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by Robert Moskowitz

There's nothing lower than a liar. And a hypocrite is probably one of the lowest forms of liar.

When a person opens his or her mouth and tells you something that's untrue, it's more than a sin. It's a crime against society and civilization. We depend on each other to be mostly honorable, honest, and straightforward, to obey laws and say what we mean. If we can't trust one another to tell the truth, then all of our conventions and habits and ways of living become much more difficult and hazardous.

But when a person opens his or her mouth and tells you something that's untrue, and when he or she not only knows it's untrue but is laughing at you for believing him or her, and when that person is putting the lie to their words with their everyday actions, that's hypocritical. And it's one of the most profound insults one person can hurl at another.

Hypocrisy is worse than a plain lie because it's more that just duping you into believing something, it's convincing you to think and feel and behave in ways that the hypocrite wants you to. It's an attempt to gain power over you, power which the hypocrite can then use to his or her own advantage. Those ways may really be good ways, better ways than most other. But if the hypocrite doesn't think and feel and behave in those same ways, you become sheep to his or her wolf, chickens to his or her fox, and cattle to his or her cowboy. It's not a pleasant place to be, and it doesn't often lead to happy endings.

Hypocrisy is usually defined as pretending to have certain positive or uplifting values or beliefs while all the while behaving in the opposite way. It normally involves some degree of fraud, cheating, and imitation, frequently coupled with a pretense of being pious, sanctimonious, and false.

In the early 21st Century, America has suffered from a surplus of hypocrisy. The government that took power in January of 2001 came in on a platform of unity, compassion, and piety. It almost immediately began dividing, heartlessly hurting large groups of people, and violating basic principles of faith and devotion. Government systems that were in place to help people were systematically dismantled, and as a result disaster after disaster piled up.

As evidence continued to roll in, fewer and fewer people could honestly deny that hypocrisy had the people by the throats. Many religious leaders turned out to be crooks, cheats, gamblers, and pedophiles. Important "voices of the people" turned out to be drug addicts, womanizers, and elitists. Quite a few of those arguing against welfare and government spending turned out to be first in line for big-money government handouts, no-bid and sweetheart contracts, earmarked funding, and unaccountable spending.

There are too many instances to list here, but the evidence clearly showed that hypocrisy was behind all the talk about:

    - Iraq being a threat or a terrorist nation,
    - support for military veterans and for those wounded in battle,
    - educational programs for children of all ages,
    - media bias,
    - programs to clean up and protect the environment,
    - government's leadership toward energy efficiency and

        reduced dependence on (inevitably foreign) oil,
    - election reform,
    - improved ethics in government

and more.

In the future, hypocrisy is likely to be defined by a quick look at America in the early years of the 21st Century.






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Last Updated: August 24, 2006
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