There are many liberals who lead thoroughly decent lives. And there are conservatives who do not.
But that is not the whole issue.
There is something about liberalism that is not nearly as true about conservatism. The further left one goes, the more one finds that the ideology provides moral cover for a life that is not moral. While many people left of center lead fine personal lives, many do not. And left-wing ideals enable a person to do that much more than conservative ideals do.
There is an easy way to demonstrate this.
If a married -- or even unmarried -- conservative congressman had texted sexual images of himself to young women he did not even know, he would have been called something Anthony Wiener has not been called -- a hypocrite.
Why? Because conservatives -- secular conservatives, not only religious conservatives -- are identified with moral values in the personal sphere, and liberals are not. Liberals rarely called Bill Clinton a hypocrite for his extramarital affair while president. George W. Bush would have been pilloried as such.
Simply put, we do not generally judge personal conduct the same when it comes to liberals and conservatives.
Both liberals and conservatives know this. As a result, as noted, liberal social positions can provide moral cover for immoral behavior in a way that conservative positions cannot.
Though there are many sincere liberals, it is likely that this ability to provide moral cover for a less than moral life is one source of liberalism's appeal.
I first thought about this when I saw how the left-wing students at my graduate school, Columbia University, behaved. Aside from their closing down classes, taking over office buildings, and ransacking professors' offices, I saw the way in which many of them conducted themselves in their personal lives. Most of them had little sense of personal decency, and lived lives of narcissistic hedonism. Women who were involved with leftist groups have told of how poorly they were treated. And one suspects that they would have been treated far better by conservative, let alone religious, men on campus.
My sense was that the radicals' commitment to "humanity," to "peace," and to "love" gave them license to feel good about themselves without having to lead a good life. Their vocal opposition to war and to racism provided them with all the moral self-esteem they wanted.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”
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