Explaining Partisan Hypocrisy

GorT raises another good example about partisan hypocrisy: generally, it’s bad when Republicans do X, but worthy of praise when Democrats do the same thing.

There are surprisingly few counter-examples—in which Republicans get off clean but Democrats get excoriated—which leads many Republicans to think this is pure hypocrisy and therefore the Democrats are full of crap.

So it may surprise some of our readers to learn that Democrats and their voters don’t see what the issue here is. Hypocrisy, you see, assumes that the examples are exactly the same; to Democrats, the examples are not the same, no matter how similar their outward appearances. This is because conservative Republicans typically align issues with logical reductionism (“if it looks like a duck…”), whereas liberal Democrats rely on feelings and intuitions. These are not opposites: these are completely incompatible alternative universes. Thus, because there are no equivalencies, there is no hypocrisy.

For some examples, we can begin with GorT’s example and go from there.

A politician proposes to place a black box in each car or use a cell phone’s GPS. A Republican wants to monitor your movements and illegally spy on your domestic activities. A Democrat wants increase your safety and protect you from harm.
A politician suggests a tax cut to corporations. A Republican wants to extend corporate welfare, so that the companies can make huge profits at the expense of the middle class. A Democrat wants stimulate hiring and lower employment to help the middle class.
A politician is caught in a sex scandal with an unmarried woman, two teenage male interns, a Sherpa, and an alpaca. A Republican exhibits another pathetic weakness, making a mockery of these family values they purport to hold so dead. Sick pervert. A Democrat is merely participating in a different lifestyle. This diversity is something we should embrace and celebrate, not shame and deny. Good for him. And the Sherpa.
A politician says he is a huge Boston White Sox fan. A Republican says that because he is stupid. A Democrat says that because he is tired, over-worked, and everybody knows it was just one of those slips of the tongue.
A politician makes a Hitler joke. A Republican who supports Israel, and is also a cantor at his synagogue, says things like this because he is an ant-Semite and probably a Nazi. A Democrat was merely joking. Get over yourselves. Like you never made a Hitler joke.

Republicans might have a hard time seeing why this isn’t hypocritical. So, it’s bad when we do it, but okay when you do it, right?

The interesting thing is that the Democrat looks at this from the other viewpoint: it’s okay when we do it; the problem is that Republicans are either stupid or evil. Or better yet, if you call them racist, then they can be both stupid and evil; this is a whole lot easier than deciding.

Let us look at it one more time. If a Democrat does something, it must only be because there is nothing but goodness in his or her heart. But when a Republican does the same exact thing, it is bad ipso facto because the Republican is stupid or evil. Like when you eat a sandwich off a plate on the kitchen table, that’s a good thing; when the dog does it, that’s a bad thing. That isn’t hypocritical, because you did the right thing and the dog is stupid and does not know the rules.

So if a Republican is assumed from the start to be stupid or evil, then his plans to avoid the fiscal cliff are stupid or evil. If a Democrat has a proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff, it is because he or she is really concerned about the Middle Class, because that’s, you know, good. Totally different.

Hence, no hypocrisy.

About The Czar of Muscovy

Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia by upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.