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Thursday, September 16, 2004

The aristocracy is the moral standard-bearers

I was resisting blogging about this, because I blog all the time about it. I think that it's important that every two-bit hypocrite on the right get smoked out if at all possible. Gay? Adulterer? Rapist? Drug user? Hell, it's important to consistently point out to the short-skirt parade that they are being hypocrites when they pick of feminists. If you find out, you should be shouting it from the hills. D.E.D. Space and Utopian Hell both agree, albeit it to different degrees.

Hypocrisy is more than a sin. Hypocrisy undermines democracy--it is a class issue. The conservative hypocrites do what they do not because they are ordinary, everyday hypocrites like the rest of us who lie and fudge those things we've done that fall outside our moral structures because we're ashamed. In fact, their utter lack of shame is startling, as Elayne points out in my comments here. The willingness to put poor people in jail or ruin the lives of ordinary people for doing what Bush and his family pretty much flaunt in their own lives is beyond hypocrisy. It's entitlement--good, old-fashioned aristocratic entitlement. The sort that allowed popes and kings in the past to hand out moral strictures through the church to people while cheerfully and unapologetically indulging in the forbidden behaviors themselves. And it's pervasive in the Republican party. At least Clinton had the good sense to be embarrassed instead of try to claim that he was younger then.

My guess is their belief is that their station in life already makes them morally superior, so they don't actually have to work at it. Morality is for the debased, common, vulgar people who follow rules, not those who make them. They are rich; they are powerful; they are above those rules. The only reason to even try to conceal behavior is to pay lip service to equality, but one certainly doesn't have to actually go so far as live by the rules you make for others. Luckily, the press knows better than to go rooting around the trash of their social betters. They implicitly understand that it's acceptable to go over every detail of the adulteries of a hillbilly like Bill Clinton, but it's tawdry to expose the whoring around of an upper crust man like Bush.

If this were just about hypocrisy, I'd think it was enough. But this is also about democracy, about not letting a certain class of people make rules that they themselves are too powerful to follow.


Blogger Lanoire said...

That's an interesting point about Bill Clinton. I hadn't thought about the crusade against him in those terms before.

I totally agree that "outing" is important. And I think it's surprising that more people don't call the mini-skirted conservatives on their nonsensical feminism-bashing. I want to hear a reporter say, "Yes, Ms. Crittenden, but you do realize that without feminism, you wouldn't be famous under your maiden name, right? And Ms. Coulter, you realize you would be publicly whipped for your sluttish lifestyle if it weren't for feminism, right?"


Blogger Fred Vincy said...

"Hypocrisy is more than a sin. Hypocrisy undermines democracy--it is a class issue."

As usual, you have hit the nail on the head. Here' what I wrote in D.E.D.'s comments:

Yes, the hypocrisy has always struck me. I guess you could argue that self-righteousness is just good politics, so even those with motes in their eyes are tempted. My guess, though, is that it's more about elitism -- like the excesses of the old Soviet Communists -- the politicians get to have their sex, drugs, whatever, but everyone else had better not.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, the point needs to be made, that even if conservatives DID live up to their own standards, and demanded that everyone else did the same, they would STILL be wrong. The problem with John Derbyshire isn't that he's ****ing men on the side (if he is) while railing against homosexuality. The problem is that he's railing against homosexuality, period, though I do see your point about class domination.

Julian Elson


Blogger mythago said...

Julian, it would still be a problem, but a different problem. Then it would merely be a matter of their holding damaging, evil views. Instead, they don't even pretend that those views apply to them. It's why the GOP is so appealing right now, I think; the bargain they offer is that you can insist on all kinds of "family values," condemn others' behavior, and nose into everybody else's business, and as long as you do this loudly and angrily, you yourself are free to do as you like.


Blogger Elayne said...

The Shrill Blog passes along an interview with one of Bush's old teachers at Harvard Law, who talks about this kind of ingrained-superior attitude and how he thinks it's the result of bad upbringing.


Blogger Eric V said...

The thing is , morality is a lot more tied to $$$ than we like to admit. There is something at play here that I would like to call the 'Bill Bennett Factor' . I call it that because I remember when that gasbag was punctured by his too cozy relationships with the one-armed bandits of Sin City, Nevada one of his first reactions was to say that he was not spending the lunch money. I found that comment interesting because it goes to the heart of why the rich and powerful are held to different standards of morality than the rest of us. What I mean is : a working class man who who sends a lot of time with the one arm bandits or the two breasted women that are not his wife is spending the lunch money so it is much more difficult for him to get away with it then for a rich guy.
In the conservative mindset a man's primary duty to his family is to bring in the dough and the more dough he gets the more society will forgive him. Similarly we are much more likely to criticize the sexual mores of inner city black men ( cough cough , Bill Cosby ! cough cough ) then those of McMansion dwelling preppies.


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