Jonah Goldberg

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."

So I guess under a Kerry administration, America's civil rights and economic and environmental policies would all be voluntary?

The point is simply this: Hypocrisy is bad, sure. But it's a human failing that should fall upon the individual in question. What the left wants to do is use hypocrisy as a cudgel to declare that conservative ideals are categorically illegitimate because some conservatives fail to live up to them. But we all fail to live up to our ideals sometimes (just ask John Edwards, who wants get rid of everyone's SUV, save the one in his driveway). That's sort of why we call them "ideals." Most of us don't fall as far as Larry Craig seems to have fallen, but that's not necessarily an indictment of his arguments, it's an indictment of the man.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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