Fintan O’Toole: Conservatives have abandoned their core principles
The rich were only pretending they cared about prudence, law and family values
Family values: If Barack Obama’s lawyer paid off a porn star to conceal her story of having sex with him shortly after his wife had given birth, conservatives would have reacted with rage and disgust. Photograph: Retrofile/Getty
We are due a public retraction on a grand scale. Conservatives have long pretended to adhere to certain core values, timeless truths they hold sacred and (of course) immutable. And what is becoming ever more starkly obvious is that they don’t really believe these things at all, or at least that they find them important only when liberals are allegedly violating them.
They are rhetorical weapons, not serious principles. Fiscal caution, prudence, family values, patriotism and adherence to the rule of law: each of these five ideals is being revealed in the maelstrom of contemporary politics as a standard to be applied only to those on the left. For the right, each is dispensable.