SANTA BARBARA, Calif.
Leftists are not content merely to win elections and pass legislation but insist on impugning their opponents as immoral, author Peter Schweizer told a gathering of students here.
author Peter Schweizer told a gathering of students here.
“If you oppose their economic agenda, you’re greedy; if you oppose their environmental agenda, you’re a polluter; if you oppose labor unions, you’re heartless; if you oppose affirmative action, you’re a racist and a bigot,” Mr. Schweizer told an audience of about four dozen high school and college students attending a conference titled “Deconstructing the Left” last month.
Mr. Schweizer joined other conservative speakers at the conference, hosted by the Young America’s Foundation, in describing left-wing politics as characterized by narcissism, self-righteousness and hypocrisy, a movement that views itself as occupying the moral high ground while presenting big government as the solution to all of this country’s problems.
Mr. Schweizer, author of “Do as I Say, Not as I Do” and a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, added that many of the same people pushing a leftist agenda don’t live up to the ideals they prescribe “because they know on a practical level they don’t work.”
He cited as examples Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, who opposes gun control and yet his own bodyguard was caught with several firearms, and filmmaker Michael Moore, who chides companies for not hiring more blacks, yet of the 134 producers, editors, cinematographers, composers and production coordinators he has hired for his films, only three were black.
“They have a set of rules for most Americans, and they have a set of rules for themselves,” Mr. Schweizer said.
Several of the speakers at the conference held at YAF’s Reagan Ranch Center accused leftists of having a self-righteous attitude. Steven Hayward called them “snobs,” saying they have this “we’re better than you, and we don’t have to argue about it” attitude.
“Snobbery has become a formal value to the left,” said Mr. Hayward, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of books such as “Greatness: Reagan, Churchill, and the Making of Extraordinary Leaders” and “The Age of Reagan.”
About 250 years ago, liberalism was the idea that individuals should be free to pursue their own self-chosen purpose, but it now stands for very different values, Mr. Hayward said. Over the past century, modern liberalism has elevated compassion above all other virtues and embraced relativism, evolution and multiculturalism, he said.
To the left, “the idea of objectivity itself is nothing more than part of an oppressive social structure,” Mr. Hayward said.
Liberalism has also sacrificed individual rights for the sake of so-called human rights, such as the right to housing, the right to a job and other government-funded rights, he said.
He noted that the U.N. Universal Declaration of Rights includes an article calling for the right to paid vacations. “Liberalism, having abolished the idea of the divine right of kings, had now restored the idea of the absolute rule of the divine right of the state,” Mr. Hayward said.
Ward Connerly, chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute, former regent of the University of California and author of “Creating Equal: My Fight Against Race Preferences,” underscored Mr. Hayward’s comments as he talked about how leftists apply their beliefs with regard to race.