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Why Hypocrisy Never Sticks to the Left

John on August 31, 2007 at 1:21 am

Jonah Goldberg has an amusing column up at Townhall reflecting on liberalism and it’s war on hypocrisy:

The left claims to hate “moralizers.” So any failure to live like Jesus while telling others to follow his example is an outrage, even the defining challenge of our lives. (In 2005, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean pledged, “I will use whatever position I have in order to root out hypocrisy.”)

One solution to the hypocrisy epidemic, of course, is to have no morals at all. You can’t violate your principles if you don’t have any. Another solution: simply define down your principles until they are conveniently consistent with your preferred lifestyle. My own perfect moral code would mandate a strict regimen of not enough exercise, too much scotch and a diet rich in cured meats. Men would be religiously barred from taking out the garbage until their wives told them no less than three times to do so. “Thou Shalt Not Shave More Than Thrice Monthly”: I’d never be a hypocrite if only the Bible gave us commandments like that.

But the left has another solution. Under its system, you can still be a moralizer. You can still tell people what to do and how to live. And, best of all, you can still fall short of your ideals personally while guiltlessly trying to use government to impose your moral vision on others. All you have to do is become a liberal moralizer.

Once you become a liberal, you can wax eloquent on the glories of the public schools while sending your kids to private school. You can wax prolix about the greedy rich while making a fortune on the side. You can even use the government to impose your values willy-nilly, from racial quotas and confiscatory tax rates to draconian environmental policies and sex-ed for grade-schoolers – all of which will paid for in part by people who disagree with you.

You don’t even have to give up traditional religion, so long as you now define the teachings of your faith in perfect compliance with the Democratic platform.

Why, just look at John Kerry. In 2004, the Democratic nominee repeatedly insisted that his religious faith is “why I fight against poverty. That’s why I fight to clean up the environment and protect this earth. That’s why I fight for equality and justice. All of those things come out of that fundamental teaching and belief of faith.” Great! But when it comes to, say, abortion, consulting one’s faith is a no-no: “What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn’t share that article of faith.”

The phrase that comes to mind is “Physician, heal thyself.”

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