Home News CODGERTATIONS: Regulations, taxes and hypocrites – Oh, my!

CODGERTATIONS: Regulations, taxes and hypocrites – Oh, my!


Tom Harker

Last time I suggested that not everyone is a hypocrite who rants against big government, intrusive regulations, social programs/taxes, redistribution of wealth, and The Debt. However, most politicians ranting this way are clearly lying to us or to themselves. As so often is the case, their perception is determined by whose ox is getting gored and they either willfully or via psychological gymnastics refuse to recognize their hypocrisy.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I may disagree with all those positions, but that disagreement is not the topic. The topic is Hypocrisy.

Everyone has the right to have his opinion and to have it respected. Everyone also has a right to have his own bias, but he has no right to have his bias respected. I’ve been criticized for questioning some folks’ motivation and intentions; the idea being that I shouldn’t question good people’s honest viewpoints just because I don’t agree with them.

Well, I try not to do that. Instead, I question good people’s motivations and intentions (as reflected in their viewpoints) when their behavior or statements reveal underlying conscious or unconscious hypocrisy.

Mark Twain called it a “discrepancy.” Orwell called it “Double Think.” When we hold two contradictory positions and instead of reconciling them we support both of them, we are clearly being hypocritical.

Mark Twain in Huckleberry Finn: “Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow to let me. But she wouldn’t. She said it was a mean practice and wasn’t clean, and I must try to not do it any more . . . And she took snuff, too; of course that was all right, because she done it herself.”

George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four defining “Doublethink”: “The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.”

The sacred Founders declared that all men were created equal while many owned slaves. They declared everyone was equal and then wouldn’t let blacks, Native Americans, and white men without property vote. Women were chattel, could not vote or inherit property; they were essentially owned by their husbands. In the face of all this, some folks still claim the USA is a Christian nation founded on Christian principles.

Some of the same folks who rant against “big government” and its “intrusive regulations” see no problem in government intrusively regulating every woman’s body. Some folks who oppose abortion, arguing that it’s murder, support capital punishment; even though their church opposes both, some Catholics split their view.

Some folks who believe the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion for Christians support discrimination against Muslims and Jews; and some think that wishing “Happy Holidays” to folks whose religious orientation is unknown to us is “Political Correctness” instead of common courtesy and respect for others.

Many of those who complain that Democrats “buy votes” by helping the needy via social programs like Medicaid and Unemployment Compensation refuse to recognize that Republicans “buy elections” by helping the wealthy – those not in need – to escape much or all of their tax responsibility and to avoid regulations – even safety and environmentally necessary regulations.

Many of those who demand “freedom” from regulation and taxation and “want to keep their money in their wallets” don’t want freedom for the people who work for them – no unions, please; “Do what you’re told, or you’re fired.” By avoiding unions they can also add money to “their money in their wallets” by taking money out of their workers’ wallets – but again, they invariably fail (or refuse) to recognize their hypocrisy.

Many of those demanding to address The Debt by cutting spending on social programs like Social Security and Medicare also demand increased spending to serve the military-industrial complex. and they have a long history of going into expensive wars without worrying how to pay for them. They said deficit spending was a mean practice and wasn’t clean, and the Left must try to not do it any more . . . And they paid for their wars with I.O.U.s ; of course that was all right, because they done it themselves.

So, I try not to question anyone’s motivation, intelligence, awareness, their willingness to seek the truth, or the courage to accept it – unless there is pretty good evidence of willful or unwitting hypocrisy. When someone disagrees with me, that is a good thing – If a rational, factual argument comes with it. But too often, as G.C. Lichtenberg said, “unbelief in one thing is founded on blind belief in another.”

It seems to me that if someone falls into Lichtenberg’s category, he has a responsibility to either find a rational, factual argument to support his view or be ready to have his motivation questioned.

This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal