Excessively consistent practice of either

My criticism of the Progressivism of that period [1890-1917] is the opposite of [J. Allen] Smith’s—not that the Progressives most typically undermined or smashed standards, but that they set impossible standards, that they were victimized, in brief, by a form of moral absolutism. It is possible that the distinction between moral relativism and moral absolutism has sometimes been blurred because an excessively consistent practice of either leads to the same practical result—ruthlessness in political life.

–Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform (1955), pp 15-16


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