COLUMN -- Liberal hypocrites should practice what they preachPosted by Craig Westover | 6:25 AM |
Wednesday, February 1, 2006
I usually don't have high expectations of conservative outreach. Generally, it's an evening of breaking bread, bashing a few liberals and taking a swipe or two at the mainstream media. It's not the food, but the content that sometimes leaves one wanting a little more to chew on.
The recent Center of the American Experiment Forum featuring Peter Schweizer, however, pleasantly exceeded my expectations — surprising because Schweizer's topic was his pugnaciously titled book, "Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy."
The evening's entrée was laughter at the personal peccadilloes of the liberals conservatives love to hate, from Michael Moore to Nancy Pelosi and from Edward Kennedy to Minnesota's own Al Franken. However, Schweizer also served up some serious reflection on hypocrisy in both liberal and conservative flavors.
Hypocrisy requires the courage to declare convictions in the first place, and failure to live according to one's values reflects on both one's character and on the viability of the principles one professes. Conservative and liberal hypocrisy differs in two significant ways.
Conservatives who set themselves up as defenders of public morality and virtue sometimes fail to live up to the values they profess. However, Schweizer observes, when conservatives betray their public principles, they don't do so for personal gain.
When conservatives breach their beliefs — Rush Limbaugh's OxyContin addiction and Bill Bennett's gambling forays, for example — they harm only themselves and their families. That individual conservatives fail to meet the high moral standards they set for themselves doesn't invalidate the moral principles they violate.
"Conservative principles are like guardrails on a winding road," Schweizer said. "They can be constraining and even annoying, but smash through them at your own risk."
Self-inflicted harm and enduring principles contrast sharply with the personal gain and unworkable policies evidenced by liberal hypocrisy.
Liberals dogmatically espouse economic justice, equality and fairness, diversity and environmentalism. Dedicated to selfless virtues, liberals regard themselves as more altruistic, more sensitive to the needs of the oppressed and morally superior to the rest of us.
Unfortunately, unlike conservatives, liberals do not confine their moral superiority to personal conduct and individual responsibility. They usurp the power of government to impose progressive taxation, affirmative action, a steep inheritance tax, and whatever other measures are deemed necessary to conform the heathen masses to their sense of purpose.
But do they practice themselves what they inflict on we uncircumcised Philistines?
Ted Kennedy, champion of a steep inheritance tax, lives quite well off a Kennedy family trust that avoids just such a tax — set up on the island of Fiji. Funding Kennedy's inheritance (and nephew Robert's environmentalism) are oil profits enhanced by Kennedy-sponsored depletion allowances.
On projects over which they had direct control of hiring, race-baiting Michael Moore and Al Franken hired a percentage of African-Americans lower than that bastion of "racism," Bob Jones University.
Cesar Chavez Award-winning Nancy Pelosi uses non-union labor to harvest the $2 million crop on her $25 million Napa Valley vineyard. Ralph Nader crusades against corporate greed but personally manages a $2.1 million stock portfolio. Describing the U.S. military as a "fascist institution," Noam Chomsky consults for the Pentagon.
Those hypocrisies are not actions hastily taken in the face of temptation. They form a consistent pattern of behavior in direct contradiction to policies powerful liberals so blatantly endow with the force of law.
While liberal hypocrisy certainly says something about the character or lack thereof of the liberal elite, it also damns liberal policy, Schweizer says, as "ultimately self-defeating, self-destructive and unworkable."
The "hypocritical" actions of liberals in and of themselves are hardly evil. Powerful liberals simply do in their personal lives what the rest of us desire the freedom to do in ours. They hire the best qualified employees. They seek the best pay for their labor. They invest their money where it brings them the best return. They protect what they earn for their children and grandchildren. Fundamentally, they pursue happiness as they choose.
Hypocrisy is a forgivable human failing, and "do as I say, not as I do" will be with us as long as there are parents raising children. But when the powerful doing otherwise use the law to enforce "do as I say," does that not bring into question the policies they publicly promote?
Category: Column, Center of the American Experiment, National Politics, Liberal Hypocrisy