Elizabeth Bruenig at the Washington Post has a column this morning saying that conservatives who note hypocrisy when, for example, a socialist like Bernie Sanders buys an additional home, should be ignored.
She says we should be ignored because we are relying on a truism that applies only to the Left:
If you care about material equality and you aren’t destitute, you’re a hypocrite; if you care about material equality and you are destitute, you’re never going to have a real shot at political engagement to begin with.
Except this is not true. You are not a hypocrite if you are a socialist and you are not destitute. That, actually, might be a hallmark of consistent Socialism—that everyone has plenty. Not all socialists are hypocrites, I’ll happily admit.
But you most certainly are a hypocrite if you preach economic equality and you purchase a second home. That is beyond being merely not “destitute.” That’s lavishness. That’s a lifestyle that 99.99% of free-market conservatives I know cannot afford. And more fundamentally, this lavishness is incongruent with the tenets of Socialism.
But more importantly, Bruenig attempts to make a countervailing argument, but there actually is no argument. She says to dismiss conservatives but offers no compelling reason for why the charge of hypocrisy does not stand. Bruenig says, in effect, that conservatives should be ignored because we should be ignored. She does not actually address the substantive charge that socialists are hypocritical, because, well, they are hypocritical.
A basic lifestyle practice that every socialist should internalize: Buying a second home while espousing Socialism kills your message. This is not hard.