Sep 16

Response to Lon

A kind reader of my last post responded thus, and I thought it was very interesting and wanted to discuss it a bit, so here it is:

Lon said…

Buck, just checking in to see how you’re doing. We were being treated by the same Dr office in CA.

Little troubled by your politics, though. Are you suggesting that conservatives should take a lesson from liberals by setting a low moral/ethical threshold in order to avoid being hypocritical? Low standards, no problems? Conservatives at least punish their own. A failure to live up to a standard is preferable to lacking the standard. For example, few Christians would claim to have lived up to their standards all the time.

Anyway, good that we’re both still kicking.


September 16, 2007 12:23 PM


Hi there Lon,

Good to hear you’re still kicking too!

I’m not at all suggesting that conservatives should set a low moral/ethical threshold in order to avoid being hypocritical, and I think it’s a bit much to suggest that liberals set a low moral/ethical standard, as the phrasing of the question seems to imply. I’m suggesting that they shouldn’t continue to loudly claim that they are, above others, MORE moral and ethical and go so far as to condemn others for not holding to such standards, when they cannot hold to them any better than any other large group, such as a political party.

Any large group is only as moral and ethical as the individuals that make up that group, and the individuals in the GOP are no better, nor worse, than the individuals in any other party, large organization, or even America as a whole. They need to stop pretending and loudly proclaiming or even implying that they are morally and ethically superior to others because every time one of the individuals that makes up their group gets caught, it draws attention to the fact that they certainly aren’t morally and ethically superior to others, and they are easily branded hypocrites in the process. They’re being hoisted by their own petards every time one of the individuals in the group gets caught with his pants down or his hand in the cookie jar, especially those individuals near the top of the hierarchical ladder.

I’m also suggesting that they need not continue to pretend to BE the gatekeepers and defining body of what IS moral and ethical because – they’re not. Society as a whole is the defining body of what is moral and ethical. Always has been, always will be, even if some on the extreme right end of the morality scale/spectrum disagree.

“Conservatives at least punish their own.” For many of the transgressions, they shouldn’t be “punishing” anyone – but now they have to because they opened their big mouths and said that those who don’t conform to what they think is morally or ethically right, regardless of the law, SHOULD be punished. In other words, they made their bed, now they’re lying in it. Meanwhile, those transgressions that are against the law are punished unilaterally (unless you’re Scooter Libby), no matter what party the individual belongs to, so it’s a moot point to say that the GOP punishes their own. Again, the big difference is that one party wears each of these transgressions on it’s chest in big, bold letters like Superman with his big “S”, while the other parties do not.

By the Taliban’s standards, those same American ultra-right-wing moral conservatives are liberal pansies, but we don’t label them such just because another group that is far to their right thinks so. For much the same reason, I don’t think America’s moral-conservatives nor the party that embraces them and claims to hold the same standards are badly branding the left or liberals in the way that they clearly intended, so much as they are badly branding themselves with their little morality witch-hunt rhetoric; a rhetoric, by the way, that’s passed for political discourse since they cajoled the Christian fundamentalists into the party.

And I really think that’s what this comes down to; this morally charged rhetoric started as talking points to entice a largely non-voting block of Christians, and it just got out of control of the GOP over time. The biggest blocks that would be easiest to move were those under the moral advisement of the biggest fundamentalist preachers, like Robertson and Falwell, who didn’t just hand over their flocks or point them in the direction the GOP wanted when it came to voting – they tried to take control of the GOP themselves, and the GOP largely allowed it to happen.

There are now many prominent members of the GOP making sounds and moves that amount to “I didn’t leave my party – it left me.” They want to get out of this hypocritical morality trap and back to their business roots: fiscal conservatism.

And really, above it all – Americans on the whole really are a very morally liberal and morally liberated people, and more so every day. That’s not to say they lack standards or good ethics or good moral convictions, which is just moral-conservative spin on the situation. They just don’t share the standards of the moral-conservatives, just as the moral-conservatives don’t share the standards of the Taliban. If you want, you can say they both “lack standards” (of others), but it’s not really a bad thing when put into perspective.

Sure, there are groups of ultra-right-wing-moral-conservatives out there, and they ARE very loud compared to the silent majority of people who enjoy sex, gambling, dancing, off-color humor, and all the rest of the “atrocious behavior” that the moral conservatives spend all their energy railing against. But that silent majority votes too, and they’re not much interested in voting for people who would wag their fingers at them or, if they could legislate it, put them in jail for their “atrocious behavior”.

If the GOP wants to preach, let them be preachers – get a frock and a pulpit and thump that Bible all they want. However, if they want to work in a temp job FOR the people, ALL the people, they need to stop wagging their fingers at THE PEOPLE, climb down off their high horse, and show that they CAN represent THE PEOPLE because they ARE representative of THE PEOPLE, not just representatives of the morality police.

Those are my thoughts, and thanks for writing. Of course, your mileage may vary, and I welcome your thoughts.

All the best,


1 comment

  1. Laurie

    No political comment here. My husband has NHL. We are going to MD Anderson Hospital in Houston for a donor stem cell transplant. It’s touted as a long-term, perhaps permanent remission for his large B-cell lymphoma. Just passing this on. I don’t know what type of cell you have, but check out MDA. Last I heard, they do the majority of transplants in the US there — http://www.mdanderson.org

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