Why it's so hard to make progressives live up to their own rules

The point is not merely that prominent liberals violate the tenets of their secular faith. It’s that very rarely do many other liberals express much public criticism or even disagreement. It’s just not something they deem worth getting upset about. When the average liberal gets up in the morning, he doesn’t want to hear about how his allies and comrades aren’t living up to their professed standards. He wants to hear about how bad the opposition is.

A lot of people formulate their worldview in a particular order. From what they’re taught as children, and what they observe as they age, they come up with a series of principles. Then they assess others around them, concluding that the ones who live by those principles are the good people and the ones who don’t are the bad people. A consequence of this approach is that the practitioner is likely to find that his principles don’t always align perfectly with his partisan interests.

Conservatives encounter this all the time. If you believe that government should be careful and limited in its spending, you may find yourself at odds with members of your party who like earmarks and spending you deem wasteful. Conversely, you may want a limited government but fume at allies who declare a desire to shut down the government, hit the debt ceiling, or shrink government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

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