The Good Life is an engaging, reasoned look at American values: how the angry political right hijacks and corrupts ideas about morality, how the fringe political left abandons the moral outlook, and how antimoralism from many sources results in cruelty, harsh law, dangerous irrationality, corrupt religion, greed, and gross inequality, and undermines American democracy. Cheryl Mendelson reminds us how far these trends have taken us from our roots, and how a humane democracy, with its freedoms, depends on the moral sense of its citizens.
Medelson gives clear-sighted descriptions, free of ideology, of what morality really is, tracing it to its psychological roots, and of the antimoralism behind familiar cultural tics like authoritarianism, the culture of "cool," irrationalist movements in politics and religion, and the sterility of academic attempts to understand the moral life. Along the way, she gives a clear, persuasive explanation of why moral truth exists and why believing this doesn't force us to be dogmatic and judgmental. Mendelson's book is a bracing polemic, but it is also inspiring and, with its eye-opening analysis of the moral mentality, an education in what it means to be moral in an antimoral world.