Alan Wolfe, the director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College, provides a profound view into the state of morality in modern America. Today society of the United States is mostly regarded for consumerism and dissolution of morals. The American society is known for conformism and individualism at the same time. In fact, these definitions are not contradicting, as individualism is revealed in the fact that each citizen first of all cares about his own welfare and does not always share the values of the community. Meanwhile, conformism means that no one likes to stand out of the crowd and walk against the mass. Exploring collective character of the nation, Alan Wolfe turned to the 2000 poll by the New York Times Magazine and found out that most of the nation looks for traditional solution “to reconcile individual freedom with the demands of a common morality” (Wolfe 2001, p. 12). He has come to the solution that despite the stereotypes about the morals of the Americans they still have high standards of virtuous behavior, but do not want these standards to be mandated. As for the evil, it once used to have specific forms in the conscience of the nation (Richard Nixon was once a personification), but now it is mostly comprehended abstractly. Moral freedom is now the revolutionary ideal which coexists with the need for a measure of moral choices.

On the whole, according to the observations of Alan Wolfe, the American’s moderate approach to virtue provides the opportunity for moral freedom without anarchy.

References

Bok, H. (1998). Freedom and Responsibility. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Fischer, J.M. (1983). Incompatibilism. Philosophical Studies, 43, 121–37.

Fischer, John Martin (1989). God, Foreknowledge and Freedom. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Holton, Richard. (2011). Response to ‘Free Will as Advanced Action Control for Human Social Life and Culture’ by Roy F. Baumeister, A. William Crescioni and Jessica L. Alquist. Neuroethics, 4, 13–16.

Wolfe, Alan (2001). Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.