In rhetorical parlance, finger-pointing is the act of attempting to affix blame for something on another party. It typically also carries the connotation of a denial of responsibility on the part of the accuser. Frequently, the accusations leveled are unfair in nature.
Finger-pointing is a characteristically liberal behavior pattern. When a problem exists, the first impulse of liberals is frequently to find a way to deny blame for that problem, and to affix that blame on conservatives or conservative principles. This occurs despite the fact that many of the problems were clearly the result of liberal positions, values, or policies. For example, liberals frequently accuse conservatives of being fascists, despite the fact that liberals have consistently demanded a more powerful, more intrusive federal government and conservatives have consistently opposed this. Likewise, liberals accuse conservatives of not valuing education, despite the fact that liberal educational policies (such as whole-language instruction, grade inflation, and social promotion) have led to a decline in learning and academic performance.
Conservatives, by contrast, accept responsibility for their own actions. Moreover, they tend to focus on how to fix a problem, rather than on finding someone to blame.
Examples of Liberal Finger-Pointing
- Former Vice President Al Gore frequently points the finger at conservatives, industry, and America in general for global warming—despite the fact that he has repeatedly been observed engaging in the sort of behavior he condemns.
- Liberal Democrats repeatedly condemned President George W. Bush for economic problems beyond the power of the President to control—but refused to give him credit for the positive results of his policies.
- Democrats were quick to point the finger at Republican ethical lapses as a means of regaining power at all costs. However, they refuse to take responsibility for the ethical lapses of their own members, disavowing them as the actions of individuals. This is a hallmark of liberal thought: liberals attempt to portray their opponents as one homogeneous mass with identical beliefs.