Tuesday, September 09, 2008

It really is hypocrisy all the way down

In response to my post on the overuse of hypocrisy, some local bloggers have responded by, essentially, calling me a hypocrite. While I am sure that I do not always obtain the consistency that I would like, I think my observation may just rise to the level of a metanarrative.

Part of their mistake is to think I was making a partisan point. I wasn't. Both liberals and conservatives overemphasize the hypocrisy argument. Both sides overemphasize flip flopping. Both sides spend too much energy flogging what usually turn out to be nonscandals.

But I want to riff off these posts to comment on the notion that there is an inconsistency between concern over Obama's for his celebrity/charisma/rapid rise and celebrating Palin for the same things.

I suppose that this might be true in some circumstances, but the concern that I have expressed about Obama is not simply that he is charismatic or popular, but that he uses his considerable power to advance the notion that our lives can and ought to be transformed by the state and by politics. If he wins, Michelle Obama says, you can never go back to your old life. His nomination, claims Barack Obama, is some portentious historical moment at which the nature of life in America is forever changed.

This type of megaenthusiasm for the role of the state is, I think, misplaced and potentially dangerous in that it wants the one entity in our society that has the power of legal compulsion to remake the world.


Dad29 said...

in that it wants the one entity in our society that has the power of legal compulsion to remake the world

Some of us less-credentialed types note that O's credential is "lawyer."

A carpenter would use a hammer...

grumps said...

Dad, how impolitic of you to point out your disdain of lawyers in front of Rick.

In this campaign one side is saying that citizens can work together to make government responsive to them once again and break free of the corporatist kakistocracy of the past eight years. The other side is working to maintain that status quo.

Obama is standing up and telling people that they can make a difference while McCain is shouting back, "F*&^ Hope."

Your points would be better taken if we couldn't see what the GOP has managed to accomplish. McCain thinks the people are stupid enough to follow along again while the Big Government Party leads them to be sheared.

Mike Plaisted said...

Interesting attempt to distinguish there, Rick. Of course, you never really put it that way before - that your Fear of Obama is because he might use state power for good - but, if that's what works for you...

As for your Sarah America, since she won't use state power for good, how does she accomplish all these wonderful things (besides McCain's election) that you impugn to her? Osmosis? If the danger is politicians claiming mystical powers, that is much more Ms. America's problem than Obama's.

Anonymous said...

Fear of Obama is because he might use state power for good - but, if that's what works for you

Obama does not have the authority to use the state power. Those powers are reserved to the states

Anonymous said...

Rick, a suggestion sincerely offered only in the most helpful way: Don't react to the partisan bombthrowers. Your blog is several tiers above them. Treat the bombthrowers with indifference and ultimately they will change their ways, or go away.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

Partisan politics by definition requires hypocrisy. You're required to support candidates who do things that, if done by the other party, would lead you to shower them with criticism.

For instance, were it the Dem VP candidate's underage daughter who was pregnant, your blog and others would be filled with posts lamenting the glorification of teen pregnancy and the loss of family values.

Even better is the canonization of a woman who raised taxes on a single, profitable industry in order to hand out checks to the populace - in other words, socialism.

The Dems of course have theirs, but they don't claim a license to moral absolutism like the GOP.

Frankly I don't know how intelligent people - and I know plenty - can be partisan.

Anonymous said...

Hey, DaddyZero -- What say you about Palin's nut religion? Been speaking in tongues in the holy Roman Church lately?

John Foust said...

This type of megaenthusiasm for the role of the state is, I think, misplaced and potentially dangerous in that it wants the one entity in our society that has the power of legal compulsion to remake the world.

... Yeah, except I'd add something about military power and occupation, and subtract that bit about "potentially" because not only have those in power for the last eight years demonstrated it with great enthusiasm, killing hundreds of thousands here and there, but they did it with trillions of our tax dollars.

AnotherTV, I like your posts more and more. Get that blog going!

Rick Esenberg said...


You are a very reasonable guy. Keep that in mind with this response. It is why I respond to you and not others.

You are not even close. First, as it turns out, Palin's support for abstinence only public education is not so clear. Second, I would never - ever - condemn anyone whose child became pregnant out of wedlock and before the optimal time. I know from the experience of those who are about as close to me as anyone can be, that this can happen. There is a difference between teaching your children what they ought to do and dealing with what they, given the weaknesses we all have, have not done. Did Sarah Palin believe that her daughter ought to have waited ? Certainly. Does she believe that the proper response to the fact that her daughter and her boy friend did not - as so many of us have not - achieved the ideal, is to kill the life that has been created? She does not. Bristol does not. So many young men and women I know - and their families - have not. Much to their credit.

I have been precisely where Governor Palin is. Don't presume to tell me how I would react.

Anonymous said...

Thank you ATV for the concise defining of my own views. (Better than I have ever done for myself on this isssue, in fact.)

I have never been pro Republican or Democrat and one primary reason is that both parties do the same things and complain about the other party for them.

Taxes: Democrats raise them, Republicans raise the deficit. Same suit with different shoes.

Abortion/teen pregnancy: By all their stated beliefs, Democrats should approve of the Palin choice. (It would have been a better policy than mindless hate attacks too.) Can you imagine with all the distrust of partisan news agencies if they had printed stories that matched their stated views? 'McCain did something right! He chose a down to earth woman with real world experience like hunting, a regional pastime, a large family, one with special needs and one pregnant. Commendable and we wish her the best though we endorse Obama because of this ot that issue...' If they had left the bible belt to make the first comments about Sarah's daughter the Republicans could be facing a grim outlook right now. Many people in the conservative base disapprove of teenage pregnancy, but all the factions that have pushed for earlier and earlier sex ed., abortions as a way to make the 'problem' go away, etc. are mindlessly condemning Sarah and her family(or more offensive yet, projecting those thoughts for the other side as if conservatives and believers in religion should not forgive, but MUST condemn). When it becomes a fight for who is more hypocritical everyone has already lost. Capper's comment on your first post was a perfect example. Obama's hypocrisies have been brobdignagian(or else his bus has just been going over a very bumpy road), but now McCainPalin's are worse... WHO CARES!

ATV is exactly on target. It is never one candidate who is a hypocrite and one not. Media and campaigns that try to make it look that way are just trying to mislead you long enough to get power.

If you are a staunch Republican or Democrat you are a believer in and defender of hypocrisy in politics.

AnotherTosaVoter said...


Fair enough. As I said in another thread, I didn't think you personally would engage in withering criticism of a Dem nominee who was in Palin's position.

That being said, would you seriously deny that were the alternative the case, the Bellings, the Hannitys and the Limbaughs (basically everyone on 620 and 1130), would be all over the situation, using it as evidence Democrats' poor commitment to family values?

I have yet to find a blogger on the right that denies it, or even addresses it.

AnotherTosaVoter said...


I have taken the plunge and am now blogging. Check it out - I hope you like it.

(Thanks Rick for allowing me a shameless plug)