Society

Our Golden Age of Galloping Hypocrisy

One of life’s perverse pleasures is logging into social media and observing the panoply of human delusion and hypocrisy. It’s extraordinary what people post on the internet. No virtue is too big to signal. No delusion is too small to share.

It’s not just that people cannot determine fact from fiction; or the widespread inability to recognise good sources of information from nonsense. It’s that a collective amnesia garbles minds as soon as they turn on a computer. Suddenly, nobody can remember their past or their present. Everyone forgets that they could give a university lecture on selfishness, not because they’ve studied the psychology of human greed, but because they’ve seldom rejected an opportunity to indulge their selfish desires. I know I haven’t.

And the bigger the vice, the bigger the delusion and hypocrisy. I’ve known women whose underwear would self destruct at the sight of a rich guy in a sports car but who lecture everyone online about equality. I’ve known men who have never met a woman they didn’t want to have sex with, the sort who make sheep nervous just by driving past a field, and who pose as paragons of sexual propriety on Facebook. It’s mass delusion on an epic scale and it’s one of the defining features of our age.

Hypocrisy is always with us, but something different and more virulent has become the norm. Principles no longer matter. Uttering feel-good platitudes is an end in itself and the appearance of virtue is now synonymous with being virtuous. To appear good, post some dim-witted platitude on social media and wallow in the glow of being virtuous and of being an intellectual, because intelligent people, of course, are all of one mind. The hard decisions that people must make to survive, which inevitably create resentment, and which are impossible to avoid, are smoothed over or ignored. This widespread hypocrisy grants a license to the badly behaved to excuse their own behaviour. Everything is permitted to create a virtuous persona. How many times have you exclaimed out loud while reading social media: ‘you are saying that; really, you, of all people, are posting that on Facebook with a straight face’.

The list is endless.

Flying, driving or motor-boating while virtue signalling about global warming; enjoying the benefits of capitalism while espousing socialism; not having a clue how economics works while constantly commenting on the iniquity of the system; holding one politician or political party to a higher standard than your own side; calling everyone you disagree with an idiot while providing no evidence for your assertion; attacking other people’s politics with memes or slogans and thinking you’re intelligent; posing as a good person — in whatever way is currently considered virtuous — while having no idea that your lifestyle inevitably causes suffering and injustice (it’s impossible to live an entirely virtuous life); failing to admit that whatever virtue is celebrated today will become a vice when a hated opponent does the same thing; saying we should only listen to scientists about global warming while making a 16-year-old girl with Asperger’s Syndrome a secular saint; condemning democracies for human rights abuses while supporting terrorists whose behaviour is far worse; posing as an advocate for human rights after defending communist regimes your whole life; stating that the government should fund the latest fashionable cause while not comprehending that another equally important cause will inevitably lose funding; stating how moral you are while continually posting hate on social media; advocating for open borders while locking your home at night; buying goods and services while decrying other people’s greed; believing that feminists can be consistent twice in the same day; not understanding that consumer choices determine what you are paid; spending other people’s money and thinking you’re virtuous; imposing your beliefs on other people and believing you’re moral; misunderstanding rhetoric for reality; not understanding that your choices inevitably create a hierarchy of inequality – or that hierarchies are a good thing; believing in free speech except when it’s speech you don’t like; forgetting that the Comanche defeated the Apache and blaming the Europeans for colonialism; enjoying the benefits of modern medicine while espousing witchcraft; believing that unions guarantee your wage and not the free market; claiming to be for equality while flaunting your credentials; laughing at this week’s scapegoat while claiming you care; treating serving staff like slaves; accepting other people’s money through the welfare system and not being grateful – ‘it’s my right’; espousing the noble savage myth while denigrating your own culture for behaving in similar ways; claiming to support equality while gaming the system; wanting 50/50 representation in the boardroom but not among bin men or labourers; decrying western civilisation while studying at university; claiming there is no difference between men and women while celebrating difference; espousing male sensitivity while laughing at ‘beard tears’; commenting negatively about capitalism on your smart phone; being oblivious to the benefits that colonialism wrought – the rule of law, liberal democracy, free trade while constantly emphasising its sins; committing the fallacy of making a part represent the whole; believing you’re informed about history after watching a Hollywood movie; excusing deliberate, unequivocal expressions of hate when it comes from your own side; encouraging people to have delusions about themselves; not encouraging people who have talent; following the herd; failing to recognise that moral questions have no easy answers and that you’re an idiot stamping your feet for not getting your own way; not understanding that we are all blind and stupid about ourselves; proclaiming your love of humanity except for them – they’re bad, everybody knows they’re bad.

And finally, I’m no different to anyone else in being a hypocrite. We are all fallen. It’s just that some of us are dimly aware of our delusions.

14 comments
  • RB

    It’s why I have retreated to my block I rarely leave.
    A new sign for our driveway arrived last week, an excerpt from The Hitchikers Guide, the one that Wonko the Sane had on his exit.
    WARNING. You are entering the asylum.

  • rod.stuart

    That must be the longest sentence ever to grace the pages of Quadrant, Declan! One you missed is the hysterical hypochondriacs that insist on mask wearing, when anyone with half a brain can tell that masks are worse than useless, then taking the damned thing off for a picture. (I’m looking at YOU, the member from Kooyong)
    All very true, and very capable of humbling the best of us.
    Perhaps the hierocracy rampant in today’s society stems from the fact that we have been fed lies and BS from the time we were in diapers. The woke dogma pervades modern culture. There is none worse than the idiotic dogma that pervades the climate religion. Dogma rules unchallenged.

  • Brian Boru

    RB, be careful about signs like that lest the men in white coats visit to “help” you.
    .
    rod.stuart, “nappies”, not “diapers”.
    .
    Thanks Declan but your most exhausting list probably reveals something about your tribalism too. And no, I am not going into detail because I am not sure my tribe would like that or I may be expelled.

  • rod.stuart

  • Claude James

    Hypocrisy? Yes, it’s all very bad in type and scale.
    But now: How about the fast-rising incidence of parasitism and violence?

  • RB

    Brian Boru. Happily, I am outside the asylum, like Wonko the Sane who having noticed instructions for use on a packet of toothpicks, came to his diagnosis of the world’s sanity.

  • Brian Boru

    RB; very good, I failed to notice which way the sign was facing.

  • Ceres

    Can’t disagree with your long long list Declan. At 73 I never thought I’d witness so much destruction of core values I wrongly imagined, were immutable. Every day a new shocker. I refuse to be defeated and push back in small ways at the insanity.
    I have actually found solace in selected Facebook groups who share similar values to me so it does have its uses. Pity I can’t meet some of these people in everyday life.

  • Laurence

    Very good. It seems that hypocrisy has taken a back seat recently. Pointing that out, it also seems, to be grossly ineffective for most if not all the “V” people whom have been just been mentioned. I think there is a book in here somewhere for the author titled along the lines of modern publishing trends: “Are you f**** listening what comes out of your f****n month.” I’m no publisher but perhaps we need to fight these “V” people on the same turf.

  • Geoff Sherrington

    A little relatedly, the University of Alabama monthly satellite air temperature results have just been updated to end of July 2022. The lower troposphere air over the Australian land mass has now reached a milestone.
    There has been NO WARMING trend for the last 10 years. The simple least squares linear fit through the monthly temperatures is flat.
    In one interpretation, children resident in Australia and aged under 10 years have not been exposed to global warming. I am told that they are taught quite a different, depressing, alarming story. Geoff S
    http://www.geoffstuff.com/uahaug2022.jpg

  • padraic

    I agree with rod.stuart re the “climate religion”. I was only thinking yesterday how as kids we were taught to pray to God so the rains would come and break the drought or that the rain would stop so the floods would go away. Such prayers, often accompanied by human or animal sacrifice in the distant past across all societies seem to be instinctive in human nature when faced with events over which we have no control. Now we have this new religion that condemns unbelievers to an ecological hell associated with sacrificing cheap and effective methods of producing electricity and sustaining modern and essential industries as well as hating them as fellow humans. They worship the sun and the wind and rail against their Satan – carbon dioxide. What a joke! I never thought I’d see the day.

  • Frank Milne

    “It has in fact been calculated that, in this country alone, over 30% are subclinically neurotic, or as a psychiatrist would say, ‘stark staring bonkers.’ Over 30%. Just think, that’s every third person. Happily, there’s only two of us.”
    Michael Flranders

  • STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    Virtue signalling’s not new. Jesus was on to it as shown in Matthew 6:1-18 where Jesus talks about the subjects of giving, prayer and fasting. These verses nail the motive behind virtue signalling -namely to be seen by others whilst accumulating more kudos in which the ego wallows. Another iteration of virtue signalling is Humblebrag, defined by Merriam Webster : ” to make a seemingly modest, self-critical, or casual statement or reference that is meant to draw attention to one’s admirable or impressive qualities or achievements”.

  • Citizen Kane

    Spot on Declan. One of my favourites is the emerging penchance within the noble savage industry to proclaim the ‘always was, always will be’ meme while never being the first to give up ones own private land tenure and catch the first plane out of here.

    All this, of course, is a symptom of the far more insidious malaise of western society and that is Postmodernism. A couple of authors recently in these pages, upon reviewing the work of Yoram Hazony, opined that conservatism had been misled by the rationalism of the enlightenment. In my view this is a complete misread of the current dynamics in modern western society. It is indeed the left that has vacated the world of empiricism and reason to be seduced by the moral relativism of post modernism, along with its renunciation of approximation to objective truth. This leaves the vacated yet fertile ground of the enlightenment modernist ideals to be reseeded and repopulated by conservatism when the postmodernist house of cards comes crumbling down, which it most certainly will as it is built on a foundation of quicksand.

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