When liberals don't have reason, authority, or the American people on their side, they turn to the one thing they never run out of: Pity.
For decades, conservatives have chafed at being called "heartless" and "uncaring" by liberals who maintain that our essential choice as a nation is between the politics of kindness and the politics of cruelty. In The Pity Party, political scientist William Voegeli turns the tables on this argument, making the case that "compassion" is neither the essence of personal virtue nor the ultimate purpose of government.
Over the years, liberals have built a remarkable edifice of government programs that are justified by appeals to compassion: Head Start, immigration reform, gun control, affirmative action, and entitlements, to name only some. As Voegeli amply demonstrates, the liberals who promote these massive programs are weirdly indifferent as to whether they succeed. Instead, when the problems they are intended to solve fail to disappear, liberals double down, calling for yet more programs and ever greater expenditures in the name of "compassion." Meanwhile, conservatives who challenge the effectiveness of these programs are slandered as "heartless right-wingers."
Yet rather than challenge this tendentious liberal argument, the many conservatives it intimidates feel it necessary to insist that they really do "care." However, liberal compassion's good intentions consistently fail to translate into good results. Voegeli walks the reader through a plethora of programs that have become battlefields between conservatives fighting for more efficiency and liberals fighting for more budget-busting federal programs to address an ever-expanding catalog of social ills. Along the way, he explains the underpinnings of the liberal philosophy that reinforce this misapplied ideal and shows why today's self-described compassionate liberals are ultimately unfit to govern.