My, how far we’ve come. There was a time conservatives were routinely accused of being hypocrites because they dared to uphold “traditional” values such as staying married and not having casual sex while sometimes not living out those values in their own lives. Now it seems many conservatives are dismissing the requirement that their candidates give even lip service to traditional morality, and defending doing so on the basis that such quaint ideas as virtue don’t matter when the country is falling apart.
Erick Erickson is right that Republicans who support Trump owe Bill Clinton an apology. Talk about hypocrisy. The cognitive dissonance is deafening, and the irony tragic. While some would have us believe that the answer to our woes is to give up altogether on the ideal of a virtuous leader and get behind someone who may lack character but who can supposedly “get things done,” the truth is we threw in the towel on virtue in favor of utilitarianism a long time ago, and that is in part why we are where we are today.
This Is a Result of Tolerance Run Amok
It is the rare parent who hasn’t at one time or another chastised a naughty child with the words, “You should be ashamed of yourself!” In a worldview that acknowledges something called sin, shame is a good thing, a necessary step on the road to repentance and ultimately, forgiveness. In the secular culture, however, the idea that someone should be ashamed of bad behavior is seen as impossibly backward and intolerant.
Now that tolerance is the highest virtue, any identification of another’s behavior as wrong is deemed out of bounds.
Now that tolerance is the highest virtue, any identification of another’s behavior as wrong is deemed out of bounds. The tolerance police go so far as to invoke the biblical teaching of judging not, lest one on the same basis be judged, completely ignoring that the passage refers to God’s eternal judgment of souls, not human judgments about earthly behavior.
How can we teach our children to live an upright life without judging behavior? We can’t. But the logical conclusion of a wholesale rejection of the application of judgment is that we can no longer call any behavior wrong. That is, of course, the point to which postmodern “reality is subjective” thinking has brought us. It just used to be the case that conservatives didn’t embrace it.
Some Shame Is Healthy; Some Shame Is Unhealthy
Last year Monica Lewinsky gave a poignant TED talk about her experience of being publicly shamed after she was revealed as the young intern victimized by the predatory sexual behavior of a sitting U.S. president. It is important to note that there are two types of shame: that which one experiences within himself as the result of bad behavior, and that which is imposed on a person by others who wish to embarrass or show him or…