Sunday, October 01, 2006

It's Not Hypocrisy--It's What the Right is All About

It seems to be a textbook case: a pedophile in a position of power exploits underage minions, while hiding behind a cloak of virtue.  In fact, it seems that truth here is stranger than fiction.  It would take a literary hack, many would say, to write a lurid Washington novel about a Republican chair of the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus, himself sexually propositioning underage male pages.

"What blatant hypocrisy!" come the shouts from the left and the right.  "What a scumbag!" they all say.

"Above all," come the protestations from the right, "don't politicize this one case of sheer hypocrisy."  "This matter is beyond politics," they say.

But it's NOT hypocrisy.  It's PAR FOR THE COURSE.  And it's not above politics, either--because what Mark Foley has done is the perfect example of what "conservatism" is all about.


"A bold claim," you may say.  "Can you back it up, spoon?"

Yes, I can.

The fundamental difference, you see, between conservatives and liberals in the social sphere goes far beyond the petty points that make up modern politics.  Abortion, gay marriage, and the rest are but stars in the overall constellation of a philosophy that rests on the difference between openness and a false sense of propriety.

To a liberal, you see, mankind is flawed, but ultimately good.  Yes, we are greedy.  Yes, we are impulsive.  Yes, we are violent.  That's part of what makes us human.  And these selfish and destructive impulses need regulation through a system of laws, checks and balances.  As James Madison famously said, "If Men were Angels, no government would be necessary.  If Angels were to govern Men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary."

But we are also MORAL and RATIONAL--collectively and individually.  That means that, as rational creatures and the "Political Animals" that Aristotle rightly said we are, humans are capable of evolution in their moral thought.  That's what being a "progressive" is all about: the ability to end slavery, to end prejudice, to end all unnecessary war--and the realization that things we may take for granted today may be considered utterly immoral by our hopefully more enlightened descendants.

Reason, however, requires HONESTY.  One cannot make rational progress towards the greater good without being honest about what makes us human; without being honest about our behavior; without being honest about our fundamental needs.  Recognition of this basic fact is what makes people like Alfred Kinsey so great: human sexuality must be understood for healthy attitudes toward it to be adopted, for instance.

Thus, as liberals, we require OPENNESS about EVERYTHING.  We demand that gay people be allowed to come out of the closet.  That racism be studied honestly so that we may overcome it.  That scientific inquiry be pursued, wherever it may lead.  That frank admissions of who we are, and what we do, be taken into account.  In the arena of religion, our focus is on God's love, His mercy, His charity, and the unity of all beings, all life, and indeed all Creation--universal precepts visible in faiths worldwide, and even in the mouth of Master Yoda.

Above all, it does not matter to a liberal if a man talk a good game and behave piously in public, if he behave like a villain behind closed doors, unable to walk the walk.  It is not just the pharisaical hypocrisy that makes us cringe; it is also the fact that such hypocritical obscurantism denies the possibility of real progress.  Every hypocrite is a roadblock to a more honest, more open, more virtuous society.


A Conservative, on the other hand, believes just the opposite.

A Conservative believes that mankind is wicked.  A sinner.  An evil creature held together with his fellow man only by the bonds of necessity.

In religion, the emphasis of the Conservative is not on God's Love, but rather on Original Sin, and on the fires of Damnation--be it in the Muslim, Christian, Jewish or any other faith (in Hinduism, "conservatives" speak of bad karma and reincarnation as a cockroach).

A Conservative believes that ALL mankind has evil impulses, and that evil is our nature.  In order to keep peace and justice on earth, appeal must be made not only to the laws and constiutitions of men, but also to the laws of Higher Powers--without which they believe that chaos and anarchy would reign.

And because none of us is inherently GOOD, the only issue of real importance is whether we ACT as though we were good.  To a Conservative, APPEARANCES are everything--SUBSTANCE is nothing.

Clinton's great crime, therefore, was NOT having an affair with an intern.  To err is human.  His crime was getting CAUGHT.

Men having sex with men isn't the problem--being OPEN about having sex with men is the problem.  "Do it in your bedroom," they say, "but don't rub it in my face."

White-collar crime, behind spreadsheets, pay stubs and closed doors, is acceptable, because it is hidden.  More open robbery and assault is unacceptable, to the conservative.


And THAT is what the Foley business is all about.  It is why Foley was a Republican in the first place.

Mark Foley was forced to cover up the fact that he was gay.  He was forced into the closet.  He could not seek counseling for his pedophilic urges.  He could not, in short, be OPEN.

Instead, he was required by his Conservative philosophy to remain a Coward.  To accept the "truth" of his "Evil."  And to put the best possible face on his behavior.

And that's how he became the poster-boy for blatant, mind-blowing hypocrisy.

But we must keep forever in mind that this is NOT an isolated case.  Mark Foley is not just the poster-body for hypocrisy.  Mark Foley is, in fact, the poster-boy for CONSERVATISM.

I will NOT refrain from politicizing Mark Foley's case, because he is everything that Conservatism is all about: hiding Original Sin in a cloak of outward virtue and piety.

And I intend to hold CONSERVATISM forever accountable for ALL its evils: not only to the world; not only to America; not only to the victims like this page; but even for its evils to men like Mark Foley himself.

Because it's not just the man--it's the IDEOLOGY.


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