Conservative view of Moral Monday

By John Hood | Feb 11, 2014

RALEIGH — Any political movement that can turn out tens of thousands of protesters on a chilly morning in February must be deemed impressive.

To this conservative, the 2014 edition of Historic Thousands on Jones Street — an annual march through downtown Raleigh initiated by the NAACP and now associated with the Moral Monday movement — was a remarkable feat of organization, logistics, and marketing.

If organization, logistics, and marketing were sufficient to produce favorable legislation or electoral victories, the Moral Monday movement would be destined for success. I don’t think that is what’s about to happen, however. While the movement has ample financial and human resources, its strategy is fundamentally flawed.

The conservatives now in charge of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of state government, and of most county governments across North Carolina, believe their policies are right. They don’t believe they are sacrificing morality on the altar of political expediency.

For example, while they believe their fiscal policies of spending restraint and tax reduction will boost job creation and economic growth, they also believe these policies combat the moral evils associated with oppressive government. They recognize that government is necessary to fund core public services, and that these funds must come from taxation. But they reject the morality of using government coercion to confiscate and redistribute income, particularly when the action is motivated by envy.

North Carolina conservatives also believe that while temporary assistance for needy families is an appropriate state function, they oppose public-assistance programs that discourage work, enable self-destructive behavior, supplant voluntary charity, and sustain a debilitating culture of dependency. This belief extends beyond concerns of cost. Conservatives believe such welfare policies are morally wrong.

On education, conservatives believe it is a moral imperative that children have the opportunity to attend the schools most likely to help them succeed — which is why they favor public-school reforms such as merit pay and parental choice measures such as charter schools and vouchers. You may think conservatives are mistaken to believe these policies will have the intended effects. But if you think accusing them of immorality for embracing these reforms will do anything other than make you look unhinged and disingenuous in their eyes, you are kidding yourselves.

I don’t typically write about social issues in this space. But I will observe that when conservatives who consider abortion to be the killing of innocent unborn children enact measures they think will discourage women from having such abortions, accusing them of immorality makes you look reprehensible in their eyes.

Finally, accusing Republican politicians of failing to respect the democratic process, as MoralMonday protesters routinely do, sounds grossly hypocritical to North Carolina conservatives who spent decades on the outside looking in as Democrats gerrymandered electoral districts, ignored legislative procedure whenever they found it convenient, and even resorted to criminal activity to keep themselves in power.

Democrats have never received a majority of votes for a legislative chamber and then, because of gerrymandering, won only a minority of seats. But that actually happened to Republicans in 2000, 2002, and 2004. Where were the liberal activists and special-interest groups when these abuses were going on? Did they attempt to obstruct the Democratic legislative majorities as illegitimate? No, because they generally liked the legislation that resulted.

To many liberal activists and Democratic pols participating in Moral Monday protests, these rhetorical and strategic considerations are irrelevant. They have no interest in trying to persuade conservative politicians to adopt different policies. They simply want to destroy them, politically and sometimes even personally, in order to regain power. I can think of many appropriate adjectives for this. “Moral” is not among them.

Conservatives should resist the temptation to ridicule or dismiss Moral Monday protesters. It makes those conservatives look small. And Republican politicians should learn to exercise their newly achieved power with grace, humility, and wisdom. Still, at its core, the MoralMonday movement is based on a self-defeating principle: that the only people deserving of respect are those who already agree with you.


Hood is president of the John Locke Foundation.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Scott Lilly | Feb 12, 2014 07:37

The reason modern politics is widely considered a failure: "the only people deserving of respect are those who already agree with you."


I'll take that point a step further, the only way to persuade people and change minds is to understand their perspective and why "the other side" believes what they do.  When you put in effort to understand "the other side", that's called empathy and is what's required to "respect" those that don't agree with you.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Feb 12, 2014 10:43

          I have no respect for john hood.

          While I support his right to opinion, Most of his opinions have been shown to be ill-liberal and unconstitutional. For instance, the opinion that abortion is the killing of unborn children. First off, a fetus is not a child. It is a fetus. Second, abortion up until the first kick otherwise kmown as "quickening" was legal in this country until about 1875. It was protected by common law which was then incorporated into the Bill of Rights as the 7th Amendment. Roe vs. Wade negated unneccessary ill-liberal laws and returned this right to its intended use and  took into account that the 14th Amendment establishes that "All persons born or naturalized, are citizens...", extended the right of self-determination by means of the liberty of one's own conscience to the point of birth, whereby the Social Contract begins. Make no mistake a woman's Naturally inherent or otherwise inalienable right of the liberty of self-determination takes precedent. Always. Or it wouldn't be inalienable. But of course conservatives don't understand liberty.

         As to vouchers, We the people have been thru this before. In one of the most important of OUR Founding Documents, A Remonstrance and Remembrance Against Religious Assessments in Favour of the Teachers of the Chriastian Religion, James Madison lays out 15 reasons why no taxpayer should be forced to pay for opinions they are oppossed to. Anyone wanting to send their kid to a private school must bear the burdon of doing so while maintaining their tax support for public schools.

          Morality is none of the govt's buisness. Recognizing a God that had never interferred since the original creation, they seperated the church from the state and established that rights are inherited and therefore inalienable. And! That any such man-made law that violated the equal protection of conscience was an affront to  God. Besides that the North Carolina Religious Freedom Clause forbides any government violation of conscience.

         As the equal protection of Liberty is OUR government's first priority, taxes must be paid in proportion to profit gained. Flat taxes are a violation of this Founding Principle.

         Denying citizens right to opinions on representation is again anti-liberal.

         Most of these issues have either been settled or are in court.

         When a person pledges to protect and serve OUR constitutions, it should be of importance that they then do not prove themselve's liars. 




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