If there is one thing we can say with certainty about progressive opinion makers in the media and in Washington, it’s that they have an uncanny ability to create action around manufactured morality crises. In fact, it’s been proven that one can fashion a very successful political career having done little else- an apparently indispensable skill we’ve come to know as “community organizing.”
Their success in this endeavor can likely be attributed to many factors, but chief among these is the malleability of the left’s concept of morality. You see, a conservative generally seeks to “conserve” the principles of our founding, which was undertaken by men that could, in their time, be identified as liberal Christians. This provides an ethical baseline for conservatives, influenced by Christian doctrine and tempered by a belief in essential freedoms like property rights and free expression. While we accept our Constitution’s imperfection, this is nonetheless the touchstone of our identity, against which all issues of morality must be tested.
The left’s litmus test in judging morality is far less static or reliable. The progressive ideology is built upon not only the acceptance of imperfections in our founders’ vision, but the wholesale folly of it. The principles of the founding have, for the left, thus become the very reason for the nation’s woes. For example, a CEO’s right to keep and own ample property becomes the reason that so many live in poverty, or anti-jihadists like Robert Spencer practicing free speech becomes the reason men like Anders Breivik commit violence.
The problem with all this is that there are no substantive rules guiding the principles of the left. Having abandoned the traditional American touchstone of these basic rights, their notion of morality must always exist within constantly morphing boundaries, set by politicians and pundits, designed to satisfy whatever political goal they may have in mind. This creates some of the marvelous inconsistencies in their ethical positions. Like how providing a convicted murderer with quality healthcare is a moral imperative, but providing medical care to an innocent child that survives an attempted abortion is an unnecessary consideration. Or how it is unethical to consider race or gender in employment standards, but it is entirely ethical to hire someone on the basis of race or gender if it satisfies a politically determined quota.
And then there’s the most recent curiosity- the left’s moral objection to Rush Limbaugh’s comments about thirty year-old student activist Sandra Fluke on his show.
Limbaugh has made a career lampooning the absurd, and in entertaining his audience for these decades, he has been given to hyperbole in making the occasional point. This was one of those instances. He suggested that since Ms. Fluke would like to have her contraception and sex life financed by others, she is a “slut,” and perhaps as a manner of repaying those who will be providing for her needs and desires, she should put the sex acts on video for others to see.
The blogosphere and social media erupted leftist venom. President Obama called Fluke to offer her consolation, Rush almost immediately lost sponsors who feared the coming political backlash, and the left is working tirelessly to silence Limbaugh, claiming that his words are ethically intolerable and indicative of a conservative “war on women.”
I could beat the dead horse and go into detail to relate the copious examples of blatant misogyny being communicated by the left, but that’s been done very well already, and my aim is not to present equivalency. The point is that modern conservatives have been less apt to get caught up in a bandwagon bent on silencing opposition, because conservative anger becomes checked when they hearken back to that immovable cornerstone of their morality: freedom of speech. Progressives are unfettered by such constants in their notions of morality, which is why they can invoke freedom of speech when it suits them, only to all of a sudden be manipulated to believe that this speech is so heinous that it deserves derision, condemnation, and ultimately, the gagging of the speaker- for no other convincing reason beyond the fact that it was right-wing villain Rush Limbaugh that said it.
Morality is nothing more than a gambit being used to hide the unacceptable nature of the left’s current proposition. The federal government does not have constitutional authority to mandate that private, state domiciled insurance companies provide any specific coverage like contraception, and to do so would violate the tenth amendment. And a federal mandate that religious institutions provide contraceptive care is a clear violation of the first.
So without reasonable support, the left again manipulates the confines of morality to reflect the current political initiative, successfully rousing its rabble to apply moral judgments upon their opposition. It’s just ethics, they say, and if you don’t support that, you must hate women like Rush Limbaugh does.
William Sullivan frequently contributes to American Thinker, and blogs at: http://politicalpalaverblog.blogspot.com. He can now be followed on Twitter.