Scolding Americans for our various sins is proving popular among an elite group of self-appointed moralists.Not only is it fashionable for the rich elite to tell me how to live my life or how I should be punished for what ever "sins" abound in our nation and world, they make a pretty good living doing it.
Take well-meaning environmentalists who warn us that our plush lifestyles heat up and pollute the planet. To listen to former Vice President Al Gore or New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, we must immediately curtail our carbon emissions -- or face planetary destruction.
Yet these influential prophets of doom do not have lives remotely similar to the lesser folk they lecture. From time to time, Mr. Gore hops on a private jet - and purchases "carbon offsets" penances for the privilege. His mansion not long ago consumed more energy in a month than the average American home does in a year. Mr. Friedman lives on a sprawling estate reminiscent of those of the grandees of the 18th-century English countryside.
Critics in the business of racial grievance offer the same contradictions.
Recently, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. got into a spat with a white policeman who arrested him in his own home for disorderly conduct. Mr. Gates immediately cried racism. He argued that his plight was emblematic of the burdens the black underclass endures daily from a racist white America.
However, Mr. Gates is one of the highest-paid humanities professors in the United States. And Mr. Gates - not the middle-class Cambridge, Mass., white cop -- engaged in shouting and brought up race. Within hours, the black mayor of Cambridge, the black governor of Massachusetts and the black president of the United States all rallied to their chum's side.
Yet this well-connected, well-paid man apparently wants us to believe in melodramatic fashion that he is living in something like the United States of decades ago.
I don't begrudge them their beliefs--everyone has them--but I do have a problem with their hypocrisy.