This post contains one obscenity, which has been
whited out. You may mouse over it to read it, or just skip it. And for some reason the paragraphs have run together.
I’m having some difficulty with the proper application of this word. Most people use this definition of hypocrisy; “Hypocrisy is the state of falsely claiming to possess virtuous characteristics that one lacks. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie. Hypocrisy is not simply failing to practice those virtues that one preaches”
I find one flaw in that definition, the term “virtuous characteristics”. I’ve seen a lot of what I’m calling hypocrisy lately, and I would change that phrase to “perceived virtuous characteristics”, or simply “characteristics”. As worded by “Freedictionary”:
noun: hypocrisy; plural noun: hypocrisies
the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.
But that’s still not quite it. People are no longer claiming to possess characteristics, they’re just disparaging others for not possessing them. “They’re supposed to be good Christians (Conservatives, Liberals, Muslim, Atheist, whatever)”. Such a statement infers that the speaker is in a position to know what a “good” whatever is supposed to be, which infers that the speaker might have some background with that group.
It’s the “I’m not a follower in whatever, but you aren’t either” form of hypocrisy. If there’s a better word for that situation (
hoofwanking bunglecunt doesn’t count) , let me know.
While it is not true in every instance, let me use “Christians” as an example.
If you are not a Christian, you have no basis to determine if another person is or is not a Christian.
If you are a Christian, you would know that one of the tenets of your faith is not to judge others standing as Christians.
My point is the very act of calling someone a hypocrite is often a hypocritical act in itself.
If you’re a Conservative, how do you measure a Liberal? If you’re a Liberal, how do you measure a Conservative? It’s like asking a dog what makes a good cat. “Runs just fast enough to make the chase interesting” is not a Cat’s idea of a good cat.
The cat really doesn’t care what kind of cat you think he is, as long as you don’t think he’s lunch.
“I’m a Republican, these new people are RINOs (Republican In Name Only)“. I have been registered as a Republican for the majority of my years as a voter. At no time have I received a membership card or rule book. I’m not sure what a Republican (or Democrat, or Libertarian, or any political group) is supposed to “be” other than intellectually involved in the discussion, and physically involved in voting.
Maybe it comes from my basic distaste for labels. If I pick up a can in the grocery store labeled “Beans”, I expect to find nothing other than beans inside the can. If I meet a person and his skin is black, I don’t expect to know anything about him. At one point in my life I thought it meant “He doesn’t like to lay out in the sun to tan”, but I’ve discovered even that is incorrect. I’ve known black folks who enjoy tanning, so the label of appearance doesn’t tell me anything.
I have a friend who claims to be a Christian. He also follows Buddhism, which is not contradictory, as I have mentioned before. I am in no position to determine his personal relationship with God, I would say that of all people I am least qualified, and although his path is similar to mine, there remain radical differences. I would never say “You’re not really a Christian” to him, although I often point out “Practicing Christians might choose a different approach, based on this particular scripture”. It leads to some interesting discussions.
I have another friend who is an atheist. Actually, quite a few, but this one enjoys honest conversations about stupid things Christians do as well as stupid things atheists do. None of us would dream of calling the other a hypocrite, yet friends have entered conversations and decided that one of us is being hypocritical. Typically one of their friends who doesn’t know me, or one of my friends that doesn’t know them.
If you don’t know someone, and aren’t part of the conversation, what kind of idiocy are you displaying by jumping in defending your friend who wasn’t arguing? You don’t think they can speak for themselves? Forget about embarrassing yourself, you’re embarrassing your friend.
It appears it would be productive to stop wasting our energy trying to make people fit into boxes, and use that energy to see inside those boxes.