Thursday, March 26, 2015

Progressives Lie

Here's one difference I've personally seen between liberals and conservatives.

For social conservatives, intentionally lying about one's social views isn't really an option. The idea of someone being ardently pro-life but feigning support for abortion in order to win power and then enact changes in their favor is, by and large, alien reasoning. The thought doesn't occur to them. They can be accused of being ignorant, of stupidly misrepresenting or misunderstanding one or another line of evidence, and certainly they play their share of rhetoric games. But no one ever looked at Mitt Romney and thought 'He's probably secretly pro-life, and was just favoring abortion for the liberal crowd!' If anything, the suspicion was that he was even worse than he let on.

For "progressives", lying about these sorts of things is second nature.

Go talk to "progressive" atheists, and most will tell you as much. Obama? He's an atheist. So's Politician X or Y or Z. He's just lying about his beliefs because he wants to get elected. Bill Maher said as much outright, and I believe PZ Myers said the same. There's no real shame in the accusation, because it's not an accusation coming from them - it's just the way it is. Want something, but being honest will deny it to you? Just lie. What are you worried about? Morality? Ends justify means. Or pick whatever other flavor of morality that says you can lie to get what you want, and there's a good number to choose from.

Now personally, I've seen this firsthand time and time again - and not just with "progressive atheists". I've seen progressive Christians tearfully advise giving up the fight on gay marriage as a lost cause, informing everyone of how we can revisit the issue later when fortune favors us and to 'pick our battles wisely', only to get cornered and admit yeah, they're in favor of gay marriage and they'd fight bitterly against anyone who refused to legalize it. I've seen progressive Christians adamantly insist that it's wrong and immoral to pass laws with religious beliefs in mind, then spin around and say it's immoral to oppose such and such a law because Christ would have wanted it that way. I've seen lie upon lie upon lie, and that's not counting the times I've seen blatantly obvious lies with just the barest shred of plausible deniability.

I know this seems like I'm Mister Conservative bashing The Enemy. But really, I'm just relating what experience has taught me, from talking to progressives personally, to watching them in the public sphere. For social conservatives, lying - not 'being wrong', but literally, willfully lying - is shameful. For progressives, it's only a bad thing if you get caught, and then only if it does damage to a given goal.


Jakeithus said...

We see something like this up in Canada. Our Conservative Prime Minister might hold personally pro-life views, but he has consistently said that his government will not take actions on abortion until public opinion changes. Progressives have always accused him of lying in order to get elected, and that any day we would see his real "hidden agenda" come out. I think part of what's behind this is an epic level of projection, as the progressive mindset is so at ease with lying to achieve their ultimate goals they apply the same mindset to others.

Crude said...

That does make sense. I suppose asking 'What would I do in his situation?' makes for some long nights awake.

B. Prokop said...

Have to disagree with you here, Crude. I think the posing is there on both sides. Most objective observers think Rush Limbaugh doesn't believe half of what he says on his show, but he knows on which side the bread is buttered, and says what will boost his ratings. Ted Cruz is "all about me" and will say and do anything to boost his influence. The last presidential election's Republican debates saw candidate after candidate shamelessly defending positions everyone knew they didn't hold, in order to win primaries. (Romney was probably the worst, disowning his own health plan, and feigning a far tougher stand on immigration than he actually believed.)

I'm sorry, but neither political persuasion holds the high ground on this particular moral failing.

Crude said...

Of course you disagree, Bob. You're a progressive yourself, and as harsh as it is to say, you're one of the people I have experience with that ultimately undercut what good will I had with progressives. You went from 'I live in the Bluest of the Blue States! WOO! Democrats 4 Lyfe!' to 'I am an independent political non-partisan, and always have been' the moment you thought it was advantageous to lie about it, in those most high stakes of political arenas - the comment section of a medium-to-low-traffic blog. (No offense to Victor, his is vastly more populated than mine.)

Also, shit like this: "Most objective observers think..."? It doesn't fool anyone. At all. I don't even know whose benefit you roll it out for.

I'm just so tired of it. I'm tired of having to pretend progressives argue in anything resembling good faith. I'm tired of watching them say one thing, do something else, and then blow off their self-contradictions as a joke. I'm tired of the intellectual cocktail of 'of COURSE you have to lie to get what you want, that's what politics is all about' / 'how DARE you question my honesty, you're not a psychic, what happened to the benefit of the doubt'.

And I'm also tired of people not reading the post. I spoke specifically of social conservatives, and how he was seen as a liar BY social conservatives, precisely because he had a history of being pro-abortion, with the idea that that was all a big lie not even being floated because it was goddamn unthinkable.

But by all means, argue that Romney was a hardcore social conservative. I mean, if we're going to be full of shit here, let's go all the way.

The Deuce said...

I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed that even in Bob's attempted tu quoque, all his examples (the ones that he didn't just pull completely out his arse and slap a "most objective observers" on) are actually of not-so-conservative "moderate" politicians trying to fake being socially conservative in order to win primaries, not of hardcore ideologues lying about being "moderate" in an ends-justifies-the-means attempt to advance The Cause, as in Crude's examples.

In fact, there is a common thread to both Crude's examples and Bob's: They all involve politicians pretending to be less left-wing than they really are.

Crude said...

And so it's made abundantly clear, and before someone tries to misrepresent it further:

Good God I am not saying 'left wingers lie and right wingers never do'. That's absurd. What I am saying is that when it comes to lying about one's positions, one's beliefs, particularly when it comes to social issues? It's pretty well unthinkable in socially conservative circles. In social "progressive" circles, it's habit and standard.

B. Prokop said...

Still hafta disagree. I don't think either "side" has a monopoly on hypocrisy. In fact, I'll go further. I don't think either side is worse than the other, when it comes to dancing around one's true beliefs. This is an equal opportunity failing.

B. Prokop said...

"You went from 'I live in the Bluest of the Blue States! WOO! Democrats 4 Lyfe!' to 'I am an independent political non-partisan

That is 100% true. Unlike some other people, I saw the light and abandoned partisanship forever. For me, the Moment of Truth came when the person I had enthusiastically supported for reelection to governor, who had campaigned on the slogan "No gambling in Maryland", turned around within days of his reelection to push the "Let's build casinos in Maryland" bill (which, of course, passed). I decided then and there to never trust any politician ever again, regardless of party, political philosophy, life story, or whatever else you want to judge them by. You can't trust any of them!

Crude said...

I don't think either "side" has a monopoly on hypocrisy.

Yeah, it's not hypocrisy. It's lying about their beliefs.

I mean, disagree all you like, but what do I care? Where's the evidence? I can point straight at both Clintons and Obama 'evolving' on gay marriage. Gosh, all at the same time and, what a coincidence - in direct alignment with the polls at the time!

I can point at Maher approvingly saying that Obama is an atheist, and there's no liberal outrage. Because, yeah, if he's lying about that, well it makes political sense and he's on their side, ergo it's right.

But, I want to be clear: I'm offering evidence for my view. But I'm not expecting you to so much as consider it.

Crude said...

That is 100% true. Unlike some other people, I saw the light and abandoned partisanship forever. For me, the Moment of Truth came when

Horseshit, Bob. And you're changing your story again - it wasn't long ago that you insisted the whole 'Bluest of the Blue State' praise was 'meant in jest' and you had been an independent throughout life, never praising or siding with a political party.

Why do this? What does it gain you? Is that really the price of progressivism - spending every moment of semi-public communication acting as if you're in front of a news camera, having to give a story that will maximize persuasion of the audience? In this case, an audience that's largely imaginary?

I want to stress here. It's not the 'progressive' views that bug me so much, though I draw the fucking line at the 'fine Christians into oblivion if they won't bake a cake for a gay wedding' shit. Tell me we need a huge social safety net. Tell me abortion should be legal. Tell me a lot of things, and I'll disagree, but I'll just dispassionately debate.

It's this creepy effing behavior, it's this tolerance of lying, it's this weird culture where absolute insulation from criticism has to be in effect.

B. Prokop said...

Believe what you want (and you apparently do), I am not a "progressive".

malcolmthecynic said...

(Romney was probably the worst, disowning his own health plan, and feigning a far tougher stand on immigration than he actually believed.)

Not that I'm the world's biggest Romney fan, but this has always been an unfair charge. Romney's position was perfectly consistent - the states decide their healthcare plans. If a state thought Obamacare was in its best interests, fine, but don't make it mandatory for the country.

While I disagree even with his Romneycare policy the fact of the matter is that his stance on that was perfectly consistent with his stance on Obamacare.

The Deuce said...

I can point straight at both Clintons and Obama 'evolving' on gay marriage. Gosh, all at the same time and, what a coincidence - in direct alignment with the polls at the time!

And we've got Axelrod confirming that Obama was lying about it directly now as well, for the record.

Anyhow I would LOVE to see Bob cite one single example of a social conservative lying and pretending to be a social moderate in order to advance social conservatism. It's simple to name abundant examples of it on the left (hell, as you pointed out Crude, Bob IS one such example).

Crude said...

Yeah, I admit, when pressed I have to say Bob also pushed my view on this in the other direction. I don't want to beat up on Bob too much - it's a post about a culture, not an individual - but this is no longer a punch I pull.