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June 20, 2017

Preach What You Practice

Ken Kellar

No, I didn't mistype the title. I heard this phrase from Dennis Prager as he was being interviewed by Stefan Molyneux, who proposed that many on the left were hypocritical and weren't "practicing what they preach."


Mr. Prager responded that he admonishes his leftist relatives and acquaintances for not "preaching what they practice."


He also explained that leftists he knows: have jobs, work hard at their job, get married before they get pregnant, value education highly making their kids do their homework, and live legal and responsible lives while practicing self-discipline. His leftist acquaintances have been richly rewarded by exercising these lifestyle choices, both materially and spiritually.


Mr. Prager said he admonishes his acquaintances on the left to "preach" their successful lifestyles to the ‘less fortunate’" for which they have so much empathy. "That would be racist" is the reply he often gets.


I reflected on the leftists I know and, sure enough, they match Prager's description: law abiding, responsible, and industrious. Quite traditional. Yet, for some reason, when discussing the plight of other groups of people, these simple basic guidelines for a good life are avoided. Substituted are discussions of victimhood and inequality that can only be addressed by an ever-bigger government.


Regarding inequality, it turns out every action those affluent leftists took in their lives was to increase their inequality. They studied hard at school to distinguish themselves from their fellow students. They often went to college to further distance themselves from the general population so they could get the choicest jobs. At work, they work hard to get promoted above others, or, if an entrepreneur, to distinguish themselves from other businesses so they could succeed. (Yes, sometimes success is at the expense of competitors.) After all that work to succeed, they are horrified that inequality exists.


Somehow when other groups are discussed, the leftists’ successful life practices aren’t relevant. It was merely their white privilege that brought them success or luck. Remember: “You didn’t build that!” They tend to feel guilty about their success/inequality rather than taking pride and joy in the results of their efforts.


Preach what you practice. An unwanted pregnancy, or a single mom, is a tragedy. It is not something to be admired. It is to be desperately avoided. Single motherhood has a very strong correlation with poverty and poor outcomes for the children. Single mothers will always be a reality. However, it is foolish to celebrate them. Instead, celebrate and honor a married mother and pity a single one for they are in a horrible position.


On a different subject, I found myself arguing with someone defending school breakfasts for the children of the poor. I asked why a family on welfare/food stamps/WIC would also need free school breakfasts for their children. “Well, they might have to get up early or be working so hard they can’t make up a breakfast for their kid” was her reply. So I asked the person how bad or disrupted would her life have to be that she couldn’t arrange breakfast for her child? “I’d have to be dead” was her reply. Why not expect that dedication from every mother?


Why would one person not let anything but death prevent her from getting food to her children, but some other person would let a busy schedule keep food out of her child’s belly? Perhaps the affluent left do not preach what they practice because of their bigotry. Yes, their low expectations for those that differ from them is a clear sign of bigotry. Some call it “the bigotry of low expectations.” Why else would they be so opposed to equal treatment under the law?


The practices and attitudes of the “more fortunate” are a valuable potential source of affluence and happiness for everyone. Why hide it from others? Preach what you practice!


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