Friday, February 03, 2006

READER RESPONSE -- Real fan mail

Posted by Craig Westover | 7:51 AM |  

Among the criticism of my Pioneer Press column from this week, has come a lot of "attaboys" from the conservative side of the asile for "tellling it like it is" and the like. I take some of that fan mail with the proverbial grain of salt in that it's simply an expression of frustration with the perceived "liberal media bias" and gratitude for a conservative point of view. However, some people actually "get it." Here's one of them.

Craig, another great column, you’re right on the money. I’ve had my own experience with liberal hypocrisy. For instance, before the 2004 Presidential election, I emailed the Sierra club to ask why they supported John Kerry for President and if they were going to be critical of his and his wife’s use of SUV’S. Well they touted his environmental record of that being so much better then George Bush’s (ok fair enough) but they were not going to criticize him because they wanted him to win. Shouldn’t a true believer in the dangers of global warming be the 1st to set an example though? I’ve also asked Laura Billings after reading her columns on global warming and what she’s done in her own personal live to cut back on her energy levels and green house gas emissions. No reply of course. I still see quite a few Kerry Edwards bumper stickers on SUVs and it makes me wonder if that’s all you have to do to be considered an environmentalist. Do as I say not as I do!

I don’t consider myself an environmentalist, but here is what I personally accomplished in 2005;

1) Rode my bicycle to work 1,200 miles, I intend to increase it 10% in 06.

2) Had a new energy efficient furnace installed by Boehm heating, tracking therms used month by month to verify energy use.

3) Added 10” fiberglass insulation on top of 6” in attic and increased ventilation.

4) Canceled Labor Day fall river trip down to Iowa because of gas hitting $3.00 a gallon.

5) Used my BOB bicycle trailer to haul as many as 7 radio control planes to our flying site rather then using the car.

I’m not bragging but if I can do that, why can’t the so called environment [gang] at least take some responsibility to change their habits, even in small ways?

Thank you,

Walter J. Huemmer

St Paul MN

The Sierra Club email Walt received echoes the email I recieved from a reader --
Even if your so-called "hypocritical liberals" are guilty of your accusations, they at least make some attempt to better society for those of us who are struggling to make ends meet.
This response goes beyond forgiveness and understanding of the human failing that hypocrisy is to justifying it in the name of a greater good.

Contrast with conservatives. Certainly when Rush Limbaugh’s OxyContin addiction become known, conservatives wanted to forgive the great Rush. But it was his apology, his personal admission of his failing, that secured that forgiveness.

In his book, "Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy," author Peter Schweizer writes about liberal icon Noam Chomsky.
“Corporate america is one of Chomsky’s demons. It’s hard to find anything positive he might say about American business. He paints an ominous vision of America suffering under the ‘unaccountable and deadly rule of corporations.” He has called corporations ‘private tyrannies’ and declared that they are ‘just as totalitarian as Bloshevism and fascism.’ Capitalism, in his words is a ‘grotesque catastrophe.’”
Schweizer then details Chomsky’s invest fund that includes holding in “all sorts of businesses that Chomsky says he finds abhorrent -- oil companies, military contractors, pharmaceuticals, you name it.”

But here’s the money quote from Chomsky, which one ought to contrast with Limbaugh’s apology. Via email, Schweizer asked Chomsky about his investment portfolio. Chomsky’s response --
“Should I live in a cabin in Montana?”
As Schweitzer notes, Chomsky’s response avoids the question. Essentially, he was admitting that despite his rhetoric, there is simply no way to avoid the stock market short of withdrawing to a “cabin in Montana.”
“He certainly knows better,” [writes Schweizer]. “In addition to money market funds and bonds, there are many alternative funds these days that allow you to invest your money in “green” or “socially responsible” enterprises. They just don’t yield the maximum available return.”
And therein lies the rub for the elite and powerful that set the liberal agenda. Liberal sin is not that what liberals do in private is corrupt or illegal. In fact, the actions they take are, from a conservative perspective, quite admirable. In Chomsky’s case, he simply desires to invest his money where it will garner the greatest return. Go Noam. Their sin lies in the fact they simply will not admit that they act out of self-interest or, confronted with the contradiction between their philosophy and their lives, they see no need to change either.

And ultimately, that continued contradiction is what makes the liberal elite despicable. While they privately take advantage of the benefits of the society they denigrate, millions of people aspire to the society that the liberal elite profess publicly -- ultimately to their personal harm. That is, as Schweizer notes, the real tragedy.

Category: Reader Response, Liberal Hypocrisy