Tuesday, August 28, 2007

THE HEALING POWER OF LAUGHTER. Remember when National Review’s David Frum argued in defense of Ted Haggard that there was no such thing as hypocrisy? That must have been a trial balloon, because some conservatives are now using the idea as a defense of Larry Craig.

Mona Charen claims that she can’t find evidence that Craig “ran on family values” so, despite Craig’s support of Idaho's version of the Defense of Marriage Act, he can’t officially be a hypocrite:
I have no trouble saying that Craig should resign in disgrace. But the rest of the folks out there, particularly the lefties, who disbelieve in sexual disgrace (except perhaps where children are involved) can exult in cases like Craig’s only because this supposedly makes him a hypocrite. But what if he’s not a hypocrite? Suppose, as my admittedly hasty search suggests, he’s been pretty quiet about family values?  Doesn’t that mean the Democrats should be defending him?
I imagine Charen asking these questions in the manner of “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” and getting, as was gotten in the original context, the Big Ig.

Meanwhile Dean Esmay 's Kevin D.* offers the argument that secularists are the real hypocrites, man:
When pushing out one idea the void must be filled with another. You can't, as [David] Limbaugh points out, complain one group is legislating morality when you yourself seek to do the same thing.
So if you think, say, we should legislate against the persecution of homosexuals, you must also respect my legislation persecuting homosexuals. Otherwise you’re a hypocrite. Q. E. Duh.

As usual in cases involving gay people, Roger L. Simon pleads for tolerance, causing (again as usual) his commenters to roar their displeasure. One circulates a talking point from James Taranto’s Wall Street Journal defense of escort enthusiast David Vitter:
Hypocrisy does not mean saying one thing and doing the opposite. It means saying something that one does not believe…
So don’t call him a hypocrite -- he’s just someone who “weakened” under the awful strain of pretended heterosexuality.

We’re used to winger sophistries, of course. But this one’s in a special category. These guys are eager to defend Craig against charges of hypocrisy even as they accede to, and even demand, his resignation. Clearly they don’t give a damn about Craig, but they care deeply about negating the idea that their champions are hypocrites. They do it, I think, because hypocrisy inspires derision, which makes one's high horse about other people's morals less of an electoral asset, and that's an asset without which the modern American conservative movement is seriously weakened.

Hell, they're even making jokes about Craig themselves. Probably to keep from crying.

UPDATE. New reality: Larry Craig was set up. Defenders still want him out of the Senate, though. Sympathy and condemnation at the same time! This must be what they mean by "compassionate conservatism."

The Wall Street Journal:
Defenders of "outing" politicians argue that the cruelty is not gratuitous--that politicians are in a position of power, which they are using to harm gay citizens, and therefore their private lives are fair game. But if the politician in question is a mere legislator, his power consists only of the ability to cast one vote among hundreds. The actual amount of harm that he is able to inflict is minimal.
Clearly liberals should stop bothering gay anti-gay members of Congress until their number reaches at least a plurality. Which, given the trend, should be any day now.
Anyway, most lawmakers who oppose gay-rights measures are not homosexual. To single out those who are for special vituperation is itself a form of antigay prejudice. Liberals pride themselves on their compassion, but often are unwilling to extend it to those with whose politics they disagree.
OK, I've got a new idea: Keep the pressure on till growing conservative dismay at liberal "antigay prejudice" leads to sweeping legislative protections for homosexuals.

UPDATE II.Shorter Jonah Goldberg: Conservatives aren't uptight about sex. We laff at fags! Oh, and harumph harumph the humanity. (Must put that first.)

*UPDATE III. Fixed attribution on Esmay quote; thanks, apostropher.

No comments:

Post a Comment