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Gallup Shows Americans have Morally Complex Views on Hot-Button Issues

One of the many problems with our polarized discourse is that we artificially divide ourselves into “liberal” and “conservative” camps.

This not only artificially pits us against each other in destructive ways, it radically simplifies a complex nexus of beliefs and values. Catholic teaching helpfully deconstructs this binary, making moral claims which almost perfectly straddle the imagined liberal/conservative framework used by most of those who control our public discourse.

Among those are, apparently, the writers at Gallup. Their cultural imagination – which apparently comes right out of the 1979 culture wars – dominates analysis of their poll numbers. Somehow, they imagine there is a “conservative” side and a “liberal” side and that views on contested moral issues in the culture must either be one or the other.

Given their commitment to this lens, Gallup’s headline in their most recent poll is “Americans Hold Record Liberal Views on Most Moral Issues.”

But this is a deeply misleading headline.

First of all, Gallup’s slapping moral positions with liberal or conservative labels is problematic. Views on “having a baby outside of marriage,” for instance, are not clearly divided along conservative or liberal lines.

Indeed, many self-identified liberals would say that abortion needs to be legal for just such situations, while many self-identified conservatives would say that is morally required to have such a child instead of having an abortion.

Something similar is true about pornography. Sure, some liberals support porn while some conservatives do not. But there doesn’t seem to be much difference between liberals and conservatives when it comes to consumption of porn, and there is some evidence that conservatives consume even more porn than do liberals.

Read more at Crux. 

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