I hate hypocrisy — especially in myself. You want to know why? Because it is an indication that I don’t actually believe what I am saying enough to live it. In other words, it indicates a lack of principles and/or self-disciple on my part. But there is also an up-side to hypocrisy. Want to know what that is?
The answer is short and sweet. Hypocrisy can be a bright neon sign blinking in the blackness which reads:
I AM A LIAR!
I mean, seriously, if you think about it, this is exactly what hypocrisy reveals: liars! If I claim to believe in something, and you point out that I am not living up to that belief, I will either correct my actions — in which case, I demonstrate that I really do believe in it — or I will ignore you — in which case, I demonstrate that I lied about what I claimed to believe.
So, how does this help us? Well, let’s look at some political examples, shall we?
If you claim to believe in democracy, but you never allow people to vote fairly and honestly; or you don’t fairly present any and all relevant information necessary to cast an informed vote; or you refuse to accept the result of the election and then seek ways to overturn it or ignore it, do you really believe in democracy? Or do you believe in it only when it benefits you?
If you claim to be against racism, but then you force policies on people that — at their core — are rooted in the assertion that certain races are not capable of doing as well as others, are you really fighting racism? Or have you demonstrated that you are a racist, yourself?
If you claim to be against corruption, especially in government, yet you constantly push policies and write laws that carve out special exemptions for yourself that allow you to avoid or even exempt you from the policies and laws you wrote to prevent others from acting in a corrupt manner, are you really against corruption? Or are you only against corruption when it does not benefit you?
If you claim to be an advocate for the poor and underprivileged, but then you make policy and law that forces those people to stay in poverty in order to receive any help from you, are you really trying to help them? Or are you trying to enslave them?
I could go on, but I think this should be enough to help you get the picture. Listen to what people say, but watch what they do. If they act contrary to what they claim to believe, call them out on their hypocrisy. If they acknowledge their mistake and correct it, then keep giving them the benefit of the doubt. However, if they do anything else, then you are wise to consider that person to be — at best — blind to their own hypocrisy. At worse, they are a bald face liar. Here again, look for the pattern. If hypocrisy seems to be a habit for them, then you’d be wise to think of that person as a liar — wiser still to treat them accordingly.
See, I told you hypocrisy can be a beautiful thing 🙂