In Defense of Hypocrisy

By: Guest Authors

by David Bozeman

Miss California, Carrie Prejean, is a hypocrite. The Miss USA runner-up, who defended traditional marriage, posed for revealing photos several years back, so the churchgoing Prejean, the darling of social conservatives for standing her ground, has been dubbed a hypocrite, among other choice epithets, by her more rabid critics, including guests on the CNN and MSNBC gabfests.

The Palins are hypocrites. Daughter Bristol, who recently began her abstinence campaign, provoked the typical bile from some of the left wing bloggers and sarcastic sneering on MSNBC: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Closeted gay Republicans, in fact, are the target of a new documentary Outrage, which highlights their ‘hypocrisy.’ Rush Limbaugh, Bill Bennett, radio psychologist Dr. Laura, in fact, any conservative known by more than 50 people has been so labeled. Alan Colmes of Fox News noted that conservatives are much more likely to be hypocrites because they are more likely to see the world in “stark, good versus evil terms.” One can certainly make the case for liberal hypocrisy, as Peter Schweitzer did in 2005′s Do as I Say (Not as I Do), Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy.

Still, the taunt of hypocrisy is one of the most overused in political discourse and is a weak way of buttressing your own argument — because I have proven you a hypocrite doesn’t mean I have proven you wrong. But the liberal playbook says little about intellectual engagement, instead highlighting their basic premise that conservatives are just bad people. Case closed.

While not something to strive for, hypocrisy is good because, according to the old adage, it is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. No human being is perfect and most everyone has betrayed his or her highest standards. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have them.

Strictly speaking, Bristol Palin (who is merely a conduit for the left to attack her mother) is not a hypocrite because, as even her detractors claim, she is sincere. Still, the left has a way of distorting definitions to discredit their opposition. According to Jane Valez Mitchell, a frequent commentator on CNN’s Showbiz Tonight, Levi Johnston, the father of Bristol’s baby is (and I’m not making this up) “intelligent” and “courageous” for publicly claiming that abstinence doesn’t work. Ah, yes, a budding scholar and gentleman, but that’s the drill: openly gay Barney Frank of the male prostitution ring — good; Republican Mark Foley of the provocative messages to male pages — bad; degenerate Larry Flynt, celebrated by the left (including a 1996 Oscar-nominated film) as a First Amendment warrior — good; former anti-drug czar and Book of Virtues author Bill Bennett, who admitted to a gambling habit — BAD. The left was so giddy at that revalation that the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress announced the ‘Bill Bennett Hypocrisy Award.’ Bennett had offended enlightened America by publicly opposing Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct and, earlier, compiling Virtues, a collection of historical poems, songs, essays and speeches that promote simple values, among them loyalty, honesty, responsibility and compassion. And yet he turned out to have a flaw. Destroy the ogre!

The best way to avoid being a hypocrite is to have few or no standards, a strategy, at least in terms of sexual behavior, adopted by the left. They have bought and sold the notion that openness and honesty are preferable to pretense. Certainly hedonism is more conducive to a morally consistent life, but is society better for it? Is society better for Hustler magazine or The Book of Virtues and its lessons from Aesop, Martin Luther King, Shakespeare, Washington, Lincoln, etc.? Who would you rather impart their wisdom to your children, Dr. Laura, dubbed a hypocrite several years ago after racy pictures from her youth surfaced or Jenna Jameson, internationally renowned porn ‘actress’ and best-selling author (How to Make Love Like a Porn Star)?

Hypocrisy at least aspires to the higher standards that, without which, society would be governed by a survival of the selfish mentality, much as it is today, at least in terms of personal behavior. Traditional standards protect the vulnerable from the predatory aspects of human nature, and, granted, the most vocal enforcers are occasionally the violators. But the beauty of hypocrisy is that it is a great equalizer — it is forgiving and it allows those of us with racy pictures in our pasts and those of us weak enough to occasionally succumb to our personal vices and addictions to still have a say about public morality. It distinguishes expediency from honest, if flawed, sincerity and exposes the true phonies from among our leaders and leader-wannabes. Moral standards are not measuring sticks for beating your enemies, they are guideposts we use for ourselves and, in the spirit of compassion, for others, a fact lost on liberals in their zealous pursuit of discrediting their political opposition.

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