Sunday, September 10, 2006

The New Bar for Hypocrisy

From Joe Sobran (1997):

Under the new rules, you can be called a hypocrite for upholding old standards of virtue that you don't exemplify perfectly; but you can't be called a hypocrite for sinking into utter moral squalor, as long as you profess to believe there's nothing wrong with it.

So the defender of traditional morality is kept constantly on the defensive, since only he can be accused of hypocrisy.

It's quite a clever system, because it works entirely to the advantage of one side, while the other side has been slow to figure it out. But it boils down to something simple and obvious. If you set high standards, there is the danger that you'll create an embarrassing gap between what you believe and what you do. The actual may fall short of the ideal; in fact it's almost certain to do so, and you may look hypocritical when you're only human.

But if you profess low standards, there's no danger of such a gap. Your behavior is all too likely to meet your standards. If you openly advocate pedophilia, then the one thing you can't be accused of when you're caught in bed with a little child is hypocrisy.

Or (let us imagine) selling the favors of the State of Wisconsin for campaign contributions--while screeching that your opponent has 'accepted illegal campaign contributions.'

Or (let us imagine) ignoring vast quantities of intelligence information and failing to exterminate a world-class terrorist--then screeching the accusation that your successor has failed to do so.

They're just examples, of course. Wouldn't happen in real life.

Or we could speak (as did CSLewis) of those who would overthrow Natural Law:

This thing which I have called for convenience the Tao, and which others may call Natural Law or Traditional Morality or the First Principles of Practical Reason or the First Platitudes, is not one among a series of possible systems of value. It is the sole source of all value judgements. If it is rejected, all value is rejected. If any value is retained, it is retained. The effort to refute it and raise a new system of value in its place is self-contradictory. There has never been, and never will be, a radically new judgement of value in the history of the world. What purport to be new systems or (as they now call them) 'ideologies', all consist of fragments from the Tao itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to the Tao and to it alone such validity as they possess. ... The human mind has no more power of inventing a new value than of imagining a new primary colour, or, indeed, of creating a new sun and a new sky for it to move in.



Anonymous said...

"Or (let us imagine) selling the favors of the State of Wisconsin for campaign contributions--while screeching that your opponent has 'accepted illegal campaign contributions.'"

Let me see if I have this straight... This has been an issue today, but it wasn't an issue from 1987-2001? What am I missing?

What about when the DOA Secretary was also the chair of the Governor's campaign committee and his wife was the campaign treasurer? When the DOA Secretary went home at night and helped his wife sort through all of the campaign contributions that came in that day?

That wasn't a problem -- but how Doyle conducts himself is a problem?

You are a world-class hypocrite. Admit it. Be a man about it. I dare you. It will be good for your soul.

Dad29 said...

Oh, I dunno...was it ILLEGAL for the DOA sec'y to chair the campaign? For the DOA Secy's wife to be Treasurer?


Doyle is a vomitous scum. I was no Tommy lover, but this guy Doyle makes Tommy look like St Raphael.

Now go back to your lengthy and boring "reporting" when you've cleaned your kitchen.