Hypocrisy as defined in the dictionary reads: an expression of agreement that is not supported by real conviction. The act or practice of a hypocrite; a feigning to be what one is not, or to feel what one does not feel; a dissimulation, or a concealment of one’s real character, disposition, or motives; especially, the assuming of false appearance of virtue or religion; a simulation of goodness.
What does all of this mean to us? Well this is practically the essence of what it is to be human. No other species in the world has, or practices “hypocrisy”. This is a vice that we in modern society have perfected to a fine art. It can almost be said that civilization as we know it today cannot survive without hypocrisy.
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Imagine a word full of honesty, a world without deceit, a world deprived off lies. It all sounds wonderful, but beware of what you wish for. How would the advertising business survive in this wonderful world? All the commercials on television and all the billboards are all telling us to buy “Head and Shoulders” because a number of studies have proven that it is the superior shampoo. Studies that were most likely conducted and funded by Head and Shoulders Inc. Everything we see, read and hear is in some form a lie that was formulated specifically for us, the consumers to buy a certain product or service. The advertisers know that they are lying. We the consumers know that they are lying and the advertisers know that we know that they are lying. This is so normal in everyday life that the consumer’s standpoint basically is, that whatever we see on television, read in the paper or hear on the radio is crap. Hypocrisy is a vice that today’s society cannot live without.
Everyone ranging from the most well known hypocrites to the average Joe couldn’t survive one day out there without having this “vice” in his back pocket in case of an emergency. When I hear the word “hypocrisy” the first people that spring to mind are: politicians, lawyers, show business agents and advertising executives.
These are only the most infamous individuals but there are certainly other people out there who are well versed in this art. These professions are rooted in the art of “hypocrisy”. Imagine if any of these people one day gets a sudden attack of honesty. That would be the end of his or her career. The movies “Jerry McGuire” and “Liar Liar” are two good examples of my point.
Society will fall apart as a result of honesty. People will say what they’re thinking and hurt each other in the process. Hypocrisy in the form of white lies is the most common I would say. For example, your wife asks your opinion on her weight. You know that you can’t tell her that she has gained a few pounds or so in the last month, so you tell her that she looks fine and thin. That’s the perfect example of a white lie. At the cost of honesty you have saved your wife some heartache and unnecessary pain. Like the earlier example, you know that you are lying; she probably knows that you are lying (especially if she owns a mirror) and you know that she knows that you are lying. Hypocrisy has become the glue that holds modern society together.
Hypocrisy in politics as we know it today is just plain ridiculous. The same rule described above applies but we the people suffer the consequences of their irresponsible behaviors. Any politician will tell you off the record that the only thing that matters to them is to get elected and re-elected time and time again. Most politicians will say or do anything to get elected to office regardless of the consequences to him/her sacrificing his/her integrity in the process. The question is where do we as a society draw the line?
Is President Bill Clinton a prime example of hypocrisy in politics? What seems both funny and sad at the same time is that way too many politicians that are there supposed to make legislation and uphold the laws are the ones responsible for the most irresponsible and criminal acts. The Noriega conflict, President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal and President Clinton’s affair with an intern just to name a few.
We as a society have to decide where to draw the line. When does hypocrisy hurt the well-being of a large group of people?
Hypocrisy might be acceptable in most circumstances as long as no one gets hurt. Unacceptable behavior signifies the well-being of one on individual at the cost of his/her constituents.
One saying goes: When you find yourself on the side of majority… pause and reflect.
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