By Anthony Zurcher

Published: November 22, 2013



If you are of a left-leaning persuasion, you might want to sit down for this one.

According to Peter Oborne in Thursday’s edition of the Telegraph, you – and people who share your political proclivities – “are much more likely to lie, cheat and steal” than conservatives.

Wait, hear him out. He is going to drop some science to back this up.

Mr Oborne’s evidence comes from a recent scandal over expense reimbursement involving more than 300 members of Parliament. Former Labour Minister for Europe Denis MacShane is one of six MPs to have been convicted or pleaded guilty to related crimes. All six are members of the Labour Party.

Ergo: “There is an overwhelming likelihood that it is indeed statistically significant that only Labour MPs have been found guilty as a result of the expenses investigation.”

But why do Labour politicians and other progressives have this particularly unsavoury predilection? Mr Oborne is happy to explain.

“Progressives view social conventions and restraints as the crucial impediment to human fulfilment,” he writes. “The readiness of Labour MPs to fabricate their expenses is symbolic of a wider philosophical disposition: a structural tolerance of lying and cheating as a justification for political action.”

And here’s a little tidbit that US progressives should find particularly rich. As further evidence of the liberal propensity for fabrication, Mr Oborne cites claims made by Prime Minister Tony Blair during the run-up to the Iraq War:

I am sure that Mr Blair felt, and still feels, that the falsehoods he uttered ahead of the Iraq invasion were virtuous. In his mind the invasion was vital for world peace, so it was only statesmanlike to dissimulate. The progressive mind will typically sacrifice what it dismisses as an unimportant rule (in this case, truth-telling or observance of due process) in order to achieve a worthwhile objective.

Mr Oborne sums it all up by explaining the key difference that keeps the right honest and just, while the left embezzles and dissembles: “Conservatives believe that it is only… social contrivances that save us from our own predatory and evil natures. Progressives believe that human beings are wiser than institutions.”

He concludes: “Conservative vision has at least one very important advantage: it keeps you out of jail.”

Are you still sitting down? Tell me the truth…

c. BBC