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SS376: APD Hellfire Nation CH.15 & Epilogue LSN 40 . The Puritans Roar Again: Modern Morals . Conservatives Individuals, not society, are responsible for their actions Vice is a result of a lack of moral restraint Morality starts in the family. 1980s - 2000s Moral Debate.

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SS376: APD

Hellfire Nation CH.15 & Epilogue

LSN 40

The Puritans Roar Again: Modern Morals

  • Conservatives
  • Individuals, not society, are responsible for their actions
  • Vice is a result of a lack of moral restraint
  • Morality starts in the family

1980s - 2000s Moral Debate

  • Progressive/liberals
  • “Grow, Merge, and Acquire or Perish” (p.453)
  • Strong line between public and private spheres

The Old Jeremiads Ring Out Again

Presidential Administration

Conservative Responses


President Jimmy Carter

Traditionalists Outraged = “Call to Arms” (p.454)

  • Increased the power and motivation of conservatives.
  • Increase traditional morals
  • “don’t blame society, blame the sinners” Pat Robertson 1989 (p.454)


President Reagan


President Clinton

Conservatives: “Our Society has abandoned the morals that once guided us” (p.454)

Conservatives reconsolidated and fight back to reemploy traditional values. (p.455)


Midterm Election


Crime War

  • Roots
  • President Reagan’s war on crime hit crime hard (p.457)
  • Decrease in US toleration for crime
  • Goal to fix society from its immoral people
  • Overwhelming Force
  • Zero Tolerance for misbehavior (p.461)
  • Increase in SWAT and police action in early 1980s
  • Racism issue
  • Real people with real needs get buried in the racial cartoon
  • Driving While Black
  • Increased minority prison population
  • Rising Crime
  • Murder boom in early 1980s(see graph p.458)
  • Prison issue: incarceration rates always increased no matter the murder rate
  • Rise of the prison-industrial complex
  • Not Always Racism: Urban v Suburban factors in private v public setting for crimes
  • Example: It is easy for police to arrest people drinking or dealing on the streets of the city than in the homes in the suburbs.

The Pattern of Moral Politics

“Fears of rampant immorality obscure concern about common sense or fairness” (7% of Blacks are in prison) (p.463)

“The Crime Wars rising toll illuminates what happens when Victorian tough love swamps the Social Gospel” (p.464)

Witch Hunt

“The rush to toss aside our norms and standards of justice as we chase them” (p.463) = increases harm to the community


Drug War

  • Roots
  • Racist Imagery + Drugs = Fear of harming the community
  • Chinese & Opium
  • Blacks & Crack
  • Mexicans & Marijuana
  • Race
  • Increase drug tolerance under Nixon and Carter: treat users for illness
  • Decrease drug tolerance under Reagan: treat users as a criminal
  • As the crack issue increased = increase of the type of punishment
    • Increase of the racial biases on Blacks (p.468)

“Drug War feeds the Crime War” (p.469)


Drug War

  • The Black Response
  • Issue: Drug Abuse and Biased State Action
  • Responses:
  • Church led some education, punishment and treatment programs
  • Investigation were launched in 1990s to injustice

Medical Marijuana

BLUF: Moral bans lose power as the ‘dangerous’ villains fade. Some drug users needed it. (p.472)

  • What Next? Tomorrows Drug Policy
  • Clinton Admin:
  • Treat drug users for an illness (p.473) but…
  • Stagnation with Republican dominated House and Senate
  • Themes of the Debate (p.476)
  • Sinner v. sick people
  • Punishment v. treatment
  • A dangerous them v. one of us


Classical Liberalism v. Conservatives

  • Lust
  • Monica Lewinsky scandal = confirm Clintons liberal agenda (p.479)
  • Conservatives saw a hedonists
  • Liberals saw a private error with scary enemies
  • Argument of morals v. privacy
  • Family
  • “Ground Zero” for morals and it is fading
    • Conservatives blame the 1960s and the sexual revolution
    • Liberals- “leave people to their private lives” (p.482)
  • Revolution in sex roles (p.483)
    • Independence v tradition
  • Conservatives only chance to fight back at the changes: ironically the welfare state
  • Them
  • Conservatives fund abstinence programs to impact the youth
  • Racist Image change from black crack addicts to single black teen moms (them)
  • Abortion
  • Rowe v Wade – the most controversial case since Dred Scott
    • Infuriated religious groups
    • Brought privacy in politics again

The urge to teach moral lessons through the crime war, drug war and welfare reform twist around the poor people

“Liberalism protects our people from dangerous impulses, from discrimination and hate crimes. But it does not rouse people to win new rights, wider justice, and greater social equity. It does not dream big dreams about a better society.” (p.492)



Our Great Nation

Every time a new group arrives at the gate, we ask “what does this mean for our manifest destiny. What will those people do to the virtues that got us where we are?”

  • New Victorians (The Global War on Terror)
  • Increase Bureaucracy, new laws, new regulation and judicial precedents
  • It provided a permanent legacy for institutions surrounding homeland security
  • Witch Hunting and zero tolerance harm society but brings renewal to national commitment.
  • The New Social Gospel
  • Crisis stirs the shared bonds of our nation
  • Increases awareness of interdependence on each other
  • Need a generation of leaders dedicated to deep changes and meaning in our politics to cause a resurgence of the Social Gospel
  • Need an focusing event to show that New Victorians have reached their limit.
    • Overpopulation of prisons