Is hypocrisy worse than out-and-out evil?

OTOH, why bother to listen to a guy railing about how cruel fur is when he’s wearing a leather jacket? If the person claiming that a particular philosophy is good can’t bring themselves to follow it in their own life, why should I waste time deciding if I should follow it in mine?

Ahh… solipsism! =)

A hypocrite does require a degree of energy and intelligence obviously… which is why I had those words between these: ‘’, the same way you used these: “”.

Hypocrisy is much easier to execute in action to provide a “win”, than transparency. Intellectual power has a huge selective advantage, because of it’s scarcity… this is offset by two phenomenon associated with it however:

Intellectual power cannot stop a bullet no matter how correct its opinion is.

More importantly:
Intellectual power doesn’t try to stop a bullet, because it realizes the act would be hypocritical.

Sometimes the trust violation goes the other way:
If a person of great ability in one area cannot seemingly lose, they will internally handicap themselves and play a stricter game with a stricter set of rules. The rules would be encrypted so as to not yeild transparency to the ‘martyrdom’; which is really just boredom in this scenario. Hypocrites modify rules outside of an agreed system, while those who possess actual natural capacity will modify rules within the system, by collapsing many key options from their use. The intellectual capacity comes into play when someone has a very clear sence of where non-transparency exists; and is bored by people who utilize it. Notice I had the “pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey” player note his non-transparency and his understanding of the capacity to violate trust before placing the blindfold on themselves. I also had those who violated this persons trust call them ‘stupid’; reflecting their own insignificance. It is not a matter of lack of intellectualism on the trust violators; but a matter of processing speeds when they reach a certain critical mass of simulation with those who do not violate trust. It reflects their boredom with the ease of the endevour, and with the mindset that robotically takes the opportunity. If you saw ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’; you may recall how the young girl used a limited skill set on her female master; while her female master used covert technology to aid in her own shortcomings (often times this technology is made by someone else). It’s like when you see the huge kung-fu master doing all these amazing forms and so-and-so pulls out a gun and shoots them, and everyone thinks they are so cool for doing so. Where is the talent, where is the energy or the skill, where is the superiority, where is the winner?

Now give that same kung-fu master a gun and many years to practice and have a duel and then see who is better. Give them your technology or your rule-set and see how you fair against what may clearly be exhibited as a fundamentally more superior opponent both physically and intellectually.

The trust violation / trust violation detection ratio is so out of whack that people who violate trust simply achieve more in life.
You have to do all sorts of immoral and trust violating stuff just to get friends and even more-so; dates; which both feed on each-other to enhance a social collective which improve your opportunities in life. You can trace gestures and sentence structures hypocritically exceedingly fast observing these types of interactions (gossip, teasing) between peer groups. Both which are insanely easy trust violation mechanisms to attack the sub-concious brain of your ‘victim’, and elicit chamichal reactions that burn the pattern solving mechanism of their brain with your image.

People who actually violate trust are so unaware as to how their glories are self-explanitory that they actually do them. That is the difference in intelligence between the two.


  1. Contrary to Eris’ last post, many hypocrites I have known displayed a certain lack of self-reflection (or a lack of self-criticism, rather).

To use the example here, somebody who wears a leather jacket and complains about how cruel fur is may truly believe that mink are treated less cruelly than cattle (dubious AFAIK, BTW, but IANAE). Or they may be hiding a simple distaste for certain forms of luxury spending underneath a phony display of care for animals. Or, they may really feel sentimental about animals, but have failed to think the issue through.

I suppose the defining moment comes when they are confronted with the contradiction.

  1. Another sort of hypocrite possesses self-awareness. The classic case is St. Augestine: “Lord make me chaste, but not now.” (paraphrase). These characters know they are doing wrong, feel bad about it, but are displaying all-too-human weakness. The societal context produced by this sort of hypocracy has certain advantages. (i.e. more demanding moral standards).

  2. Eris: Hypocrites undermine open discourse by bringing in an element of subtle paranoia at best, and rampant distrust at worst. As such, they affect more than evil because a fear of suspecting hypocrites brings even honest men under suspicion.

Ah, but a little paranoia does wonders for maintaining societal standards. For example, it encourages the highest ethical standards for honest men, the better to display their honesty and the better to make significant offenses all the more unthinkable.

  1. Hypocracy is the complaint of the young against the authority of their elders. As such, it may not be coincidental that tolerance for hypocracy bottomed when there was a demographic bulge among the 15-30 set.

Well, I was sort of disregarding the hypocrites that haven’t thought their morals through carefully enough, and was more or less focusing on those who simply do not practice what they preach in a deliberate manner. That’s how the OP struck me, not as vegans who use Elmer’s Glue to make “Save the Owl” collages without really thinking about it.

In my head, we’re comparing true evil to hidden evil, not some bumbling hypocrite who isn’t even really aware of their hypocracy. But hey, whatever way the conversation goes. :slight_smile:

Interesting line of thought there, flowbark. I can recognize that as a selective element of society. I guess the only question that remains is: which is stronger?—The desire to present a false front and get away with the things one may truly desire to do, or the desire to fit in honestly? Sociopaths and antisocial personality disorder persons are more or less the exact breed of hypocrite that I am thinking of. How common is this behavior, really?

Justthink, I am getting a strong feeling that you are more or less biased toward your view of intelligent behavior. Why operating within the rules is automatically more intelligent or worthy is something that I am missing. We are discussing people who recognize those rules, look and act like they obey the rules, and then use this very facade against others. Which is more intelligent, the inventer of—say—Stratego or a world champion (given that they are two different persons, and that, in fact, a single person invented the game “Stratego” which I don’t know at all)? Cheating is only stupid to an agent acting inside the rules. But to the cheater, those acting in the rules are the stupid ones: don’t they realize what they are missing?!??


As far as the kung-fu western goes, the entire point of intentional hypocracy is to undermine the playing field. That’s its brand of genius. The hypocrite knows they cannot achieve their goals without acting outside the construct, and yet they also know that they cannot achieve their goals by blatently acting outside the construct, and so they put up a nice paperboard storefront, slap some red paint on it, and call it a one-horse town.

The “goodness” of playing by the rules is in no way fundamental, else we wouldn’t have hypocrites in the first place. But I agree with your assessment of why we don’t like them: because they don’t play fair. No doubt about that.

I’m not sure what we are arguing about, really.

Why indeed. I suppose you could say that the inability of other people to follow a code of ethics doesn’t affect your own responsibility to behave ethically.

But I’m just as likely as you to roll my eyes faced with scenarios like the example you gave, or when I see a pop star doing a TV spot about how drugs aren’t glamorous.

I’m more interested in the people who brandish pointing out hypocrisy as a rhetorical weapon to derail a discussion. This is particularly dangerous when it is a person arguing in support of the status quo, where their objective can be met merely by stifling meaningful debate instead of actually making cogent arguments in favor of their position.


That would assume that I already accepted the other person’s system of ethics, which pretty clearly wasn’t what I was talking about. If I already accepted what they said, I wouldn’t be concerned about debating what they were saying. But if someone is telling me that I shouldn’t do X when they do X as a matter of course, the first question that pops into my head is ‘why do you do it, then?’ and that serves as a good filter for whether they’re even worth listening to. If you want to convince people to follow what you believe, start by convincing yourself.

One that pops up occasionally is the guy who goes on about how modern technology is bad, and how we should go back to being hunter-gatherers… and he’s doing this on a computer, in a climate-controlled apartment, while eating supermarket food, while wearing factory-made clothes, and taking modern medicine. The logical question to ask is why, if going back to old times would be so good, he doesn’t do it? If the person can’t give a good reason why they’re sticking with all of this soul-destroying technology they hate, there’s really not much point in examining their arguments in detail.

Ribo, in the Unabomber’s Manifesto he makes a rather interesting comment about just what you mentioned in your last sentence there. I have a copy printed out at home so I’ll see if I can dig it up (don’t have time for an internet search, and not for that material while at work!!) and present it. The gist of it, though, was that there is a message that needs to get out to people, and we shouldn’t confuse the medium with it. Yes, the internet is effective in reaching a large number of people; this doesn’t mean the internet is a good thing, or that someone preaching “death to the internet” should feel compelled not to use it.

Some, you see, might consider it some form of poetic justice.


I guess to sum up where I’m going (I have a nasty habit of rambling because I assume everybody thinks like me =)…

I don’t see any moral or ethical or logical reason to eat food or drink water or do anything. So, I tend to equate hypocracy at the very base level of what compells a person to live. From my vantage point, violating trust is basically the equivilent of hypocrisy squared! It is this essense (to me) of not championing transparency in your own acts, that creates what people consider to be evil. I see a close if not equative quality to evil, hypocrisy and trust violation - almost as if they are the same words; or express the same fundamental mechanism of human determinism.
Sure; jumping out of the system is intelligent, but to do so covertly, violating trust; to me, represents less ability to process system collapsing inconsistencies in relation to behavior and action on a ‘larger’ scheme.
We know that to cheaters, those acting within the rules are seen as the stupid ones… cheaters to me are like small children using their vantage points to judge the actions of an adult (though not all small children are intellectually challenged). One thing that tends to elude small children is how repetative and boring things become over the course of life. An idea like: “sure you can always violate someone’s trust; but what’s the point?” will become broader and broader as humans progress in age… for some this reaches a critical mass of boredom for the entire system… It’s like a child prodding an adult and saying, “Didn’t you get the fart joke? Well, why aren’t you laughing then? Obviously you didn’t get it.”

Hypocrisy ties in with knowledge, experience, raw processing speed for data and a mechanism to discard your response to certain patterns over time.
It like, “What you’re going to kill me?” snore
Children cannot fathom this kind of behavior for they either aren’t intelligent enough or just don’t have enough knowledge accumulated over time (intelligence greatly condences time and increases relative cognitive age). What appears to be stupidity can quite simply be overwhelming wisdom and value… that’s what bothers me about those who violate trust and act in such a hypocritical manner towards life. What lies in silence may very well be what you are seeking or will someday seek for your life… to take advantage of that not only seems hypocritical but plain ignorant and stupid. When elders get tired of a game; they will typically let the children win, just to shut them up… then the child goes around boasting and whatnot… ahh… I’m rambling again.

I would argue that under any circumstance, it requires more intelligence to live transparently and survive than non-transparently. You’re idea about fascade’s representing higher level intelligence doesn’t take into account how much easier it is to pretend things are true than to actually embody and discover truth. We have rows upon rows of fiction and only a few phenomenal books of truth that everyone would agree upon, littering the libraries. How difficult is it to not gossip, tease or storytell and make a friend or get a date? It’s nearly impossible… you can imagine the inteligence of a genuine person having success over the underhanded hypocrisies associated with the others to be exceedingly high. To actually gain attention for being genuine (logically consistent, non-hypocritical) is IMO a much more profound measure of intelligence and ‘goodness’ to get back to the OP. I made the comment earlier, that I believe high forms of ‘goodness’ are a luxury of those with high processing speeds or vast life experience. There are adults who don’t act or look like children; even elders… but that doesn’t equate their experience in life (cognitive age) as greater than a 12 year olds. Some people are just smarter (and able better to understand and be ‘good’) than most people can achieve in a whole life-time… simply by virtue of processing speed. When you have adults and elders still caring about the score or who one or lost… this is basically the mass majority cognitive age… they literally can’t process fast enough or live long enough with their decreased processing speeds to absorb enough to hit the next stage of cognitive development in their lifetimes. Just by mere odds without other properties considered, these are going to be our commentators on the news, our politicians, our entertainment representatives… children, catering to an audience of mostly children… who think they’re adults (and use the ‘adult’ stuff that ‘adults’ make to ‘prove’ it). That’s why trust violation is so easy and always wins. being a hypocrite is easy and it’s the essense of ‘evil’ IMO.


If there is no moral, ethical, or logical reason to do anything then there can be no hypocracy; or rather, everyone is a hypocrite. No?

But isn’t that like the honest folk condemning the hypocrites? They just don’t get it.

But the hypocrite does believe what he thinks is true. For all we know the hypocrite thinks he is at least being honest to himself even if not to others. Perhaps these decicated hypocrites think that we are all lying to ourselves.

And it isn’t really that being a hypocrite necessitates more intelligence, but not necessarily less.

*Originally posted by erislover *
**If there is no moral, ethical, or logical reason to do anything then there can be no hypocracy; or rather, everyone is a hypocrite. No?


These three fall in the catagory of non-action IMO. There is a fuzzy line between people who live moral lives (still hypocritical), and those who as I said earlier; embody “hypocrisy squared”… a degree of inconsistency that seems incoprehensible to logic itself (as if logic is actually a living being or something… but that’s the gist). I personally have not solved this problem for the positive yet… I have only solved it for the negative and the neutral so far… that “fuzziness” is still something I work on trying to comprehend.
To me, the variables of direct suicide (which is hypocritical IMO) and choosing not to eat or drink (non-hypocritical expression of faith, logic, morals and ethics IMO), or murdering people given various scenarios (“hypocrisy squared” - which I call ‘cognitive dementia’ =P IMO) are the most essential and base variables to solve for when running logical simulations. Why kill someone when you can just kill yourself… why tease someone when you can just kill yourself? These questions are extremely profound to my search for capturing some sort of universally ‘objective’ form.

They would need to establish their position in regards to much more simple and logical expressions such as suicide to even be in the argument. I haven’t heard a ‘hypocrite’ defend their need to gossip: against suicide before. Most of their minds don’t even go there, because they don’t fathom how far layers of hypocrisy trigger from one supposedly ‘innocuous’ level, to much more serious levels. That is an issue of processing speed IMO, how many calls they can hold and open for the capacity to be a hypocrite… and yet have a block (dementia) to the further layers using the same process of calculation. It’s a bit like the irreducible complexity phenomenon. shrug

I would be extremely suprized and amazed… and actually delighted if a 'hypocrite could show me the “error of my ways”; clearly my personal conclusions are not what they call… mmm… ‘uplifting’ =) I have a bizarre knack to make someone seem ‘evil’ for any form of concieved benevolence… irreducibly so, as far as I can see. I’m sure others can as well.

I disagree. My opinion is that they cannot process deeper calls that render the hypocrisy null as an action… their brains ‘stick’ before that critical mass occurs and they become that embodyment of those old sayings; like:

Ignorance is bliss
Philosophers make terrible rulers

You have to be dumb to kill people IMO… or!! inexperienced in life. Time can make up for processing speed if experienced long enough, and part of ‘ruling’ in this life is actually and/or metaphorically slaughtering people and/or their psychological systems. It appears that way at least. Something I attribute to law of averages (intelligence wise – like seeing and attracting like in a mass sense). Ther nature of what it takes to achieve power and position in life conflicts with high degrees of processing speeds and bandwidth for abstract symbol manipulation. That’s my take on hypocrisy and evil – evil is hypocrisy squared =P If you can live your life, say your owrds and think your thoughts without going against the will of all possible perspectives… at least you’re not more ‘guilty’ of anything than anyone else could be. Action agaist consent. Like a serial killer walking up to a victim and telling them that they want to stalk them, kidnap them, torture and rape them for a year, perform such and such a ceremony and then kill them – you know-- transparency – and then asking permission – and accepting the answer. There is no hypocrisy in this on that level. That is logical conduct for behavior, otherwise; you may as well kill yourself… but that’s where the cognitive processing speed is impaired on the immoral … They raise hypocrisy to an entirely unecessary replication upon itself… it is wasteful logic and energy, and not indicitive of logical or experiential depth of life IMO. That is where the ‘evil’ comes from IMO.


I prefer hypocrites to fanatics.

At least hypocrites can be reasoned with, bribed, blackmailed, etc.

Why kill yourself when you can just take a nap? Why is it so fundamental to you that discarding life is easy? Are soldiers which make decisions that will directly endanger their lives taking the easy way out? What about one that shot himself in the foot to avoid battle, is that the easy way, the moral way… could it ever be the more difficult choice, more moral choice?

I’m afraid I dont understand what you mean.

I would imagine they probably wouldn’t, other than to point out what is, to them, obvious by inspection.

I am really lost by this. If a problem is solved at a surface level, how would one ever get into deeper operations? That seems ludicrous… like trying to figure out 2+2 and doing it on paper, then checking the result of the paper by doing it on an abacus, then using a calculator to chek cthe abacus, then writing your own computer program… if the problem is solved, the problem is solved. In this, again, I would tend to think the hypocrite was just a bit smarter than the rest of us. He recognizes a solution to a problem that faces him, and acts on it. All that holds him back is operating within the construct we have imposed on him as a matter of appearance.

As far as your last paragraph goes… :confused: I’m afraid I don’t follow much of it.

Ahh, but the unibomber just used the internet enough to get out ‘the message’, he still gave up technology (lived in the woods, didn’t mess around online other than to deliver his message, etc) unlike the hypothetical person in my example. Now, I’d certainly say that the unibomber was crazy, but I don’t see where he could be called hypocritical since he really did give up the benefits of technology for himself. OTOH, ‘he’s a mad bomber’ is also a good filter criteria…

It’s me, the OP. Thanks to everyone who helped enlighten me. I’m afraid that I don’t see the Unabomber argument. If you steal the car of a known thief, preventing him from stealing from others, you have still committed theft. If you believe that theft is a means to an end, by what basis do you judge the other thief? Also, perhaps hypocrite was too broad a definition, I initially referred to people who attempt to hide thoughts, not actions. Also, why is hypocrisy bad? Aside from the game-theory argument presented above, which applies to all lies and liars, why should someone who simply holds unpopular beliefs be judged for trying to hide them? Is there a difference between hypocrisy of a minister who believes that adultery is wrong, but is not proof against the sins of the flesh, and the one who has sex 24/7, but condemns it in every sermon?

The Unibomber agrument was meant to show that acting against what one says isn’t necessarily hypocracy if the end effect of this apparent hypocracy is to, in fact, promote one’s system.