Judging by the news recently, it seems like an awful lot of people are showing up at parties dressed in costumes designed to lampoon members of another race. Blackface suddenly seems ubiquitous. Is it? What percentage of the American population do you think has publicly appeared in blackface? Have you done it yourself? Do you know anyone who has? Probably not. The real number has to be pretty low.
Now ask yourself: What percentage of high-profile progressives have worn blackface in public? Let's see. Two of the three highest-ranking Democrats in Virginia are white, and both of them have worn blackface. As a statistical matter, that's an astounding ratio. But it shouldn't surprise us. Blackface turns out to be fairly common on the elite left. Actor Ted Danson once showed up at a Friars' Club roast for his girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg wearing blackface. Goldberg now co-hosts "The View" on ABC. "The View" is a show that covers the intersection of scandal and politics. Yet its cohosts have said very little about the blackface controversy in Virginia. Maybe that's why. Or possibly it's because Goldberg's colleague, Joy Behar, has also appeared in blackface. We know that because Behar once bragged about it.
That seems a little shocking. Comedian Sarah Silverman won't judge Behar, though. Silverman has appeared in blackface, too. She's got that in common with her longtime boyfriend, Jimmy Kimmel, also of ABC. Kimmel not only wore blackface but affected what used to be called an "urban" accent. Over on NBC, there's been quite a bit of blackface as well over the years, though you'd never know it from how the network attacked its former anchor Megyn Kelly. Kelly, for the record, has never appeared in blackface. She's never even performed next to someone in blackface. You can't say the same for Tom Hanks, who appeared onstage at a school auction yucking it up with investment banker James Montgomery, who was wearing blackface and an afro wig.
Hanks works in the movie business, which you'd think would be deeply offended by Hanks' behavior. But no. Keep in mind that Hollywood once produced a movie whose lead character wore blackface for much of the film. It was called "Soul Man." The movie came out in 1986.
It's pretty clear that the very people most likely to wear blackface are also the most likely to demand that you get fired if you do the same. That's the definition of hypocrisy. But it's deeper than that. Hypocrisy isn't simply a recurring feature of modern liberalism. It's the whole point of it. Being a progressive allows you to attack others for the very same sins you yourself are committing in greater abundance.
Let's say you got rich doing something that earlier generations would have recognized as dishonorable, if not criminal. You manipulated international currency markets, for example. Or you placed huge stock bets on the basis of insider information. Or you stripped functioning companies for parts and left the employees with nothing.
In order to show your friends just how rich you were, you'd then purchase the usual vulgar merit badges: private airplanes, walled estates, football-field-sized yachts. The point would be to brag about your wealth. And yet on some level, you wouldn't feel especially good about it. Why would you? You didn't help anyone but yourself. So how would you make yourself feel better? Giving the money back is too obvious, and also too costly. Maintaining your yacht is expensive. Instead, you might decide to join a movement that accuses other people of destroying the planet by consuming too much. Suddenly, your own overconsumption might not seem so sinful. At least you're a deeply caring person. That's what Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg and Leonardo DiCaprio tell themselves.
This attitude defines our ruling class. Once you understand it, contemporary politics comes into focus. Conventional politics concerns itself with improving people's lives. We can argue about the means to achieve that, but the goal has always been the same: to make citizens happier, safer, more content and prosperous.
Yet, modern progressives care about virtue and redemption and the expiation of sin. That's not a political philosophy. It's a religion. Like all cults, its hallmarks are extremism and intolerance. We ought to be worried about it.
Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel co-founded The Daily Caller, one of America's fastest growing online news outlets, which regularly breaks news and distributes it to over 15 million monthly readers. Carlson and Patel also co-founded The Daily Caller News Foundation, a nonprofit news company that trains journalists, produces fact-checks and conducts longer-term investigative reporting. The Daily Caller News Foundation licenses its content free of charge to over 300 news outlets, reaching potentially hundreds of millions of people per month. To find out more about Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com