In Praise of Consistent Liberals

Moralizing twerps come in all shapes, colors, and creeds. The anti-abortion activist shares much in common with the animal rights activist. Jews for Jesus rub some rather uncomfortable elbows with pseudo-environmentalist pseudohippies. I hate moralizing twerps.

One thing that really amuses me is hypocrisy, particularly when it comes from moralizing twerps. When televangelists get caught with the inevitable fraud and hookers, I do the dance of schadenfreude. The cowering faces as they are hauled off to jail or tearful confessions on their very TV empires bring me that special kind of joy.

When I ceased being amused and start being pissed off is when a moralist tells me his hypocrisy is somehow unavoidable, excused, or consistent according to some tortured logic. This happens less with the aforementioned televangelist than with the liberal variety.

The following quotes are made up, but bear the sense of excuses I’ve gotten from the aforementioned activists, followed by a parallel to illustrate the point.

“It’s unavoidable,” says the anti-meat and globalization pseudohippy wearing leather shoes made in a sweatshop in China, “that in our corporatist world, the products they force on the masses like me are the products of their hate machine. So really, it’s not a contradiction. I’m a victim, too.”

“It’s unavoidable,” says the “Save the planet” t-shirt-wearing soccer mom with one child and a Kerry-Edwards sticker on her Chevy Suburban, “that in our corporatist world, the mix of cars forced on us trends toward SUVs. The government should make it harder to buy them. And besides, I need all that room for when I have three people in the car and a soccer ball. You can’t expect me to put that in a sedan! If there were better mass transit, I’d take that–you know, if there weren’t so many poor and minorities on it. I’m a victim, too.”

“It’s unavoidable,” says the mugger standing over the bloodied brow of an elderly woman, “that in our corporatist world, insufficient resources are redistributed to the poor, forcing some of us to take radical direct action to survive. I’m a victim, too.”

Fortunately, I’ve seen some consistent liberals lately. If you’re going to put a Kerry-Edwards sticker on something, putting it on a Prius will win you points from me. I may not agree that legislating the rest of us out of our chosen cars is necessarily the way to go, but at least you’re sticking up for what you believe in, and paying small-SUV prices to do it. Bravo.

I’ve also seen some anti-meat types with no leather in their possession or on their person. Again, you’re at war with basic biology (the large intestine is indeed evolved for meat digestion), but at least you’re consistent.

Note that I have never, ever seen a consistent anti-globalization activist. Almost all have some foreign product on them. Remember, fair trade is still trade.

The quote by Emerson is usually shortened to “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” but the full quote is, “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

It is not foolish to ask environmental activists not to drive SUVs or anti-globalization activists to buy only local products or radical vegetarians not to kill any animals ever.

Bravo those that manage that level of consistency. I may not agree, but at least you mean what you say.

4 thoughts on “In Praise of Consistent Liberals

  1. I forgot to write a comment earlier, but I really liked this post. There is nothing worse than hypocrisy, and it’s always the biggest hypocrites that yell the loudest, too.


  2. Hmm… ‘anti-globalist’ is a very fuzzy term. Not all protesters against corporate paradigms of globalisation are against global trade. There are many different agendas that are being promoted within a very broad activist network: environmentalist, labour, anticapitalist and even certain right wing racist agendas. Saying that someone who protests against globalisation is a hypocrite because they own foreign goods sounds like a strawman argument to me.

    I have a problem with the idea of freely labelling someone as a hypocrite because they are not engaged in consumerist forms of protest (product boycotting etc.) History shows very little positive change has been effected by so-called ‘consumer power’.

    Apartheid in South Africa did not end because a few pampered middle-class students refused to buy South African oranges. It ended because of popular revolt , political organization and civil disobedience. So is it hypocracy or realism? Becoming anal-retentive about what products you buy and where they come from is hardly going to make a ripple in the vast oceans of history.


  3. “I’ve also seen some anti-meat types with no leather in their possession or on their person. Again, you’re at war with basic biology (the large intestine is indeed evolved for meat digestion), but at least you’re consistent.”

    This seems contrary to your “desire to kill” post. “Now, let it be said that I hate children.” Basic biology seems to favor us procreating. Are you at war with basic biology?


  4. “Are you at war with basic biology?”

    Pretty much. Never have had the kid-desiring gene. It’s either a) economics of child-rearing becoming much more expensive and not a source of wealth as they were in more labor-intensive periods in history (and prehistory), or b) a biological defect.

    But then it’s partially because the little snot-nosed bastards do shit like throw used bandaids at me.


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