The Difference Between Conservative and Liberal Morality

Dennis Prager has a predictably simplistic and self-righteous column at the Worldnutdaily about the Anthony Weiner scandal that claims that liberal moral ideals provide a cover for their behavior in a way that conservative morality cannot. What he shows in the process is how deeply wrongheaded his own sense of conservative morality is.

There is something about liberalism that is not nearly as true about conservatism. The further left one goes, the more one finds that the ideology provides moral cover for a life that is not moral. While many people left of center lead fine personal lives, many do not. And left-wing ideals enable a person to do that much more than conservative ideals do.

There is an easy way to demonstrate this.

If a married – or even unmarried – conservative congressman had texted sexual images of himself to young women he did not even know, he would have been called something Anthony Wiener has not been called – a hypocrite.

Why? Because conservatives – secular conservatives, not only religious conservatives – are identified with moral values in the personal sphere, and liberals are not. Liberals rarely called Bill Clinton a hypocrite for his extramarital affair while president. George W. Bush would have been pilloried as such.

But let’s be clear what he’s talking about when he talks about “moral values.” The only thing he means by that is, in essence, sexual purity, which is what conservatives nearly always mean by it. Morality begins and ends, for many conservatives, with what you do with your genitalia. Nothing else really matters. He makes that pretty clear himself:

I first thought about this when I saw how the left-wing students at my graduate school, Columbia University, behaved. Aside from their closing down classes, taking over office buildings and ransacking professors’ offices, I saw the way in which many of them conducted themselves in their personal lives.

For Prager, it is immoral to protest against something as heinous and vile as the Vietnam War. Shouldn’t the killing of at least two million people on the basis of a lie be a more serious moral offense than premarital sex? If you don’t think it is, I would argue that your own moral values are woefully deficient.

My sense was that the radicals’ commitment to “humanity,” to “peace,” and to “love” gave them license to feel good about themselves without having to lead a good life. Their vocal opposition to war and to racism provided them with all the moral self-esteem they wanted.

Yeah, we get it. You don’t like hippies. But again, if being a cheerleader for unjust wars is not far, far more immoral than putting your penis into someone you aren’t married to, your moral values are not just wrong, they’re repulsive and dangerous.

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