The Hypocrisy of the Left?

The left revels in its self-image of being the more generous, tolerant and sophisticated side of the political spectrum. In political terms, progressives cast themselves first and foremost as defenders of the downtrodden. They take it as a given that if only the knuckle-draggers on the right would get out of the way, their policy prescriptions would quickly light the way to the just, inevitable and above-all correct future. Let’s take a closer look at their pretenses of moral superiority.

1. Generosity?

It’s well-established that conservatives, devoutly believing as most do in the personal responsibilities that come with freedom, give more of their own money to charity than progressives do; even so, progressives tell themselves that they are really more generous than their allegedly greedy and apparently obtuse political opponents because they – the left – tend to support more bounteous (and much more behaviorally controlling, ultimately culture-changing) government programs.

Generosity is thus depersonalized – and if a well-off progressive can arrange his or her affairs to avoid personally paying much in the way of the taxes, well, that’s evidence of his or her intellectual superiority and a win/win. In their minds they did all the right they needed to do by providing political support for heftier entitlements programs.

Be that as it may, one who takes the trouble to look closely can’t help but see a darker side to the depersonalized generosity-of-policy approach…

If progressives really cared about the poor, would they continue to advocate waging a ‘War on Poverty’ that – for over fifty years! – has had the demonstrable (and readily anticipatable) effects of changing the culture among the poorest recipients of government assistance by discouraging marriage and on-the-books work? Would they stay with the same strategy even as our nation develops a seemingly-permanent, trapped, dependent and understandably angry underclass?

And about that anger, would they encourage impoverished Americans to hold tight to historical ethnic grievances and the idea that others hate them for who they are in schools and through popular entertainment and the media? Would they intentionally foster a permanent sense of apartness from – and anger at – the rest of society? Does that sense help the people who learn it – or the Democrats who depend on their votes?

Would they pretend that payroll taxes aren’t income taxes by another name to hide their extreme regressiveness and their effects as disincentives for the poor to work? Would they support federal deductions for state and local taxes that benefit only the well-to-do?

Would they support high minimum wages and overturning right-to-work laws as favors to the Democrats’ private sector union allies even though both actions eliminate entry-level job opportunities that could give poor people the dignity and the opportunities that often flow from honest work?

Would they support unlimited immigration from poorer countries to garner cheap labor and presumed-Democrat votes in spite of the increased demand for necessarily limited government services and competition for entry-level jobs that such immigration inevitably brings?

Would they insist that the best fix for the failing school systems that most poor children are forced into is to shovel ever-more funding toward the Democrats’ teachers union allies rather than give choices to poor kids’ parents that would force some accountability into systems that presently have none?

Would they positively encourage riots for political gain (at least during election season), in the name of ‘social justice’, no less, even though riots do lasting harm to inner-city neighborhoods and almost invariably destroy locally-owned businesses? Would they demonize and try to defund the police at the cost of much higher, and often lethal, inner-city crime?

Really, they would do any of those things if they cared about the poor?

It almost seems as if progressives hate the poor. That’s probably not the case, though; I’m guessing that they would just prefer to buy their acquiescence to the status quo and their party loyalty with taxpayer dollars. Divide, pay off and conquer. It seems to be a winning political strategy – but compassion it ain’t.

2. Tolerance?

The left is perfectly tolerant as long as you agree with everything they say or do, and openly antagonistic if you don’t. Anything you say not in tune with present-tense progressive ideology is likely to be deemed hate speech and, if possible, they will punish you for it – unless you’re a prominent leftist, in which case they’ll do their best to hide the evidence of, or excuse, your ‘sin’.

If you support a Republican candidate or, even worse, push back on progressives’ policy prescriptions in some public forum, you will ipso facto be deemed a racist and may find yourself ‘doxxed’ and then ‘cancelled’, meaning publicly identified so that you can be targeted by other leftists, then boxed out of opportunities for gainful employment.

Further, the left believes that all of our Western antecedents, especially our nation’s erstwhile heroes (and excepting only certain classes of Designated Victims), were morally inferior creatures who should be actively dishonored. If they had original sin, irrespective of what good they may have done – Lincoln, saving the union and freeing the slaves, ultimately at the expense of his life, say – they are to be scorned.

Statues of the Founders? Tear them all down in the name of tolerance. Portraits of long-dead judges? They make a fair trial impossible. The great (Western) literature of the past? Throw it all away. That’s what tolerance looks like!

Remember: only present day leftists, Designated Victims and those of other cultures are to be celebrated.

(As an aside, I have sometimes imagined the shock that some of today’s ‘social justice warriors’ might experience if a time machine transported them back – for only a few days – 1,000 or 2,000 or even 10,000 years, when none of their so-called ‘rights’ to things produced by others, nor the liberties secured by our forbears that they take for granted, held for any but the warlords – then returned them to the present. Would they still condemn all those historical figures who somehow, almost magically and notwithstanding their own shortcomings, helped lead us from there to here?)

Most historically Western religious beliefs must also be stamped out in the name of tolerance. (Think I’m kidding? Under a draft law being debated in Scotland, reading certain sections of the Bible to your own children in the privacy of your home would be a criminal act).

Non-Western belief systems are exempt from the general proscriptions of traditional religious thought, though: showing any disrespect to them, even the ones that directly conflict with progressive shibboleths, let alone our mores generally, would constitute Western Oppression and is therefore forbidden.

Freedom of speech, religion and even thought? Fuhgeddaboudit, as far as the left is concerned.

3. Sophistication?

New class progressives take great pride in the worldliness of their views. They are – in fact or aspirationally – members of the credentialed, globalist elite.

Progressives believe that prestigious academic credentials define a person’s value and justify his or her telling others how to live their lives. An Ivy League degree in Victimhood Studies bespeaks more important knowledge to them than that possessed by the plumbers, electricians, carpenters and farmers they can’t live without.

It follows that getting into the right schools matters much more than what you do – or learn – once there. And adopting, or at least parroting, progressive views is increasingly seen as a gating item on the road to earning such elite credentials; but just being a progressive makes you an aspirational member of the self-designated global elite.

But the real payoff is in becoming an actual, rather than a merely credentialed or aspirational, member of the progressive elite. That status allows you to profit, guilt-free, from slave labor in China, say, or from selling tools of oppression to tyrannical regimes, or from polluting overseas lands in a manner that would never be allowed here.

The progressive elites have more sophisticated views of their roles in the world than, y’know, regular Americans. Who are Westerners, after all, to judge how other cultures manage their people and resources – or to miss out on the great business opportunities their different styles of governance present?

The left knows that the West has been the source of most of the world’s ills, so now we must be supremely non-judgmental – while taking opportunities to make killings wherever possible. And if American workers lose their jobs in the process of American-domiciled employers shifting production from here to there, well, that’s just how the cookie crumbles: as progressives, the tech oligarchs are definitionally on the side of the angels, after all.

And finally, so sophisticated are our insistently progressive global media companies that they no longer think of their jobs as being to present old-fashioned ‘straight’ news for their readers or viewers to make their own judgements about; now they curate information in a manner that they hope will help ‘bend the arc of history’ in the direction they think best.

Information about a Biden scandal or about possible voting fraud or about the Chinese honey-trap into which a prominent Democrat Congressman (and member of the – so-called – Intelligence Committee fell? Don’t look into it – suppress it. Wild rumors and Democrat-funded innuendo about Trump? Promote it! Meanwhile, sanctimoniously wrap your business decisions in the sacred clothing of the fourth estate – and use that privileged position to your best advantage.

***

Hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue, said François de La Rochefoucauld some 300 years ago; with a knowing hypocrite it’s also an unfailing sign that he doesn’t think his audience is very bright.

In many cases, though, what appears to be hypocrisy is simple foolishness on the part of the seeming hypocrite. Oddly enough, this looks to me like the more charitable possible explanation of most leftists’ sanctimoniousness. I, for one, would prefer to believe that many more progressives think their policies are for the good of all than the numbers who cynically play such policies for personal advantage knowing the harm they cause.

That said, though, if it’s ignorance that feeds progressives’ egos, for too many it’s the willful ignorance of looking away from the problems their policies have had a role in creating.

Oh, and the leftists’ pose of moral superiority? I’m not buying it. Not even a little bit.

M.H. Johnston

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