RWN doesn’t generally do quotes of the day anymore, but last night, as I read James Davison Hunter’s The Death of Character: On the Moral Education of America’s Children, there was an extraordinary paragraph that jumped out at me so much that I thought it deserved its own post:
We say we want a renewal of character in our day but we don’t really know what we ask for. To have a renewal of character is to have a renewal of a creedal order that constrains, limits, binds, obligates, and compels. This price is too high for us to pay. We want character but without unyielding conviction; we want strong morality but without the emotional burden of guilt or shame; we want virtue but without particular moral justifications that invariably offend; we want good without having to name evil; we want decency without the authority to insist upon it; we want moral community without any limitations on personal freedom. In short, we want what we cannot possibly have on the terms that we want it.