Liberalism Makes It Easier to be Bad

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.

Consider the example of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. He had been expelled from college for paying someone to take his exams. His role in the death of a woman with whom he spent an evening would have sent almost anyone without his family name to prison — or would have at least resulted in prosecution for negligent homicide. And he spent decades using so many women in so public a way that stories about his sex life were routinely told in Washington. Read the 9,000-word 1990 article in GQ by Michael Kelly, who a few years later became the editor of the New Republic.

When this unimpressive man started espousing liberal positions, speaking passionately about the downtrodden in society, it recalled the unimpressive students who marched on behalf of civil rights, peace and love.

It is quite likely that Ted Kennedy came to believe in the positions that he took. But I also suspect that he found espousing those positions invaluable to his self-image and to his public image: "Look at what a moral man I am after all." And liberal positions were all that mattered to the left and to the liberal media that largely ignored such lecherous behavior as the "waitress sandwich" he made in a Washington, D.C. restaurant with another prominent liberal, former Senator Chris Dodd.

In addition to knowing that liberal positions provide moral cover for immoral personal behavior, liberals know that their immoral behavior will be given more of pass than exactly the same behavior would if done by a conservative.

Women’s groups provided Bill Clinton with enormous moral capital because he supported their feminist agenda. One leading feminist famously said she would be happy to get on her knees and pleasure Clinton thanks to his pro-choice position on abortion.

Conservative politicians have the same sex drive as liberal politicians, the same marital problems and the same ubiquitous temptations and opportunities. And some will therefore engage in extramarital sex. But every conservative politician knows that should he be caught, his positions on issues not only do not provide moral cover for his conduct, those very positions condemn it. There is no benefit to the conservative sinner in being a conservative. There is great benefit to the liberal sinner in being a liberal.

Dennis Prager’s latest book, "Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph," was published April 24 by HarperCollins. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.Com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

  • plsilverman

    Conservatives have better morals, sure: the hard left loves recreational abortion and the hard right loves to create wars for favored contractors. yeah, they are a lot more “moral”. it’s a wash. and they both take NRA and Tobacco money.

  • plsilverman

    DENNIS: Now come on, Dennis. Republicans got better morals? Sure…especially these days: trying to undue Civil Rights Legislation, Voting Rights; promoting manufactured wars so the 47%ers, unwashed anyway, can fight them? abortion? yes, I find it appalling except when it’s a medical need, etc. But you guys just love those wars….and don’t give me LBJ. > Vietnam and Iraq were manufactured by Conservatives…consider all the women and children left to die – that “collateral” thing.

    • mcveen

      Yeah, and liberals always want to cover their policy failures with appeals toward “defenseless women and children” and other appeals to higher moral ground. Its another great big joke perpetrated by liberal democrats. Most democrats, as individuals, have NO moral ground. Their philosophy is to get most possible with least effort.

      OK, sorry, everyone knew that.

      • plsilverman

        nah. both parties have good fundamentals. Dems are more blue collar – Repubs are more white collar. DEms like to raise taxes, REpubs do not (a moot point-DEms like the taxes and REpubs like the parkway tolls); LBJ aside, DEms are less prone to warmongering; to outsourcing; to tax breaks for the very rich. DEms tend to favor the small employer over corporations. negative side: both parties extremes are generally deplorable; hard left hates Israel and loves recreational abortion; hard right, as I said above, likes wars like Vietnam and Iraq. Dems say healthcare is a right; Repubs say it is a privilege; same with voting. hard left tends to champion the new porno culture; the hard right is appalled and they are right. my idols are centrists , like Nixon, Bush I, Eisenhower, Clinton, and Obama. today Regan would be very much a moderate Republican. his amnesty program and “47%” program would be considered hardcore socialism.

        • mcveen

          That’s pretty good. I see some hope for you buddy.

  • Bloviating Ignoramus

    So you right wingers are the self proclaimed Moral Majority and as such the divine right to rule? And liberals must accept that with humility, submissiveness, and obedience? And if we do not, what then?

    • Rick Sanderson

      Wow, you just went right past the content of the article to the tape you have playing on auto-play 24 hours a day.

      • Bloviating Ignoramus

        The content of the article is that you right wingers are sacred whereas us liberals are profane no?

        • RegularOrdinaryAmerican

          No, the article does not contend that anyone is sacred, as you’ve erroneously portrayed it.

          The overwhelming gist of the article points out why your marxist ideology is sacred, and how it gives you cover for your personal hedonism. Your politics assuage the personal guilt you experience due to your anything goes behavior.

          I always laugh when you Alinskyites show up and try to use your “rules” whenever a writer exposes your true agenda.

          Hey, if radicals follow rules, are they still radicals?

          • Bloviating Ignoramus

            It doesn’t contend that anyone is sacred but it points out why our maxist ideology is sacred? Make up your mind.

          • RegularOrdinaryAmerican

            You missed again. Anyone refers to a person not a belief system. I’ve made up my mind…you are not so bright.

          • Bloviating Ignoramus

            We can’t all be as bright as you.

          • RegularOrdinaryAmerican

            You’ve made that clear.

          • Bloviating Ignoramus

            Better to be a dumb Marxist than a miserable Puritan

    • sbuffalonative

      Goodness. I don’t believe we read the same article.

      • Bloviating Ignoramus

        Maybe not. What article did you read?

        • sbuffalonative

          The one posted above.

          I would suggest a course in reading comprehension but in your case, I don’t believe it would do any good.

          • Bloviating Ignoramus

            Well why don’t you enlighten me then. What is your takeaway from the article you just read?

          • Bloviating Ignoramus

            Well why don’t you enlighten me then. What is your takeaway from the article you just read?

        • sbuffalonative

          The one posted above.

          I would suggest a course in reading comprehension but in your case, I don’t believe it would do any good.

  • J. Kramer

    It always amazed me that the Kennedy boys, from PaPa Joe to his sons, were always called “good Catholics.” Is it a tenet of the Catholic faith that to be “good” you can cheat on your spouse? I doubt it. Probably the Kennedys were “good Catholics” simply because they may have given a lot of money in the collection plates.

    This article finally points out the truism of being a liberal. Liberalism can be seductive to the moral-deficient person, uninformed person, non-Biblical (by that I mean those who do not follow the Bible as written but think it must change to the current values of society at-large) person, and even the “good” behaving, law abiding person.

    • plsilverman

      like, should we do a comparative study of slobs from both sides of the aisle?

      • mcveen

        You wouldn’t like it Silver.

        • plsilverman

          you like screwing with people’s names? :) >>>why wouldn’t I like it? (like what?).

          • mcveen

            Just shortening your handle. How should I refer to you? I’m Jack.

    • mcveen

      Old Joe Kennedy made big money for the Kennedy family a hundred years ago by running liquor from Canada into the US during Prohibition. He used Mafia owned trucks from NY and Boston to make that easy money and was closely integrated with northeastern mobsters. After prohibition was repealed, he started several big liquor distillaries inside the US with his illegal profits.

      The Kennedy family retained majority interest in Seagrams until the 1980s when liquor ownership became non-PC. The Kennedy family fortune was built on liquor, much of it illegally brought into this country. The family has retained major interests in Viacom Corp., one of the biggest porn producers in the world.

      That really demonstrates what liberal Democrats believe in.

  • G.Daylan

    In no case was the perfidy of the MSM and feminism more egregious than that of Paula Jones who was vilified by both as “trailer trash” (and worse) for exposing Clinton’s harassment. So, be happy that Conservatives are held to a higher standard – that way the Weiners and the Clintons and the Filners will gravitate to the liberal party.

    • plsilverman

      yes, the GOP generally, walk on water. especially in the last 15 years, with the New John Birch Society element, fighting to bring back segregation.
      wanna compile a list of Lib filanderers and then compile a list of Conserv filanderers? you think the Lib list will be bigger? ha! :)

    • mcveen

      Interesting point. Where was the feminist support for Paula Jones?

      • plsilverman

        let’s check the list of bipartisan mistresses.

        • mcveen

          Yeah, many. maybe most, overfed politicians on both sides are extremely arrogant, inebriated with their money & power. Some leave their respective states as honest men, but as soon as they start swimming the ocean of money that is DC, focus becomes blurred. It is the major fallacy of human nature that gets all but the very best.

  • Bob Olden

    I suppose it would be interesting to do a poll asking liberals and conservatives, “Do you believe in a Higher Power to whom you are accountable?” And if the answer is Yes, “Do you base your moral principles upon the Bible?” It would be very telling to see how the statistics line up. I am guessing that it would be starkly obvious that there is no “level playing field” when it comes to morality and personal ethics. In the relativistic haze that liberal thinkers occupy, pretty much anything goes, depending on the circumstances. They might theoretically believe that “honesty is the best policy”, but if a scandal threatens to undermine their power, they will glibly call it a “phony scandal”, no matter what their conscience tells them.

    • Brian Fr Langley

      If there is a higher power, then by definition there is a definitive right, (good) and a definitive wrong (evil). If there’s not, then who are you to tell me I’m wrong about anything? For a real moral compass we can all vote on a particular issue. We can then call it right or wrong until we change our minds. (particularly if wrong becomes too inconvenient, or politically incorrect) A morality based on how I feel today, how refreshing. I think I’ll run right out and vote liberal.

      • plsilverman

        you don’t mean right as in Political Right? they been wrong since about 1981.

        • mcveen

          Liberal policies are manifested everywhere today. Federal, state, local governments financially broken, formerly great cities broken, race relations broken, basic health care in peril, foreign policy in turmoil. We look like Japanese. Hope you’re proud of what Democrats have done to us.

          • plsilverman

            nah, no “race pimps” on the GOP side. 17 trillion? let’s see..Obama inherited 11 trillion, had to add 3 trillion to cover the interest…shucks, he’s spending at a much lower clip than the Gipper or W.!!!>>basic healthcare was in peril before AHCA used Romneycare experts to give us healthcare reform, adjustable for each state. INFRASTRUCTURE? the hard right will not read an infrastructure bill 4 two reasons. (1) Obama has something to do with it and (2) it means alot of Union workers return to work. (using perspective, if Obama spent at the Gipper’s clip, our debt would be about 27.5 trillion. At W.’s clip, about 21 trillion.>>what would a dude like , say, Ryan do to the country? let’s see: make medicare, vouchercare; send social security to wall street; increase the number of unnecessary, self-fulfilling corp. raids and outsourcing opportunities; undue civil rights and voting rights legislation; tell a woman who has a medical reason not to deliver a child that she must or be thrown in prison. yay, GOP!

          • mcveen

            I agree that Wall Street & American corps willingly screw the rest of us everyday to get more money for themselves. The same can be said for big Gov’t.

            According to CBO, so far, Obama has spent & indebted US 6X greater than any pres before him. That includes Bush paying for 2 simultaneous wars.

  • Bloviating Ignoramus

    Imagine that! Here us liberals thought we had the moral high ground and now this revelation that it was and is and always will be you right wingers! Who knew! So what now?

    • Rick Sanderson

      Maybe you won’t be so enamored with yourself. Nah, it’ll never happen.

      • Bloviating Ignoramus

        You are absolutely right I am envious of your divinity. From now on I will be enamored of you and not myself.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    I call them “higher purpose people” Since they convince themselves they and there cause are the salvation of humanity, their personal behavior becomes of minor consequence. After all profane language, promiscuous behavior, lying, cheating and stealing, all pale in comparison to saving the world. Unhappily narcissism comes so naturally to most humans. Which is what I think explains the vast majority of liberals.

  • Wheels55

    Being a Liberal allows one to much more easily disassociate one’s self from clowns like Wiener. It also allows one to associate with phony scandals such as “The War on Women” and a major push-back on Stand Your Grounds laws due to a fictional idea that Zimmerman got away with murder because of that law.

    Conservatives are required to have all the facts…the way Liberals see them. That isn’t easy to do when so many Liberals live in La La Land.

    • plsilverman

      do you disassociate yourself from John Birch, King, Bachman, West, Palin, and Tancredo?

      • Wheels55

        I never associated myself to any of those people. I never thought of myself as a John Birch person at all. However, I have no problem with Martin Luther King, Michelle Bachman, Allen West, Sarah Palin or governor want-to-be Tancredo. The only life style and teachings of those that I would truly look up to is MLK.

        Now, go back to La La Land and take your meds.

        • plsilverman

          you think West and Bachman, etc. are good servants of the people? or servants of the NEW JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY, yes, the Tea Party? “take my meds”? I’m surprised a poster of your obvious gifts would resort to such low-class, punk slob phraseology. :)

          • mcveen

            You use the historical term JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY frequently. What relevance does JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY have today?

          • plsilverman

            the GOP is largely financed by the Koch Bros., whose Dad was a founding member of the JB Society, which was segregationist ; said Eisenhower was a Communist; accused JFK of treason; sound familiar? they are scaled down today, the JBS, but use the Tea Party as a front group.

        • plsilverman

          no problem with John Birchers like Bachman and West? both them, by the way, say that a list actually exists of “68 to 71 [Commies at the Capitol]” . wonder if the Bachman investigation will send her shopping for orange attire.