A Bright Spot at CPAC

A Bright Spot at CPAC February 25, 2018

Events like CPAC function mostly as tribal circle jerks, so it was nice to see longtime columnist Mona Charen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center criticize Republicans and conservatives for their hypocrisy in supporting Trump and in bringing in a fascist speaker.

Copyright: Jonathan Roland https://www.flickr.com/photos/110671496@N06/30953338733

“I’m actually gonna twist this around a bit and say that I’m disappointed in people on our side,” Charen said. “For being hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women who are in our party. Who are sitting in the White House. Who brag about their extramarital affairs. Who brag about mistreating women. And because he happens to have an R after his name, we look the other way, we don’t complain.”

She continued: “This is a party that was ready to endorse — the Republican Party endorsed Roy Moore, for the Senate in the state of Alabama even though he was a credibly accused child molester. You can not claim that you stand for women and put up with that.” (At this point, several attendees began shouting things like “Not true!” and “It was a witch hunt!”)

Later in the discussion, Charen criticized CPAC itself, for inviting far right French politician Marion Maréchal-Le Pen to speak. “I think the only reason she was here is because she’s named Le Pen,” Charen said. “And the Le Pen name is a disgrace. Her grandfather is a racist and a Nazi. She claims that she stands for him. And the fact that CPAC invited her is a disgrace.” (She was loudly booed.)

Things got so heated that she had to be escorted out of the hall by security guards. This is what happens when you buck the tribe. Sometimes the tribe is right, of course, so the mere fact that one criticizes it doesn’t make their position true — but it certainly is in this case. And what I find amusing about all of that is how they rationalize it. Those denizens of moral virtue suddenly lapse into that “situational ethics” they love to rail against so much.

Christian morality is deontological in nature, using rules handed down by divine command that cannot be compromised. They are eternal and unchanging and correct on pure principle alone. But when faced with a guy like Trump, who flagrantly violates all of their moral rules but agrees with them on public policy (or pretends to), suddenly they become consequentialists and it’s all about the ends justifying the means, something they claim to reject (though no one ever actually does reject it in every circumstance).

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