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Prominent liberals support a whole litany of policies and principles: progressive taxes, affirmative action, greater regulation of corporations, raising the inheritance tax, strict environmental regulations, children’s rights, consumer rights, and more. But do they actually live by these beliefs? Peter Schweizer decided to investigate the private lives of politicians like the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, the Kennedys, and Ralph Nader; commentators Michael Moore, Al Franken, Noam Chomsky, and Cornel West; entertainers or philanthropists Barbra Streisand and George Soros. Using publicly-available real estate records, IRS returns, court depositions, and their own published statements, he sought to examine whether they lived by the principles they so forcefully advocate.
What he found was a long list of contradictions. Many of these proponents of organized labor had developed various methods to sidestep paying union wages or avoid employing unions altogether. They were also adept at avoiding taxes; invested heavily in corporations they had denounced; took advantage of foreign tax credits to use non-American labor overseas; espoused environmental causes while opposing those that might affect their own property rights; hid their investments in trusts to avoid paying estate tax; denounced oil companies but quietly owned them.
Schweizer’s conclusion is simple: liberalism in the end forces its adherents to become hypocrites. They adopt one pose in public, but when it comes to what matters most in their own lives–their property, their privacy, and their children--they jettison their liberal principles and adopt conservative ones. If these ideas don’t work for the very individuals who promote them, Schweizer asks, how can they work for the country?
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The American Left prides itself on a selfless commitment to economic and social justice. With moral certitude, confident of the purity of their motives and the evil nature of their opponents, they support a familiar litany of causes and programs: progressive taxes, affirmative action, greater regulation of corporations, increasing the inheritance tax, stricter environmental safeguards, consumer rights, and more.
But do liberals actually practice what they preach? Peter Schweizer dug deep into the tax returns, real estate documents, business and investment patterns, court depositions, and hiring practices of Michael Moore, Al Franken, Noam Chomsky, the Clintons, Nancy Pelosi, the Kennedys, Ralph Nader, Cornel West, George Soros and Barbra Streisand. All are adept at avoiding taxes, invest in the very industries they denounce, and abandon environmental causes when they impinge on their own property rights. While they cry racism and support affirmative action, they have abysmal records when it comes to hiring minorities. They condemn abstinence-based sex ed programs, but enroll their own children in such programs.
Schweizer makes it clear that when it comes to what matters most in their lives--the protection of their property, privacy, and families--even the most outspoken liberals jettison their progressive ideas and adopt conservative principles. In short, liberalism forces its adherents to become hypocrites. Schweizer's conclusion is strikingly simple and highly persuasive: liberal principles that don't work for individuals have no place in shaping national programs and policies.
PETER SCHWEIZER is a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of several books, including Reagan’s War and The Bushes. He lives in Florida with his wife and their two children.
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