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News :: Education
Chomsky oh so Dumbsky
18 Apr 2006
Throwing The Book At Liberal Hypocrisy
Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy (Doubleday) is an extended examination of the phenomenon of liberal hypocrisy, or what we can call the politics of biting the hand that feeds you. Peter Schweitzer, a Hoover Institution fellow and author of books on the Bushes and Ronald Reagan, examines the personal lives and behavior of eleven prominent, noisy leftists and liberals, revealing a profound disconnect between what they say and what they do, "a stunning record of open and shameless hypocrisy."



Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy (Doubleday) is an extended examination of the phenomenon of liberal hypocrisy, or what we can call the politics of biting the hand that feeds you. Peter Schweitzer, a Hoover Institution fellow and author of books on the Bushes and Ronald Reagan, examines the personal lives and behavior of eleven prominent, noisy leftists and liberals, revealing a profound disconnect between what they say and what they do, "a stunning record of open and shameless hypocrisy."

The result, of course, is to pose a simple question: if these privileged folks, armed with power and money, can’t live up to the ideals they preach to the rest of us, how viable or useful can those ideals really be, particularly when the free-market capitalism that these scolds denounce is responsible for that privilege and wealth in the first place?



On issue after issue, Schweitzer demonstrates the emptiness of these famous leftists’ politics. For example, the evils of capitalism are routinely condemned, yet some of the most vocal of these critics are doing quite well exploiting the system they decry. MIT professor Noam Chomsky, arguably the most prominent and looniest of the Loony Left, has called capitalism a "‘grotesque catastrophe’ and a doctrine ‘crafted to induce hopelessness, resignation, and despair.’"

Yet Chomsky is "himself a shrewd capitalist, worth millions, with money in the dreaded and evil stock market, and at least one tax haven to cut down on those pesky inheritance taxes that he says are so important." Apostles of economic redistribution via the income tax like Chomsky are very clever at making sure that somebody else’s nickel will fund their utopian schemes. Chomsky has set up an irrevocable trust to shelter his money, with his tax attorney and his daughter as trustees.

So too with Michael Moore, who despite boasting about not owning stock has set up a private foundation to invest his money and shelter it from taxes. This foundation owns nearly $400,000 in corporate stocks and bonds, including pharmaceutical and medical companies like Pfizer, Merck, and Eli Lilly. And even as he attacks HMOs in his recent movie Sicko, Moore owns shares in two HMOs. His portfolio also contains oil company stocks, and he has even owned stock in Halliburton, the Left’s corporate Darth Vader. Nor does this ample portfolio go to funding activist causes: "For a man who by 2002 had a net worth in eight figures, he gave away a modest $36,000 through the foundation, much of it to his friends in the film business or tony cultural organizations that later provided him with venues to promote his books and films."

Teddy Kennedy, John Kerry, George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Ralph Nader – as Schweitzer documents, all these scolds of capitalist greed and champions of the down-trodden have done very well manipulating the system to increase their own power and privilege so that their money doesn’t end up in the government’s hands to finance the social justice schemes they loudly champion.

On racial issues too, these progressives may talk like angels, but they live like men. For all their professed love of "people of color" and anguish over racism, few of America’s most visible liberals actually live around or hire minorities – even Cornel West, Princeton professor and wannabe rap star, lives in Newton, whose black population is about two percent, meaning Professor West is unlikely to be hanging out with the brothers in the backyard.

When the Clintons came to Washington, they could have sent a powerful message of support for D.C. public schools by enrolling Chelsea in a neighborhood school like Jefferson or Hine. But of course, they enrolled her instead in the super-elite Sidwell Friends. Chomsky, who claims to be fond of fraternizing with the working class and "‘those considered to be riff-raff,’" as he puts it, has no intentions of actually living near any of them. About the time forced busing was imposed on the Boston area, Chomsky moved to the tony suburb of Lexington, buying a house worth nearly a million dollars. He also owns a vacation home in Wellfleet, worth $1.2. "Radical" author Howard Zinn "owns two homes in expensive lily-white Wellfleet and a third in multicultural Auburndale (minority population 3.3 percent)."

Like all rich people, rich liberals understandably want to live around and have their children associate with other rich people. But they at least can prove their commitment to diversity with their hiring choices, an opportunity on which most of them pass, including Congressional Democrats, who hire black employees at the same rate as Republicans do. Michael Moore has loudly chastised Hollywood for not hiring enough blacks. Yet Schweitzer’s survey of the 134 people who have worked on his films show a grand total of three black employees.

Comedian Al Franken has criticized Republicans for being indifferent to black unemployment. But of "112 people whom Franken either hired directly or had a strong influence in determining whether they would work on a project," only one was black. Another hectoring liberal, Barbra Streisand, has hired one black producer out of sixty-three producers and directors she’s employed since 1983. Even for a documentary she produced about gang violence in Washington, D.C., the producers and the director were white.

On issue after issue, Schweitzer unmasks the reality behind the self-righteous preaching of America’s so-called progressives. Ted Kennedy decries "corporate welfare" and "giveaways," but he still takes depletion allowances and drilling deductions on his family’s oil holdings. Ralph Nader loves unions, but not for the staff of his publication the Multinational Monitor. Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi has received the Cesar Chavez award as a champion of labor, but none of the workers picking grapes on her $25 million Napa Valley vineyard are from Chavez’s U.F.W. Pelosi also owns a large share of an exclusive resort in Napa, and none of its 250 employees belong to a union. Nor do any of the 900 employees of Piatti, a restaurant chain Pelosi is a partner in.

Barbra Streisand has waxed lyrical on the need to limit our wasteful energy consumption that threatens the environment. Yet Streisand, whose foundation owns stocks in several oil companies, spent $22,000 dollars a year just to water the lawn of her Malibu home. And she has an air-conditioned twelve-thousand-square foot barn just to house her show business memorabilia. That’s a lot of greenhouse gases.

Schweitzer’s fast-paced, witty book is full of such gems. Of course, hypocrisy is no respecter of political persuasion, and conservatives have their own examples, from virtuecrats with gambling problems to family-values guys with mistresses – as liberals and their shills in the press are fond of reminding us. But as Schweitzer notes, conservatives view humans as flawed creatures whose nature it is to sin and fall short. This pessimistic view of human nature means that conservatives expect people to fail to live up to their ideals. They see this failure, and the hypocrisy that often attends it, as part of the human condition, not correctible by reason or psychological technique, which is why traditional checks on human behavior like guilt and shame are so important.

To liberals, on the other hand, people are basically good and fail because of their environment, things like poverty, bad neighborhoods, bad schools, inadequate nutrition, etc., conditions that could be corrected if the state would simply intervene and spend the money. The liberals Schweitzer skewers, however, are all rich and famous, so they have no excuse for not living the virtue they preach. Their failure to live up to the ideals they want to impose on everybody else is thus a repudiation of their assumptions, whereas for conservatives such failure confirms their belief in a flawed human nature.

As Schweitzer concludes, liberal hypocrisy is the ultimate testament to the bankruptcy of most liberal ideas, for liberals "really don’t respect their own ideas and have privately concluded, whether they admit it to themselves or not, that liberalism as practiced today does not offer them a road map to happiness," for these ideas are "ultimately self-defeating, self-destructive, and unworkable."

The sad truth, however, is that these ideas are enshrined in government programs and institutions imposed on millions of citizens, who unlike well-heeled liberals do not have the resources to escape the consequences of these utopian schemes. But at least with Schweitzer’s book, we all can have enough ammo for riddling the pretensions of our liberal hypocrites.

Bruce Thornton is chair of the Humanities Department at California State University, Fresno; a culture critic for Victor Davis Hanson’s Private Papers website (www.victorhanson.com); and the author of several books including "Searching for Joaquin: Myth and History in California" and "Plagues of the Mind: The New Epidemic of False Knowledge."

This work is in the public domain
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Re: Chomsky oh so Dumbsky
18 Apr 2006
you realize you're preaching to the choir here. most of us don't klike liberals as much as you, but for different reasons. besides, your conservstives are no more friends of the working class than liberals are.
Circular Right-Wing Thinking
18 Apr 2006
You cannot make a logically valid argument by assuming what you are trying to prove.

Take this comment, for example: "The result, of course, is to pose a simple question: if these privileged folks, armed with power and money, can’t live up to the ideals they preach to the rest of us, how viable or useful can those ideals really be, particularly when the free-market capitalism that these scolds denounce is responsible for that privilege and wealth in the first place?"

The author is assuming that free-market capitalism is responsible for the privilage and wealth of their targets. However, the truth is just the opposite. The privilage and wealth of MIT, for example, is based on the value provided by the professors whom they exploit by paying them far less than they are worth. Furthermore, the wealth of MIT is all derived from government grants paid for by taxes (in effect, corporate welfare).

I've seen this same lame argument applied to anarchists. It is argued that anarchists depend upon the state to protect them while anarchists denounce the state. This form of argument ignores the fact that the state denies the anarchist all other options. It imposes itself upon the anarchist, by threat of force, to constrain herself to its institutions, the penalty for disobediance being imprisonment or death.

The more right-wingers try to impress me with their "intellectual" arguments the more convinced I become that they are dolts.
Re: Chomsky Lives Like A Professor...
18 Apr 2006
For all the "anti-Imperialist" labels that are applied to Chomsky - he is in the end a left critic who urges people to vote Democrat. He speaks as if the actions of US Imperialism are just the result of bad policy. He wants Capitalism With A Human Face. So what then is wrong with his receiving a decent standard of living. Chomsky does not criticize Capitalism as the basic problem of US Imperialism. He also is not much of a pro-Union activist or speaker, I have never heard of him adressing a Union meeting or rally.

Besides, who said that leftist, or progressives, have to be poor? It was the Jesus character in the Bible who said sell what you have for the poor, not Lenin. Engels was a factory owning Capitalist who helped outline the major critique of Capitalism with Marx. I don't know any Chritsians who practice Christian Asceticism, so why should anyone on the left?
Re: Chomsky oh so Dumbsky
18 Apr 2006
chomsky is also incredibly boring. he loves to hear himself talk. nothing he has ever said is original. other social critics say the same things in fewer words. Well, he's a MIT prof. Dullsville.n
Re: Chomsky oh so Dumbsky
18 Apr 2006
Chomsky continually denounces capitalism as the source of imperialism. You need to actually read the books to denounce them.

What would the authers have him do, live in a cave and eat bugs, only talking to himself. That would be really anti-capitalist. The notion that individual action is the key to social change is liberal to the extreme. It is not about individual action, it is about group action.
Re: Chomsky oh so Dumbsky
18 Apr 2006
Gotta love this 'skim the surface' research.
Making broad generalizations and saying that Chomsky has made a nice proit off his books only has any weight because you impy that there is something wrong with it.

"To liberals, on the other hand, people are basically good and fail because of their environment, things like poverty, bad neighborhoods, bad schools, inadequate nutrition, etc., conditions that could be corrected if the state would simply intervene and spend the money."

Who are the Liberals that view the world in such simplified terms?
Only an uniformed person who lacks an historically nuanced perspective makes this type of statement. If your not with us, your with the terrorists.
Re: Chomsky oh so Dumbsky
19 Apr 2006
"nuanced". boring.