Tuesday, March 06, 2007

 

Hypocrisy is Invisible

It cannot see itself, at any rate.

Victor Davis Hanson, writing at NRO, notes the Democratic Disconnect between the private and the public in the persons of two men of great wealth, Al Gore and John Edwards. Their public personas and prescriptions for, well, the rest of us, stand in marked contrast to their manner of inhabiting their private spaces.

Hanson struggles to define possible psychological motivations for why Gore and Edwards say what they say, despite doing what they do:

Is this disconnect explained by an easy means of alleviating guilt over their own largess through cosmic preaching about the inequality and selfishness of others?

Or is it a genuine notion that as a crusading Senator and trial-lawyer they have battled enough for the less well off to justify some small compensation for their ongoing labors?

Or is it a clinical schizophrenia in which one side of the Mother Teresa brain has no connection with the Donald Trump other?

Or do they analytically conclude that they will be more effective advocates for the human race if they purchase requisite shelter, transportation, and amenities commensurate with their worth that can refresh body and soul for their own messianic ordeals ahead?

Or are they in denial, and feel their own respective modes of living and travel are not that much different from others-the enemy being instead wasteful and "selfish" billionaires, not sober multi-millionaires like themselves?

I think it can be summed up more simply than that. These two public figures have invested years of their lives cultivating images and personas of a certain kind, almost in spite of who they were born to be. In Gore’s case, he was raised the very wealthy son of privilege, his father a US Senator. For Edwards, he made his many millions as a trial lawyer.

Yet for both, they carefully created public personas against type. Gore, the Everyman, self-made, and Defender of the Liberal Faith. The son of privilege and Washington in-breeding who tries to run as an “outsider.” Edwards and his two Americas, that in reality must be at least three. He acknowledges and elevates his downtrodden poor, while scolding the guilt-ridden “well off” middle and upper middle class who are his real audience. Yet in that third America, where the super affluent and wealthy elite luxuriate, such as Edwards and Gore can lecture and hector their “fellow citizens.”

Don’t bother to ask them to look in the mirror; they wouldn’t see a thing. You see, they’re invisible. Like carbon based gasses. Or institutional poverty.

Or for that matter, like the fluctuations in solar irradiation that may actually be causing global climate change, or the destruction of family that may really be sustaining cycles of poverty.




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