Judging by the news recently, it seems like an awful lot of people are showing up at parties dressed in costumes designed to look like members of another race. Blackface suddenly seems ubiquitous. But 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 else 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 the State of Virginia are white, and both of them have worn blackface. As a statistical matter, that is an astounding ratio. But it probably 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 then-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. And yet, strangely, its co-hosts have said very little about the blackface controversy now unfolding in Virginia, and 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 in a video that recently surfaced.
Well, given the new standards we are living under, that's a little shocking. Actor Sarah Silverman won't judge Behar, though. Silverman has appeared in blackface, too. She has got that in common with her longtime boyfriend, Jimmy Kimmel also of ABC. Kimmel not only wore blackface, but he effected what used to be called an "urban accent." He did that on camera.
Over at NBC, there has been quite a bit of blackface over the years, though you would 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. She merely asked a question about blackface.
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.
You can't say the same thing for Tom Hanks though, who appears in a old video pretending to auction off someone who appears in blackface. Tom Hanks works in the movie business. You would think his peers would be deeply offended by that tape, but they are not.
Keep in mind that Hollywood once produced a movie whose lead character wore blackface for much of the film. The movie was called "Soul Man." It came out in 1986. If that seems like a long time ago, keep in mind that it was after Ronald Reagan made Martin Luther King the subject of a national holiday. Attitudes in America really weren't much that different back then. Blackface was not a mainstream phenomenon in 1986. Hollywood just couldn't imagine living by its own rules, then or now.
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 that you, yourself are committing in greater abundance. And it's not just true of wearing blackface. It's true of everything.
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 bets in the stock market based on insider information, or you stripped functioning companies for parts and left the employees with nothing. Let's say you made a quick bundle doing something like that, and many have. In order to show your friends just how rich you were, you then, of course, purchased the usual vulgar merit badges -- the private airplanes, walled estates, football-sized yachts. The point would be to brag about your wealth. And yet, on some level you wouldn't feel especially good about this. Why would you?
You didn't help anyone but yourself. You are a selfish and mediocre person,and you know it. So how would you make yourself feel better? Giving the money back is too obvious and also too costly. Maintaining your yacht is expensive, and you need the money. 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 -- as you are a deeply caring person. And you would tell yourself that as you flew private to global warming conferences all over the world. That's what Tom Steyer, Mike Bloomberg and Leonardo DiCaprio all did. That's what they tell themselves.
This attitude defines our ruling class. Once you understand that, contemporary politics comes into focus. Why are people with private security forces demanding that you give up your guns? How come so many womanizers pose as feminists? How did Ted Kennedy lead the women's movement after he abandoned a young woman to die at the scene of a drunk-driving accident he caused?
Why is it that the very people who attack others on the basis of their skin color always seem to be the first people to lecture the rest of us about racism? What is all of this? Well, they know they are guilty of the very same things. It all makes sense now.
Ask any waiter how well progressives tip. A group of aggressive activists arrives at a restaurant. They linger for hours delivering passionate lectures about the horrors of income inequality. When they leave, they shaft the working people who served them food, the very people they claim to care about. Only with progressivism is this behavior possible. Precisely because they care so much about structural inequality, progressives don't have to leave actual cash on an actual table for actual workers. Their tip is their deeply felt sense of caring. Too bad waiters can't pay the rent with that.
This is all a profound departure from what we have had before. Conventional politics concerns itself with improving people's lives. We can argue about how to do that, but the goal is always the same, always has been the same -- to make citizens happier, safer, more content and prosperous.
Modern progressivism is very different. It has nothing to do with any of that. Modern progressives care about virtue and redemption and the expiation of sin. That's not a political philosophy. It's a religion, an especially rigid form of religion. The kind of religion that produces witch hunts and inquisitions.
Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on February 7, 2019.