Tuesday, May 30, 2017

On Hypocrisy

"Hypocrisy is poison not because it makes people stop knowing right from wrong, but because it makes its victims stop caring about right and wrong" - Kurt Schlichter

This, by far, is the most concise and descriptive statement I have seen about our times.

The article (linked above) discusses a partisan issue (which, as you know, we do not cover here).    But the statement transcends political sides and indeed, many other sides of things.

Hypocrisy - at the least the nickel TB definition - is simply saying one thing and doing another or denouncing an action while participating in it one's self (From Merriam-Webster.com:  "Feigning to be what one is not or believe what one does not; behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel; the false assumption of the appearance of virtue or religion").  It is the insidious force that undermines personal statements, that wreaks habit on religions and personal morals, the ultimately destroys human interactions.  Everyone acknowledges this - in theory, no-one likes a hypocrite - but I suppose folks default to the fact that it makes the presenters/speaker/example and what they are trying to communicate is undermined.

The above quote turns it on its head:  it is not about the hypocrite, but the ones that are harmed by them.

Hypocrisy is not a victimless behavior.  One is never a hypocrite in a vacuum (well, perhaps, but that would simply be a personal failure).  And to those who see the hypocrisy, who have to experience it in every detail - from the very simple to exquisitely painful - the acid of failed expectations, of resentment, of beginning to not care, begins to work its way into their thought processes. Suddenly right and wrong become less critical than pushing back on the hypocrites.

I write this as a hypocrite more times than I care to catalog - some of them fairly petty and minor, some of the monstrously huge.  But in every case I am sure that the outcome is the same, even as it is the same for me in the hypocrisy of others:  the etching of caring, the rubbing away of the cartilage that buffers the right from wrong leaving only the bone on bone of pain - to which we will react.

Is there a way back?  I am truly not sure at this point.  Ideally all have to come to the point of valuing principle over expediency, but I am sadly not hopeful.  The willingness to embrace this would mean the sort of deep self-reflection that we have all but banished from our society.

Instead, I fear, we are destined to live out what the the author of the article foresees:  "This is just the beginning of the reaction, and - make no mistake - this entire situation is a bad thing.  Our society is making choices that lead only to ruin."

Hypocrisy only destroys.  It never builds.


LindaG said...

A great article! Made a great post. Sadly so true.
Be safe and God bless.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Thank you Linda. The original article that inspired this was also very thought provoking.