by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Sure, you can find plenty of examples of liberal politicians and activists who fail to live up to the progressive standards they set for everyone else. Jim Geraghty suggests in a National Review Online column that effort devoted to that project might be applied more effectively elsewhere.
The point is not merely that prominent liberals violate the tenets of their secular faith. It’s that very rarely do many other liberals express much public criticism or even disagreement. It’s just not something they deem worth getting upset about. When the average liberal gets up in the morning, he doesn’t want to hear about how his allies and comrades aren’t living up to their professed standards. He wants to hear about how bad the opposition is.
A lot of people formulate their worldview in a particular order. From what they’re taught as children, and what they observe as they age, they come up with a series of principles. Then they assess others around them, concluding that the ones who live by those principles are the good people and the ones who don’t are the bad people. A consequence of this approach is that the practitioner is likely to find that his principles don’t always align perfectly with his partisan interests. …
… Being a conservative means you’re going to spend some time disagreeing with your allies. Progressives and liberals spend much less energy, time, and elevated blood pressure fighting each other — at least beyond the comments section of liberal blogs. They’re much quicker to refocus on the big picture and unite in the battle against the Right. Even as titanic a battle as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s 2008 primary fight was resolved within a few months, with Hillary serving in Obama’s Cabinet.
Many progressives organize their worldview in the reverse order: They pick the good people — themselves — and everything else is negotiable. And as it’s currently practiced, liberalism doesn’t really require much of anything. Or, when liberalism starts asking sacrifices and commitments of its adherents beyond liking and sharing on Facebook, the energy and enthusiasm disappear.