The Record's Dustin Racioppi has actually taken to tracking the gubernatorial candidates on where they stand on what they, the candidates, believe are "moral" issues. What is fascinating about this is just what goes for morality these days.
Basically, it comes down to symbols. In Phil Murphy's shallow world, for a man to be moral he need not control his appetites, and he need not be "spiritual" in any traditional way. For Phil Murphy, morality consists of reading "fault" into what others do, pointing to it, and then condemning it to demonstrate your superior "virtue."
To place Phil Murphy's take on morality in context, we have to turn to the Bible, which warns: “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
Murphy's new morality allows its acolytes to see themselves as superior. Looking for signs of "sin" in others or interpreting their actions as "sinful" kills mercy and destroys the possibility of collaboration, of progress. Instead of sharing in the human condition of sin, in the brotherhood of imperfection, some are apportioned as "good" and others as "evil" -- and so no commonality is possible between the two. By keeping the focus on the perceived faults of others, it allows those who embrace this new morality to forget their own faults. Of course, the resulting moral reflection one gets from all this is as distorted as that from a circus mirror.
Steve Lonegan, the father of the modern conservative movement in New Jersey, ticked off the areas of morality apparently not covered by Phil Murphy's moral compass. He started with life itself.
Science recognizes that the fetus or unborn child feels pain in the womb at 20 weeks. This is a matter of science, not faith. Most of the world's governments recognize this, and in all but seven countries they base their laws regulating abortion on this science. Communist China, North Korea, Vietnam... and the United States are among those seven nations that don't.
Phil Murphy believes that abortion is a kind of sacrament -- one to be practiced up to the moment of birth. He and his allies use the term "sacrosanct" -- a religious word meaning "most sacred or holy." What can we say about a moral code that claims that ending a life, or even, a potential life, is a "sacred or holy" act?
Of course, Phil Murphy, along with his party, holds that the taking of the life of a serial murderer; or someone who rapes and murders children; or someone who rapes, murders, dismembers, and eats children; or indeed your garden variety terrorist who kills a few thousand innocents -- they should not get the same sanction as Murphy and his allies serve up to "inconvenient" life. In the new morality embraced by Phil Murphy, the death penalty is wrong. But only when it is part of an extensive judicial process. When the President he served extra-judicially imposed the death penalty on American citizens and foreign nationals, that was okay. Their lives became as meaningless as those "inconvenient" lives.
Phil Murphy inhabits a moral shallowland, in which symbols are used as garments to clothe the decadent flesh of those wishing to appear "virtuous."
Phil Murphy also has a curious "morality" when it comes to elected officials accepting gifts -- or the company of young women -- from rich "benefactors". Of course, Phil Murphy is a "man of the world" and such men accept such things, normalize them, and incorporate them into their "morality." They do this, much as they accept the presence of slave labor and the profits from slave labor in the global economy. Phil Murphy is a very rich man, and rich men do not grow richer by concerning themselves with the 45 million in slavery today. Far better to pocket the profits from slavery that globalism offers and to content oneself with symbols like, the band banner used by Hank Williams Jr. (or even the logo from the group KISS). It is better to condemn and distract than to own up and go without the profits from modern slavery.
And when confronted with legislation like the Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation Prevention Act, Phil Murphy and his moral allies ask: "What do the corporate giants think and how will it affect their profits?" What are the loss of a few thousand children each year to sexual slavery when profits are at stake? Stick to condemning symbols and be assured that you are "moral" and "good" and that the other man is "bad." And pocket those profits.
The harm done by Phil Murphy, in his most capitalist incarnation, while a Wall Street banker would lead a more introspective man to become a recluse -- or a monk. But these are shameless times and the new morality-- and the lubricant of money -- injects a narcotic lethargy into the former keepers of what was, the public morality. So a few million were made destitute, had their lives ruined, families displaced, dreams destroyed, and the death penalty of economic circumstance called suicide imposed -- so what? There is nothing to see here, move on say the Record, and the Ledger, and the Times, and the Press. Move on. The dead will be buried and their pain forgotten. Move on.
It's time for symbols.