Uncovering hypocrisy is important. For example, take Ted Haggard (please); here was someone who spent his entire public life telling people to avoid homosexuals and drugs, and instead obey God (or obey himself, as God’s chosen spokesman). Meanwhile he spent his private life fucking men and dealing hard drugs. Pointing out the hypocrisy there may well serve humanity; for example imagine a male, teen-age, member of Haggard’s congregation who was tortured with guilt for feeling things he was unable to control, and felt right, but believed (thanks to Ted and his friends) to be wrong.
Last night we watched an episode of Have I Got News For You which included an odious woman whom I now know to be called “Louise Mensch (Bagshawe)”. She came across as the usual sort of detached, privileged, horsey Tory MP that doesn’t understand why anyone is poor because, after all, who’d want to be poor?
During the programme, the topic of the “Occupy” protests came up, and she publicly demonstrated her simple naivety by invoking one of the most common, pathetic and hopeless arguments used by the impotent right: how can anti-Capitalism protestors be taken seriously if they buy coffee from Starbucks/buy anything/own iPhones/etc. Enjoying the “fruits of capitalism”, whilst arguing against it, made the protestors hypocrites in her eyes. Even Ian Hislop (hardly a lefty) said that he considered responding to this statement a waste of time because “it was too obvious”.
There is a problem with the entire notion of Hypocrisy in a political context: anyone who feels that their current society is flawed, and therefore wishes it would change, still lives within the constraints of that society, and is therefore ripe to be accused of hypocrisy. This isn’t a good situation, and is all too open to abuse from people who, for whatever reason, prefer the status quo.
Pointing out hypocrisy in others is far too easy for people who don’t want any sort of change. Being a hypocrite is also too easy when the alternatives are impractical. For example, and at the risk of invoking Godwin’s law, no-one would accuse someone who spent time in a concentration camp of hypocrisy because they were eating Nazi food and being complicit with Nazi rule, would they?
So how should an anti-capitalism protestor behave in order not to be accused of hypocrisy in a capitalist society? Answers on a post-card please; the address is “shoved up your own arse”.