Liberalism’s Biggest Lie: If You Like Your Morality, You Can Keep Your Morality


A lot of attention has been paid to President Obama’s less than forthright efforts to sell the Affordable Care Act when it was still pending before the Congress.  He told voters that the law would have no consequences for people who were happy with their already-existing coverage: “If you like your health care, you can keep your health care.”  But when the law was implemented, it turned out that that promise was no good.  Reform by falsehood is not exactly the way of democratic self-government, so this issue has deserved all the attention it has gotten.

But, I argue over at Public Discourse, Americans over the last couple of generations have been duped by an even bigger and bolder falsehood.  They have been assured by cultural liberals (wrongly as it has turned out): “If you like your morality, you can keep your morality.”  That is, with every effort they have made to “liberate” the culture from some provision of traditional sexual morality, these liberals have acted as if nothing was at stake but a small change in the prevailing ethics–when in fact the principles they were laying down would turn out to have revolutionary consequences.


Here’s my conlcusion:

After polygamy, what will be liberalism’s new frontier of sexual liberation? Lowering the age of consent? Abolishing laws against prostitution? Normalization of adult incest? No one can say.

It is both troubling and galling to think that we are now at the end of a fifty-year fraud that has been perpetrated on us in relation to some of the most important things in human life. But it is even more troubling to realize that we may not in fact be at the end but still in the middle of that great fraud, to realize that there are still more consequences to face, now hidden and even denied but nevertheless approaching inexorably with the unfolding of the logic of sexual liberation. The moral mugging is not over but still going on.

No one can say where sexual liberation will stop, because liberalism will not be honest with the country about its ultimate ends, and may not even know those ends itself. This makes contemporary sexual liberalism a frightening spectacle, and Americans ought to reexamine their commitment to it. The unchecked progress of sexual liberalism means that we cannot say what kind of moral culture our children will inhabit as adults or, accordingly, what kind of moral culture will form our grandchildren. No responsible person can support such a movement.

The argument supporting the conclusion is here.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Carson Holloway is a political scientist and the author of The Way of Life: John Paul II and the Challenge of Liberal Modernity (Baylor University Press), The Right Darwin? Evolution, Religion, and the Future of Democracy (Spence Publishing), and All Shook Up: Music, Passion and Politics (Spence Publishing), and the editor of a collection of essays entitled Magnanimity and Statesmanship (Lexington Books). His articles have appeared in the Review of Politics, Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy, Perspectives on Political Science, and First Things. He is a regular contributor to the online journal The Public Discourse. Holloway was a 2005-06 William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Northern Illinois University in 1998.

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