Ethical Structures and Political Realities

Andrew wrote a thoughtful response to a couple of my earlier posts and I want to comment on something he said,

“Regarding which values are best, I’m a bit troubled by dismissing things like authority, justice and purity as reasons for ethics. Surely, at least Christians, have some good reasons not to do that.”

Just a note, Haidt would say that justice fits into both liberal and conservative systems. While I can agree that parts of a good ethical system might derive from these values, my concern is the circumstances under which they might be properly implemented in public policy. It is tricky enough to figure out what fairness/justice or care means or how it can be a component of our public policy, something like purity can be almost an aesthetic decision while group identity and authority concerns might be met with just questions: Whose group? What authority?