Gavin Newsom’s infamous dinner with lobbyists at the French Laundry is the latest example of a political leader who prescribes rules for the rest of us, and then flouts them himself. We have seen this over and over again, as Karol Markowicz reminds us (via InstaPundit.) She cites many examples of our supposed betters who hector us to wear masks, social distance, close down our businesses, avoid restaurants, associate with no one outside our immediate families, and so on, but who wouldn’t dream of limiting their own lives in such fashion.
Is this hypocritical? Of course. But that isn’t the most important point. The real significance of politicians flouting their own rules is that it shows they know those rules are unnecessary or useless. Take the case of Governor Newsom’s ritzy dinner. Newsom’s guests included the CEO of the California Medical Association, as well as that group’s senior vice president and head lobbyist. If these people–privy to all the latest scientific information!–actually believed that COVID is a deadly disease for people in normal health, and wearing masks indoors while social distancing and associating only with one’s immediate family would protect them from contracting it, you can be sure they would not have joined in the scofflaw dinner at the French Laundry. Not to protect you, but to protect themselves.
But they obviously don’t believe those things. Actions speak louder than words. The fact that our political leaders and other members of the alleged elite consistently flout the rules they lay down for the rest of us shows that they know those rules are bullshit. And if those rules don’t protect them, they don’t protect us either. That is the real point, more than the hypocrisy that is so obvious.
Which reminds me of an excellent book by Peter Schweizer, Do As I Say, Not As I do. It is an entertaining book, as Schweizer goes down a roll call of prominent liberals and shows how every one, in his or her own life, betrays liberal principles. But Peter emphasizes that hypocrisy, while obviously present, isn’t the real point. Rather, the key lesson is that liberal political and cultural leaders actually understand that it is conservative principles, not liberal ones, that work. Therefore, they lead their own lives according to conservative principles, while enjoining the rest of us to be liberal. COVID is only one of many instances where liberals’ actions speak much louder than their words.