Hypocrisy has long been an effective weapon for the Left in its political fight against conservatives. The national liberal media has delighted in taking down a few notches conservative pundits such as Dr. Laura Schlessinger (who promoted traditional values on her radio show but posed nude for photos in her youth), Rush Limbaugh (who condemned drug addicts and traffickers on his radio show but became addicted to prescription painkillers and procured them illegally), and Bill Bennett (who wrote books promoting a wide range of virtues and criticized the moral failings of Bill Clinton but was himself a heavy gambler). All three of those individuals suffered personal embarrassment when those indiscretions came to light. They ended up taking responsibility for their actions, acknowledged their shortcomings, and were contrite.
Conservatives understand that hypocrisy is part of the human condition, due to the fact that human nature is flawed. As a result, conservatives believe in a constitutionally limited government constrained by a system of checks and balances because, as English historian John Acton explained, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Furthermore, just because some conservatives stumble and fall while defending high standards of virtue and morality does not mean that those standards are invalidated and need not be followed by the rest of society.
There has been lots of talk about conservative hypocrisy in the national liberal media but, perhaps not surprisingly, there has been a reluctance to cover liberal hypocrisy in the same manner. After all, the liberals in the media, and there are lots of them, do not want to give ammunition to their political adversaries. Liberals, who often refer to themselves as “progressives,” like to project an image of moral superiority when it comes to such issues as social justice, economic inequality, and fairness. They are convinced of their altruism, their noble intentions, and the selfish motives of their political opponents. Consequently, liberals support a plethora of so-called progressive policies, such as affirmative action, that give preferences to minorities in everything from college admissions to job hiring; the graduated income tax that takes disproportionately more from those who earn more; and greater government regulation of the private sector. Such policies are not promoted for just practical reasons but also because they are considered to be right and just. For example, raising taxes on the wealthier members of society is done not just to balance the government’s budget but also to correct a perceived social injustice. Liberals contend that it is not enough to encourage the rich to give to the poor; the rich must be compelled to do so through progressive taxation and income redistribution because liberals deem it unfair that some people have more than they need while others are living in poverty.
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