The Corner

Weiner and the Hypocrisy Standard

James Taranto and Jay Nordlinger make several good points against the likes of Joan Walsh and Amanda Marcotte, who are arguing that–as Walsh puts it–”You can’t accuse [Weiner] of hypocrisy, he’s not a family values moralizer.” Marcotte fills out the argument, such as it is, by citing Weiner’s support for abortion and gay rights. (Taranto has the links.)

Has Weiner taken an explicitly pro-adultery position? Have those “family-values moralizers” come out for legal action against adulterers (or would-be adulterers)? What is the political or public-policy difference on adultery between the Left and Right that these liberals see? Do they wish to contend that support for abortion entails higher tolerance for adultery? If so, it would be helpful to have that out in the open.

Some liberals claim to believe–I would hate to think they really do believe–that opposition to abortion is simply a type of regulation of sexual behavior. But surely they can understand that pro-lifers don’t see it that way, right? To make the case that Politician A is a hypocrite in a way that Politician B isn’t when both have performed similar actions, the actions have to violate some belief held by A but not B. That’s what the typical use of the hypocrisy standard against social conservatives


The hypocrisy standard, as used by the Left and often by the media, is simply a political weapon used against the social Right, with no other intelligible principle beneath it.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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