seize the moral high ground

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seize the moral high ground

To claim, purport, or make it appear that one's arguments, beliefs, ideas, etc., are morally superior to those espoused by others. The senator always tries to seize the moral high ground during a debate so as to shift public opinion in his favor.
See also: ground, high, moral, seize

take, claim, seize, etc. the moral ˈhigh ground

claim that your side of an argument is morally better than your opponents’ side; argue in a way that makes your side seem morally better: Don’t you try to take the moral high ground with me! You’re just as bad as I am!
See also: ground, high, moral
References in periodicals archive ?
Second, success will require that the US president re-examine the sources of US leverage, with Kim having seized the moral high ground internationally with his emergence as a peacemaker.
They have seized the moral high ground, while kicking Berlusconi off a cliff at the edge.
Conservatives seized the moral high ground over public spending early in the downturn, by admitting cuts are needed while Labour was still claiming it could increase cash for services.
In their zeal to expose the peddlers of "vile smears" the newspapers repeated the smears, albeit obliquely, the way newspapers do when they are convinced they have seized the moral high ground but are not quite sure how best to exploit it.
As I'd anticipated, he wasn't the man who'd staked pounds 16 and thereby seized the moral high ground from his fellow winners.
Compare and contrast that with Cardinal Thomas Winning's pronouncements which have seized the moral high ground on the same issue.