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Or is the new hypocrisy an eerie sort of psychological compensation at work? Perhaps the more Mr. Gore rails about carbon emissions, the more he can without guilt enjoy what emits them. The more Mr. Gates can cite racism, the more he himself is paid to spot it. And the more Tom Daschle wants to tax and spend for health care, the less bad he feels about his own chauffeur and tax avoidance.

Here’s a little advice for all of America’s wealthy critics: a little less hypocrisy, a little more appreciation of your good lives — and then maybe the rest of us will listen to you a little more.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.