THERE ARE FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS against a lot of things. The offenses themselves run the gamut from inappropriate to downright evil, everything from jaywalking to murder. But one particularly offensive miscreant who has somehow managed to find a niche without a criminal sanction is the hypocrite. “The hypocrite’s crime,” wrote Hannah Arendt, “is that he bears false witness against himself.” While professing to stand for praiseworthy moral standards, this wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing regularly violates those norms whenever it is in his best interest to do so. It is an especially obnoxious form of dishonesty. While the common criminal may well deserve a penalty befitting his crime, the hypocrite ought to face the opprobrium he has earned with his shameful conduct for – as Arendt noted -- “the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.” Unfortunately, policing hypocrisy falls somewhere on the scale of difficulty between firing incompetents and herding cats. In the last analysis, a democratic society can no more rid itself of hypocrisy than baseball can dispense with the high inside fastball.
Sat Jun 12, 2021 3:16 am