A guest column by Tom McCaffrey, the Morality of Corruption. This is a superb essay on the key connections between corruption, political correctness, and censorship, and how our most cherished Western values can be appropriated and corrupted by the Left to mean the opposite of their original intentions, or to mean nothing at all. It first appeared on Family Security Matters on November 18th. Mr. McCaffrey is the author of Radical by Nature: The Green Assault on Liberty, Property, and Prosperity.
The Morality of Corruption
by TOM MCCAFFREY November 18, 2016
"We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to," said President Obama recently in Pittsburgh. "There has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard, because they just don't have any basis in anything that's actually happening in the world," he continued. "The answer is obviously not censorship, but it's creating places where people can say 'this is reliable' and I'm still able to argue safely about facts and what we should do about it."
This is vintage Obama in its dishonesty. If we call it "curating," suggests Mr. Obama, then it is not censorship.
But it is dishonest in a way that has characterized Mr. Obama's utterances since the first days of his presidency. It is dishonesty that no honest, halfway intelligent person would be fooled by. It is so transparent as to be almost childish. But it is not intended to persuade the honest, intelligent person. Mr. Obama is the first president who was able to dispense with appealing to the honest, intelligent American.
Mr. Obama's, and Mrs. Clinton's, contempt for the truth, and the degree to which their constituents are indifferent to their dishonesty-and to their many other transgressions against morality and the rule of law-suggests a degree of public and private corruption that we could not have imagined a generation ago. Remember "Bush lied, people died." The reason that refrain was as effective as it was-even though it was itself a lie-was that Mr. Bush's constituents took morality in their leaders seriously.
And it was only one lie that Mr. Bush's opponents alleged. One would be hard-pressed to count the number of lies Mr. Obama has told since he took office. But the Bush incident exemplifies the reality that in the hands of the Left today, morality is nothing more than a weapon to be used against their opponents, precisely because their opponents take it seriously.
The Left have never had much use for what most of us consider morality. Rationality, honesty, industriousness, self-reliance, thrift, reliability, sobriety, sexual restraint, good manners, an ability to defer gratification and to engage in long-range planning, reverence for those who merit it-these are all values objectively necessary to making the most of life on this earth. But they are also what are commonly called "bourgeois," or middle class values, values long disparaged and sneered at by the Left, for whom the middle class represents the height of narrow-minded conventionality. It now appears that Democratic voters no longer require such moral virtues of their leaders.
Nowadays, the Left are largely relativists when it comes to morality. Live and let live. Whatever floats your boat. But there are a couple of moral values about which they are not indifferent. One of these is the idea that one man's need is another man's moral obligation. This is the premise that underlies the welfare state, and the Left do not treat is as a relative moral principle but as one to which everyone must subscribe. This is because it is tailor made for collectivists and totalitarians, as Stalin and Mao would attest.
Much of the moral deterioration of the Left today is due to the metastasizing of the welfare state. A government with the authority to expropriate the wealth of one person and give it to another is corrupt ipso facto. Left untreated, such corruption will spread like a cancer. The party that champions the welfare state will attract the most corrupt office seekers and supporters. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are the inevitable product of the welfare state.
Yet, despite their manifest corruption, the Democrats are able to pose as the moral alternative to the Republicans. Why? Because they "care" about the needy and the underprivileged, in contrast to the cold and heartless Republicans. And the Republicans cannot oppose them in principle because they concede the Left's moral premise, that one man's need is another's moral obligation. Today the Republican establishment is as committed to continuing the welfare state, for political and moral reasons, as the Democrats are.
Now the welfare state is metastasizing in a new direction, which we call political correctness. Instead of expropriating the wealth of some and redistributing it to others, political correctness perverts the law to afford special privileges to its clients. Blacks, women, homosexuals, and immigrants, legal and illegal, number among the beneficiaries of politically correct legislation and enactments. "Homosexual marriage" and forcing the Catholic Little Sisters of the Poor to provide contraception and abortion services to their lay employees exemplify this kind of legal enactment.
Just as the welfare state rests on the moral foundation of selflessness, so political correctness rests on a few moral principles that the Left treat as universally valid. One of these is the idea of "inclusiveness." Inclusiveness requires that we admit members of previously excluded groups, such as blacks and homosexuals, to all our social and other endeavors. Inclusiveness fosters "diversity," which, for the Left, is the great desideratum of our time.
Another, related moral principle of the Left is tolerance. If we are to include persons with unusual sexual proclivities or with alien cultural practices and values in our endeavors, then clearly we must learn to tolerate their practices and values.
As the current jihad against Donald Trump illustrates, the "tolerant" Left enforce the few moral principles they subscribe to-including moral relativism, paradoxical as it may seem-with all the fervor of a Cotton Mather. Indeed, one of the great lies of our time is that the Left represent the forces of enlightenment against a religious Right determined to shove their morals down others' throats. Everything the Left believe in they try to impose on the rest of us by means of government force. If making girls accommodate sexually confused boys in their bath and locker rooms is not forcing the Left's values upon others, then I don't know what is.
Political correctness simply expands the corruption of the welfare state into new areas. So why are the Democrats, despite their immorality and political corruption, able to continue to pose as the only moral choice for American voters? Again, because they "care," about blacks and women and homosexuals and all the rest, enough to twist the Constitution in knots to purchase the votes of their constituents. It's the same game as the welfare state, only played with different currency, and the Republicans cannot play that game without fatally compromising their principles.
But political correctness is especially insidious, because it uses our most cherished classical liberal principles as weapons against us.
You believe in racial equality, say the Left? Then remain silent as we disrespect your national anthem in support of our comrades who are ginning up a war on your "racist" police.
You believe in equality between the sexes? Then send your women into combat. And while you're at it, why not erase any remaining differences between the sexes. Let's start by inventing new "genders," until the concepts of male and female are obliterated altogether. Beyond the differences in reproductive hardware, they're just social constructs anyway.
You believe in tolerance and equality? Then tolerate homosexual marriage. Who cares if we have to re-define-by government force, as usual- a social and cultural institution that goes back to the dawn of civilization, and that remained utterly uncontroversial until ten minutes ago?
You claim to be a nation of immigrants? Then allow us to flood the United States with a deluge of immigrants from cultures with little or no experience of your free political institutions, this at a time when Leftist orthodoxy argues against assimilation. So what if a great many of these immigrants will become recruits to the ranks of Democrats seeking to extend the political corruption and cultural derangement of the Obama years?
You believe in religious tolerance? Then tolerate these thousands of Muslim refugees, at time when a great many of their co-religionists are at war with us. So what if there is precious little in the cultures from which these Muslims come that would prepare them to support our free political institutions, and a great deal that would make them hostile to those institutions and traditions?
There is a way to fight back against political correctness. But the Republican establishment will not avail themselves of it, because they believe that to do so would make them racists and sexists and omni-phobes. Recall that during the election campaign many Republicans were as horrified by Mr. Trump's lack of political correctness as the Democrats were. As in the case of the welfare state, the Republican establishment has conceded the moral validity of political correctness.
But Donald Trump has shown how to defeat it. Don't give an inch, concede nothing, and, above all, refuse to sanction their moral pretensions. Political correctness can defeat us only if we participate in their moral charade. Refuse it our sanction, and it crumbles into incoherent street violence. Mr. McCaffrey is the author of Radical by Nature: The Green Assault on Liberty, Property, and Prosperity.