Here's an old peeve of mine that I'm bringing out because partly because today is the God or Not carnival on morality, and partly because of something that came up in a discussion of torture of U.S. detainees. It's something of a gear shift from the essay I submitted to the carnival, so let me say this: I'm willing to amuse myself with epistemic skepticism, but I'm pretty confident that I have hands and the sun will rise tomorrow. Similarly, I'm pretty confident about some things morally, the above essay aside.
The second source of this post is when Glenn Reynolds called Andrew Sullivan "consistently, pompously, and annoyingly moralistic" - with regards to Andrew's hammering of torture on the government's watch. Say what else you will about Sullivan, that being moralistic about torture is supposed to be a bad thing shows how screwy our society's attitude towards morality has gotten.
We have formed up a concept of "morality" that is largely about sex, lying, and a handful of other vices. This is often taken to obscene lengths - so much that when we hear "moralistic," we are more likely to think about scum like the Rev. Phelps those who believe in treating gays as human beings, more likely to think about people who oppose vaccinations for STDs than those who want to save women's lives.
There are many organizations that are willing to fight fundamenalists on these moral issues. What we need, though, is one that is willing to stand up and frame its fight as a moral one - which it is. We need to revitalize the cause of morality against people who's conscience is back in the Middle Ages.