Sunday, November 06, 2005


Charges of hypocrisy from those in glass houses

The Right's pulp mill, ever industrious in cranking out manifestos that preach to the choir, has produced this week's must-read tome: Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy by Peter Schweizer. Right-wingers are breathless with praise for this book, which they believe proves forevermore that liberalism is bankrupt, and anybody who takes a stand for social or economic justice or for preserving the planet for future generations is full of crap. That is, unless he or she lives in a cave after first giving away all earthly possessions to the poor, downtrodden masses.

From Schweizer, we learn terribly scandalous nuggets. For example, did you know Michael Moore owns stock in Halliburton? Barbra Streisand lives in a house made of wood! Noam Chomsky has accepted grants from the Pentagon! Cornel West lives among white folks! Al Franken has no black folks working on his staff! Gasp! Horrors! Where will all this madness end?

Obviously these are cheap shots from those who drive gas-guzzling SUVs, tear down historic homes to build mcmansions, care not a whit about the environment, think little about social justice and generally live shallow, materialistic, self-centered lives. They don't like others pointing out their own faults, and books like Schweizer's give them license to feel it's OK to live this way. Hey, at least I'm not a hypocrite, they say.

I certainly try to live my life asking the question, What if everyone behaved this way? It's not easy, and I'm sure some smug little person like Schweizer could come along and find all sorts of inconsistencies. I hate Wal-Mart and try not to give them any of my money, but I shop there on occasion; I especially like their 88-cent music downloads. I try to recycle, but on a few occasions, all those newspapers and magazines I read went into the trash. I consider myself a tree-hugger, but I've used Roundup on my lawn and as a teacher, I go through lots and lots of paper. I even once lived in a house of wood. I strongly believe in rescuing the St. Louis Public Schools but if I had children I wouldn't for one minute have them enrolled there, at least not for now. I frequently criticize all those manufacturing jobs lost to Mexico and China, yet I drive a Honda. Still, all in all, I'd like to think that I'm mostly successful in living as a responsible citizen.

The world is a sticky place, and life is hard. Most liberals want to live lives of reasonable comofort, just like anyone else. We find ourselves making compromises at times. I know that conservatives do too.

I hear all this talk from people who preach morality and responsibility, then I look at some of these preachers. There's thrice-divorced Rush Limbaugh, addicted to OxyContin, a drug as bad as crack or methamphetamine. There's the gambling-addicted Book of Virtues editor Bill Bennett. Don't forget Ralph Reed, who has placed so-called Christian values at the forefront of the national agenda, but has greedily raked in millions in consulting and lobbying fees and can claim the dishonor of Jack Abramoff's friendship. Don't forget Tom Delay, whose heart bled over Terri Schiavo, but whose heart also appears blackened by greed and corruption. Then there's the Bush administration, which suggests that anyone who opposes the war in Iraq is unpatriotic, but thinks nothing of exposing a CIA operative's cover for cynical political opportunism.

Barbra Streisand's wood house is nothing compared to some right-wingers' glass houses.

Just say Oink!

Normally, I think Parade magazine is a rag, but I really enjoyed this weekend's edition with a cover story on wasteful government spending, no doubt a bipartisan blight on the public trust. The author asks how we can balk at rebuilding along the Gulf Coast when we think nothing about the $150 million we spend on things like that bridge to nowhere in Alaska.

If you can't find Parade in your local paper, you can read about it here if you don't mind waiting a week or so.

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"and generally live shallow, materialistic, self-centered lives." What? Hello? Anyone there? Didn't the Mouth just determine in a previous blog that it is indeed LIBERALS who live shallow, materialistic, self-centered lives? Didn't the Mouth find that the RED states gave, and the BLUE states kept for themselves?

AND, PLEASE stop with the defense of "so what" to every offensive attack from conservatives - it is in fact, an admission of no defense at all. Schweizers book, to any reasonable person, showed these liberals for who they are - two faced and insincere. The fact that Moore owns stock in Halliburton IS a big deal, because Moore has constantly been the anti-business, anti-corporation champion and has constantly touted the fact that he ownes no stock as proof of his sincerity. But, let me stop, I didn't write the book. Listen to what the publisher says the book is about - somehow it differs greatly from your interpretation:

"Schweizer argues that even the most outspoken liberals jettison their progressive ideas and adopt conservative principles when it comes to what matters most in their lives – the protection of their property, privacy and families. All are adept at avoiding taxes, invest in the very industries they denounce, and abandon environmental causes when they impinge on their own property rights. While they cry racism and support affirmative action, many have abysmal records when it comes to hiring minorities. They condemn abstinence-based sex education programs, but enroll their own children in such studies. In short, according to Schweizer, liberalism forces its adherents to become hypocrites. His conclusion is strikingly simple and highly persuasive – liberal principles that don’t work for individuals have no place in shaping national programs and policies."
First let me apologize. I made it sound that I think all conservatives are shallow, materialistic and self-centered. I don't feel that way at all. I believe most conservatives are good people who have a different political view than I do.

I do however, believe they live a bizarre paradox. Most conservatives would do anything for an individual they personally saw in need, yet give enthusiastic support to a cold-hearted political agenda that devalues and marginalizes millions of Americans.

Let's also set the record straight. I said that it appears liberals need to give more money to charitable causes. That doesn't equate with shallow, materialistic and self-centered. I could also point out several inconsistencies with this argument that conservatives are more generous, so try to keep your head down to normal hat size.

Now I'm sorry that you don't like my so-what argument. But I spent a great deal of time looking at Schweizer's book one day while killing time at Borders, and I found it to be gossipy, gimmicky trash. He merely finds silly inconsistencies with people who advocate social responsibility.

Judging by the blurb you wanted us to read, the publisher seems to argue that conservatives are tax-dodgers, racists and polluters. But, hey, at least they're not hypocrites about it.
Oh and just a quick note to mwcart with Bank One Student Loan: Piss off, and let us geeks argue politics in peace.
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