Liberals see nothing higher than man and so, if individuals or a society claim to hold to a moral good but don't live up to it, assume that the traditional good itself is fake - that it is a lie to be discarded.
For liberals being a good person doesn't mean striving to live up to traditional moral standards but affirming a belief in diversity, tolerance, equality and so on. You become good through what you affirm.
This can make you morally smug for two reasons. First, you become good through affirming the right beliefs, and this is much more perfectible than attempting to meet moral standards in your behaviour. Second, the good is not something higher than you that you are striving toward; instead, it's something identical with your own self.
I've taken the trouble to condense Lawrence Auster's already concise argument, because it relates so well to a story recently in the news in Australia. Marcus Einfeld, a former Federal Court judge, has been jailed for two years for making false statements. It turns out that he has a history of petty deceit.
Journalist Andrew Bolt has written an article pointing out how morally smug Marcus Einfeld was as a liberal torchbearer and how he seems to refuse to recognise his own moral shortcomings:
Marcus Einfeld, the lying judge and human rights blowhard, is the perfect symbol of our time.
... Einfeld ... has for so long been a worshipped member of our new, secular priesthood ...
Some who have known him long say he is as he always seemed to me from afar - as sanctimonious as he is arrogant ...
... Yet his manifest private failings were thought so irrelevant by our culture makers that Einfeld was made not just a judge but the first head of the HRC and an official National Living Treasure. The media loved him.
Why? Because he was a great exemplar of the new morality - in which you are judged not by your own sins, but by how savagely you damn those of others.
So you show your goodness by going to a free concert to "raise awareness" of some cause that you angrily demand the go'mint fix while you just dance.
Or you tell honest lies as a journalist in a cause as "good" as global warming or the "stolen generations".
Or you are hailed as "selfless" for being a professional moralist as well-paid as was Einfeld, fighting as HRC boss for human rights at a salary now pegged at $260,000 a year.
It's what you say, not what you do. And in Einfeld's case, this perjurer, liar, and serial husband showed his goodness by denouncing Australians again and again in the modish way - as racists, xenophobes and heartless.
A sample of just one of his many, many denunciatory sermons: "Too many of us appear now to be so transfixed by fear and prejudice, often politically motivated and too easily spread by a very superficial media ..."
... And this allows him to be the most moral of modern men - a perfectly honest liar.