Victor Davis Hanson documents for National Review Online readers the difficulty of trying to toe the liberal line.

In the 21st century, doctrinaire liberalism is synonymous with hypocrisy.

Or maybe it is better seen as career insurance, providing exemption from all the many paradoxes of a leftist worldview.

The rich supporter of affirmative action still uses, without apology, the old-boy network to pull privileged strings to get his own son admitted to the proper college. Al Gore flies on a carbon-spewing private jet, saving the planet by getting to conferences more quickly and enjoyably. High-tax proponent John Kerry docks his yacht where he can avoid taxes; how else to ensure downtime for furthering social justice?

A spread-the-wealth Obama, who warns others about making too much money and profiting at all the wrong times, nonetheless chooses the tony haunts of the moneyed and privileged — the Hawaiian resort coast, Martha’s Vineyard, Rancho Mirage — in preference to the old Chicago hood or even Camp David.

It is hard to be a progressive in a sea of capitalist lucre, or an idealist when careerism pays so much better, or personally frugal when personal excess is contextualized and made guilt-free by an abstract selfless agenda.