As I sit here cold soaking macaroni noodles (as a result of yesterday's lost fuel canister), I will pen another essay for the series of hiking rants someone I'm walking with might hear on the trail.
Hypocrisy is irrelevant!
In coloquial terms, the meaning of hypocrisy is perhaps best captured in the Bible.
Matthew 7:3-5 (New International Version)
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Well Matthew, I hate to break this news to you, the plank in my eye is irrelevant if the problem is framed around the speck in my brother's eye.
As Matthew defines hypocrisy, society at large will agree.
But of what use is Matthew's revelation? None.
People who complete defined goals, first have a defined problem.
If we can agree that a speck in someone's eye is a problem (in the literal and methophorical sense), and I'm able to spot that speck, even with a plank in my eye, then I am able to define the problem.
Building on that logic, the only point at which the plank in my eye becomes relevant, is if the plank in my eye totally inhibits me from removing the speck in my brother's eye.
Matthew may argue, that yes, this plank prevents me from removing the speck in my brother's. But I think he's being dramatic, I'd like to think I can remove that speck with one eye closed.
We can evaluate hypocrisy in two ways: defining the problem, and solving the problem.
Hypocrisy is irrelevant in defining the problem, as I explained. Hypocrisy might be indirectly relevant in the context of solving the problem, but I argue the majority of hipocrisy allegations are centered around the person who's defining the problem.
I will concede, in few cases, the plank in my eye might mean I'm not the best choice to remove the speck in my brother's eye (provided that there's actually someone else literally there to solve the problem). But the guy with the plank in his eye should be judged on his merits as the person to solve the problem, not as a hypocrite.
So people are labeling each other hypocrites and discounting people who really are qualified to define and solve the problem, what's the big deal?
One of the classic cases of hypocrisy in American history revolves around the Founding Fathers. Many of these men were slave owners, yet their fundamental ideology was the opposition of the tyrannical government in Great Britain who ruled the American colonies.
I can just hear that primordial ooze known as Rachel Maddow speaking on MSNBC in 1776:
"Who is George Washington (a slave owner since the age of 11) to call Great Britain tyrannical? (With sassy inflection) Has he misplaced his slaves? "
Well Rachel, as it turns out, George Washington, and the other slave owning Founding Fathers, were perfectly capable of identifying and eliminating a tyrannical government despite their hypocrisy (one eye closed Matthew).
If today was May 25, 1776, and Americans were as infatuated with hypocrisy as they are now, the Founding Fathers might just be social exiles, and America might just be under England's rule in perpetuity.
And of course, shortly after the Founding Fathers were socially exhiled, the colonial jester, Michael Moore, would be filming a documentary about how the American Colonies need to pay more taxes to Great Britain for health care...
Let's not limit ourselves by discounting people who are qualified to define and solve problems. Hypocrisy is irrelevant.
PCT Mile 415.