It appears that temptation has brought down another family values crusader. I blame gay marriage!Please read his whole post - it's short. The usual justification for such juvenile insults is that everyone loves to puncture hypocrisy. But the squirming pleasure that both libertarians and anti-conservatives get from these stories - a pleasure they do not seem to take when the subject isn't sex or much less often, drugs - suggests that something rather adolescent is in play.*
People who approve of drunk-driving laws sometimes drive when they have had too many, and still approve of such laws after they have been caught (In some instances, they approve of them more). Folks who stretch the truth usually still disapprove of lying. A man might steal something and still approve of personal property laws. Doctors who write scrips for off-label uses still approve of pharmaceutical regulation; lawyers sometimes break the law; Cowards may wish they had courage.
Presumably, one might approve greatly of reason, even naming a magazine or a website after it, yet still not be always logical.
St. Paul tells us to take every thought captive. Miss Manners teaches us that politeness, properly understood, is the foundation of civilization. Old proverbs tell us to say nothing if we can't say something nice, or to make our words sweet because we may have to eat them. I approve of all of these rules. I don't always follow them, but I approve of them. Isn't this observation rather...basic? Obvious enough that it hardly bears mentioning? Why is there such difficulty absorbing
All this has been pointed out many times whenever a person professing a strict sexual morality does not live up to his own standards. Yet every time the scene repeats we read, not mere complaint or accusation but blood-drinking joy, as if some great moral victory has been won by the other side. So the logical argument is out there (often put far better than I have here), it remains unanswered, and the sniggering continues. Congressman Souder may indeed be a hypocrite and deserve exposure. But hypocrite has a specific meaning, of a person who pretends to a value he does not actually believe in - who privately doesn't believe the rule that he broke is true or very important. Or perhaps, believes that it is a good rule, but only for other people, not for oneself. That is not always the case when someone commits a sin. It certainly isn't true every time I commit a sin.
So I conclude that there is something that the critics just plain don't want to look at about themselves. The dish is on the buffet but they pass it by each time. Reason does not consist only in putting forth logical or mathematical premises and trying to draw conclusions. Come to think of it, that's not even the most important part. Self-examination to learn if one's views are driven by some reward - whether material, psychological, or social - is the more important part of Reason**. Because once we know there is some added benefit to saying X, we must search vigorously whether the benefit is causing us to bend our logic, however slightly, to come to a conclusion that will be gratifying to us.
Interesting that Ayn Rand's claim that altruism never exists because we always get something back for it should be so prominently illustrated among the Randians.
Aside from the high-school attitude in insult, there is something more subtle and dark. The jeers, as are prominent in Balko's post, suggest that the exposure of a hypocrite adds logical merit to one's own argument. If people only believed as we do, they wouldn't have all this problem. I think that came up a lot during the Catholic priest pedophilia scandals, as people pretended (and still pretend) that there is a greater incidence of this sin among priests, absent any data to support that claim.
*Balko also misrepresents the congressman's statements about drug laws - misrepresents them to the point of deceitfulness and even (gulp) dishonesty. But that's only a sidelight here.
**Because a person who realises that he has selfish motives in holding a certain opinion or advocating an action might refrain on that basis alone, even if he hadn't worked all the logical points out.