Are you tired of politicians ranting about our rampant drug culture, yet being outed as heroin addicts? Do you fear your co-workers because they're bright and sunny to your face, while calling you every name in the hopes of getting you fired? Are royally pissed when a religion touts love, acceptance, and forgiveness, while lambasting rape victims for getting abortions, denying gays rights, and hating the things that they don't understand?
Then you, my friend, are a prime candidate for my market research seminar about a brilliant new surgical innovation: the hypocritic-ectomy.
The concept of hypocrisy was brought to the forefront of my mind as I listened to the actor, social media wizard, and activist George Takei being interview on Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Collasal Podcast. Takei, one of the most genuine, brilliantly-funny human creatures to grace this earth, spoke of an instance of witnessing hypocrisy in his life, one that spurred him to announce that he was gay.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, who in 2005 was still Governor of California, vetoed a bill that would make gay marriage legal in his state, despite both before and after the decision stating that he accepted and supported the rights of gay people. Understandably, Takei was incensed by this blatant act of hypocrisy and came out as gay, starting a renaissance in his career that has made him the icon he is today.
Last night, reading a book by Deborah Lipstadt entitled History on Trial, I was presented with another perfect personification of hypocrisy on a massive scale. Lipstadt, who was the author of Denying the Holocaust, was brought to court by "historian" David Irving on charges of Libel. Irving, a notorious Holocaust denier, defended himself against charges of racism and antisemitism by stating that he employed many minorities in his personal staff, including a black assistant who had "great cans", as well as his driver and cook, whom he assured were Jewish. (Ahem...Donald Trump, is that you?) Not surprisingly, Lipstadt won the suit and Irving was forced to crawl back, with his tail between his legs, into obscurity.
The fact that both Schwarzenegger and Irving could espouse such hateful ideologies, while publically touting themselves as fair and balanced, are two of the most vivid instances of hypocrisy I could every have been presented with, and it just so happened they came within a few hours of each other.
Hypocrisy is a cancer that, unlike the real malady, is utterly and completely contagious. Words have the power to sway those who don't think for themselves or believe in a rational way of espousing a philosophy. To have such people governing us and influencing us is akin to a man calling you into a meeting, pushing you into an empty room, and throwing a beehive in after you. Whether you are able to fend off the wounds or succumb to them is up to your own strength and fortitude.
The plight of the individual battling hypocrisy is perfectly illustrated in the following quote from Stephen Sondheim's musical Into the Woods: "You decide what's right, you decide what's good. Just remember: someone is on your side, someone else is not... While you're seeing your side, maybe you forgot?"
To hold the ability to mold someone's life is one of the greatest importance. Words have to power to enslave, murder, and incite great violence. Words spurred racists to enslave Africans and inspire Nazis to exterminate the jews.
But, how can we combat a foe that is, for the most part, invisible, hidden inside someone's mind? My suggestion is to firmly espouse a philosophy. Integrate it into your life, your views, and your decision-making. Look at life rationally, through your own lens, and see the world for what it is and what it can be. If you hold a philosophy of violence, your world will be filled with death. If you hold a philosophy of benevolence, your world will be one of light.
We are not helpless infants who need to be corralled into a belief system. We evolved because we were able to think independently and realize that earth is meant to be lived in, not died on. A person's life is their own, and the thoughts of others should hold no sway on what you must believe.
The only way we can move forward is to become Takei or Lipstadt and call out those who are hypocritical and prove them to be so. Don't resort to ad hominem attacks and petty feuds; live in a way that illustrates your philosophy on life.
As I have said many times before, it's okay to be Takei!
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