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LESSONS IN LOGIC: What Does Hypocrisy Teach Us?

Does hypocrisy mean that a person’s claims about what is right is wrong?  Too many people believe that, if a person says something is morally right, then they are caught doing the opposite, that means they were wrong about their claim.  For example: if a person says it is wrong to cheat on your spouse, then that same person is caught cheating on their spouse, many people will assume that it is not wrong to cheat on your spouse.  But we know better than that, don’t we?

Well, the first thing we should do is look at the definition of ‘hypocrisy’ — so we all know what the word actually means:

Full Definition of hypocrisy

plural hypocrisies

  1. 1 :  a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially :  the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion

  2. 2 :  an act or instance of hypocrisy

Now we need to understand that hypocrisy does not mean that the thing(s) a person claims is true is actually false (or a thing claimed to be false is actually true).  A ‘fallacy‘ is a mistake in logic/thinking.  There are many fallacies, and the most common have special names to help us remember them.  The idea that hypocrisy means a claim is wrong is one of those special fallacies.  It is called:

Tu Quoque

The Fallacy of Tu Quoque occurs in our reasoning if we conclude that someone’s argument not to perform some act must be faulty because the arguer himself or herself has performed it. Similarly, when we point out that the arguer doesn’t practice what he or she preaches, and then suppose that there must be an error in the preaching for only this reason, then we are reasoning fallaciously and creating a Tu Quoque. This is a kind of Ad Hominem Circumstantial Fallacy.

Example:

Look who’s talking. You say I shouldn’t become an alcoholic because it will hurt me and my family, yet you yourself are an alcoholic, so your argument can’t be worth listening to.

Discovering that a speaker is a hypocrite is a reason to be suspicious of the speaker’s reasoning, but it is not a sufficient reason to discount it.

Therefore, being a hypocrite does not mean the things a person says are wrong.  So what does hypocrisy teach us if it doesn’t tell us that a person is wrong?  Simple: since hypocrisy is acting in a way different from what you claim to believe, hypocrisy is a good indication that a person doesn’t actually believe the things they say.  But that can also be a problem.  When you catch someone acting hypocritically, you have to find out if it is accidental, or intentional.

If a person claims that slavery is wrong, but they advocate the virtues of socialism, they are being a hypocrite.  This is because socialism is based on the use of government force to take from one and give to another.  By definition, this is theft.  But the person who says theft is wrong may not understand socialism is theft.  If you explain it to them and they acknowledge socialism is theft and they reverse their position and start to oppose socialism, then that person is showing they actually believe theft is wrong.  However, if you explain that socialism is theft and the person refuses to acknowledge this and reverse their position on socialism, then that means they do not really believe theft is wrong.  If this is the case, you have more questions you need to answer.

First, you have to make sure this person is not confused.  Such a person may be rationalizing their defense of socialism, or they may be re-defining theft to suit their own purposes (another fallacy).  If so, this is cognitive dissonance: the holding of two opposing or contradicting views and believing both to be true at the same time.  If this is the case, you have to find out if this is due to ignorance, mental defect or agenda.  If you try to explain how and why they are wrong and they do not understand, then they may not have the mental faculties to understand.  This could be due to mental or emotional defect or a conscious choice to disconnect from objective reality.  You’ll have to make that determination yourself.  However, if you explain the faulty reasoning and they do not change their position(s), then this is a strong indication that you are most likely dealing with someone who has a secret agenda.  In other words, they are lying to you for their own purposes.  Once again, you’ll have to make your own determination, but if you decide a person is lying to you, do not ignore the implications — because this person’s actions are admitting the deception is intentional.

[OTHER EXAMPLES: the people who claim to be opposing racism by advocating ‘affirmative action’ are acting hypocritically.  The same for those who push ‘Black Lives Matter’ while opposing ‘ALL Live Matter.’  Those who disapprove when a baker or pizza shop owner do not want to serve people with whom they disagree on religious grounds, yet they applaud when performers cancel their concerts over a law passed by the people of a given State: those people are acting hypocritically.  In all such cases, these people either do not understand how and why they are wrong or, especially in case of the leadership behind these movements, they are acting on a secret agenda.]

This is why hypocrisy is part of Natural Law: it acts as an indicator that someone may not understand or believe what they are saying.  In other words, it is a special form of contradiction; and contradiction is an inherent part of logic (which is definitely part of Natural Law).  When you encounter hypocrisy, you have to decide whether the person is ignorant, mentally incapable of understanding or advancing a secret agenda — then act accordingly.  But whatever you do, you should not ignore the indicator.  When people ignore such indicators, it opens the door to those hidden agendas.  Depending on what level they reside, that can lead to personal or national or even global catastrophe.  It is why Natural Law gives warnings: so we can recognize what is happening and act to avoid and/or prevent the consequences (to read my companion post on the Spiritual aspects of this subject, please click here).

[NOTE: I no longer think of my voice as anything special.  There was a time when I believed I had something important to say, but not so much these days.  I write now because I feel driven to do so.  Something inside me will not let me rest until I post the pages you just read.  I’d just as soon not bother anymore.  It all seems like no one is listening and I do more harm than good.  So I have come to trust that whatever it is driving me has all this under control.  Personally, I believe it is God, but others may not.  All I ask is that, if anything I write helps you, or you think it might help others in any way, please, share this page.  Re-blog it, share it on FB or send the link to your friends.  So long as you feel it will do more good than harm, then please, use this page however you wish.  Thank you.]

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2 responses to “LESSONS IN LOGIC: What Does Hypocrisy Teach Us?

  1. Pingback: LESSONS IN SCRIPTURE: What Does Hypocrisy Teach Us? | The Oil in Your Lamp

  2. Pingback: Principle vs Ideal | The Oil in Your Lamp

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