Quotation by E.J. Dionne, Jr.

Put simply, conservatives highlight the government's role in promoting individual virtue but downplay the government's responsibility to create a society in which virtue can flourish. Liberals are wary of regulating personal behavior, but would give government a powerful say over the shape of social and economic life. In essence, liberals and conservatives disagree over what are the most important sins. For conservatives, the sins that matter are personal irresponsibility, the flight from family life, sexual permissiveness, the failure of individuals to work hard. For liberals, the gravest sins are intolerance, a lack of generosity toward the needy, narrow-mindedness toward social and racial minorities.
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