jettisoned traditional teachings of religion in favor of a looser, more pragmatic situational ethics. Although some of Wolfe's respondents hew to very specific religious beliefs, even these individuals are loathe to cast the first stone against those who might not agree with their beliefs.
In terms of narrative strategy, Wolfe uses the gay and lesbian population of the Castro district as one end of the moral spectrum, the small town folks in Iowa as the other pole, and finds they have a lot in common with all the other folks in between. He does stop and point out differences along the way, of course, but in the main, finds considerable agreement. The extended quotes from Americans to whom Wolfe and his colleagues talk demonstrates how smart and thoughtful the average American really is -- as Wolfe showed us in "One National After All." But there is something troubling about their articulateness, too.Read more ›
But of course this is not moral freedom at all; it is, rather, licentious and libidinous anarchy. Prof. Wolfe's (selected?Read more ›