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Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

The Depths of Hypocrisy

| 39 Comments

I was just thinking of some phrases I’ve heard over the years, where the hypocrisy reaches such a level one can only stand, mouth open, shaking one’s head in wonder.  Here are a few that I’ve actually heard presented seriously:

“But if there was universal health care, think of all the insurance company office staff who’d be laid off.”

“If we don’t bail out the banks, it will really cut into the tips of the waiters who serve the Wall Street millionaires.”

“I’d have more respect for Snowden if he’d given himself up.”

“Those workers on strike against my company just don’t care how much they’re hurting the small businesses in the area.”

“The people of [Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Vietnam &c &c] want us to intervene.”

“People on welfare could support themselves if they really wanted to.”

What are your favorites?

 

skzb

Author: skzb

I play the drum.

39 Comments

  1. Saw a great one on Twitter today — apparently Cassandra Clare doesn’t want anyone writing fanfic about the Mortal Instruments series. Less of an important thing than the stuff you’ve posted about, for sure, but I definitely just couldn’t help but laugh at that.

  2. There are some people in the city I live in that have signs posted in their yard, “RELIGIOUS LIBERTY our most cherished freedom”. I happened to walk by one of these homeowners, and it seems that they didn’t think building a mosque at the site of the WTC fit under religious liberty…

  3. “Indexing the minimum wage would be an absolute job killer.”

    “Nobody ever gave me anything in life.”

    “Fast food workers don’t deserve a living wage.”

    “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?”

  4. I think that the Syria observation needs a bit of care. While it is certainly true that warmongers and politicians are deeply hypocritical while making that statement, when I hear it in my day-to-day life it’s more often a sign of naivety. And I’ve heard it often from kind, well-meaning, naive, people. Like I was, as I’m certain that I said it of the invasion of Kuwait at 19 years old.

    And not to beat on this one topic too hard, but to your question of other examples, I found congress and Kerry’s “There will not be American boots on the ground [but we are willing to kill many, many, Syrians from a nice safe distance]” particularly hard to take today.

  5. skzb

    Lou: You make a valid point.

  6. Surely the bank/waitstaff one was meant humorously… surely.

    Please?

  7. skzb

    Mechaninja: No, I’m afraid not.

  8. Syria Conflict: Opposition Leader Haytham Al-Manna Criticises Plans For US Military Intervention As ‘Satanic’

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/02/syria-conflict-manna_n_3854981.html

    “There is no option of military aggression against the regime, it will be against.. the population.”

    “US ordnance won’t “make the distinction between military and civilian targets. I saw what happened in Iraq..and all the previous American interventions.”

    “the majority of Syrian society is against any foreign military intervention”.

    It’s been over two decades since the first Gulf War. Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t really part of the news cycle anymore. Cable News ratings must need a boost.

  9. One of my “favorites:” “If you didn’t want to get pregnant, why did you have sex?”

  10. I’ve also never understood why it is acceptable to use Tomahawk’s against military targets but not send in SEAL Team 6 and just deal with the leadership that’s ostensibly the real problem.

    I mean, neither option is actually great, in a lot of circumstances, but at least ST6 should result in fewer casualties? Assuming an actual plan can be put together that has a reasonable chance of success, so I mean not the ST6 run by USG, obviously.

    Nevermind, I get it now.

  11. The problem is it’s not hypocrisy when it’s presented seriously. Walk into any cafe in the heartland, listen to any political discussion, you’ll hear the same and worse. It’s submission to the Big Lie.

  12. @Mechaninja: The usually relevant concept is that of a “gentlemen’s agreement”. It is always the little people’s job to suffer and die to resolve the conflicts of their betters. How would ruling be any fun at all otherwise?

  13. “If everyone just took responsibility for looking after their own, there wouldn’t be any need for welfare,” said the well-dressed woman in the airplane seat next to me.

  14. Emma: The sad thing about that one is it’s true and hypocritical both at the same time. For suitable definitions of “their own” anyway.

  15. A particular favorite of mine:

    “I’m from the Government & I’m here to help.”

    Still cracks me up…

  16. Keith, you’re saying you’ve heard someone say that? Who was working for the government in a service role? Sorry, but I doubt it.

    The fact is that a great many people who work either as civil servants or in government-paid service jobs that involve offering service or help to people — health-care, police, emergency, and even state security services — even some of the clerks at the DMV — are sincere caring people who really do want to help.

    It’s the corrupting influence of power, the divisive effects of tribal mentalities, and the malicious direction of their political superiors that pervert their efforts into negative results. That, and some of them are SOBs, but that’s not the rule at all.

  17. Actually heard in the wild: “I know for certain that there is no hunger in New York City because I volunteer at a soup kitchen.”

    For added amusement, the woman who told me that was the wife of a French Baron, lived in a 1.2 million dollar condo in the early ’90s, and thought that she shouldn’t have to pay city taxes.

  18. “In my lifetime I can not recall our country has ever been so divided and hateful to one another. My reading of History informs me that we came close during Vietnam, the Civil Rights era, and of course RevWar II and RevWarI.”

    Not heard, but read on a “patriot” website. These are the people who have shot police at traffic stops, and whose plan to end the divisiveness includes building a fortified city in Idaho for the True Believers. I won’t even address the reading of history that, of course, mentions RevWarII.

  19. skzb

    Um. Never heard the term “RevWarI” or “RevWarII”. I ask with trepidation, what do they mean?

  20. Miramon.

    My wife & I are caregivers for a young man with severe & numerous handicaps & I have been at the sharp end of the fight against budget cuts to the Community Access programs being proposed by the Alberta Government since the budget came out in February. While I might be paraphrasing, this is EXACTLY the justification that has been presented by some of the spokespersons for the Minister’s office. That eliminating these programs will somehow “help” these individuals. If you don’t believe me, I suggest you Google – Alberta PDD (Persons with Developmental Disabilities) Budget. You might also look at the Calgary Herald’s archived columns from Don Braid. While I do agree that there are many working in the service end of Government that do stellar work & they deserve our support & kudos, there are also those that are so far out of touch with their constituencies that they are doing more harm than good. Unfortunately, we live in a province that has been a Conservative stronghold for over 40 years & our only other viable option is a relatively new party (Wild Rose) that is even further to the right.

    I understand & applaud your defense of most government workers, I do, however, resent being called a liar. This might not have not have been your intent, but if not, you might have been a tad more circumspect in your choice of words.

    On a slightly more optimistic note…The backlash over these proposed cuts has been so pronounced that, prior to the Legislature breaking for the summer, the Government seemed to be retreating somewhat from its position. Having said that, there’s no telling what might transpire when they return to work. Suffice it to say that I’m under no illusion that this particular battle is over.

  21. I’m going to guess “RevWarII” is the Civil War, and hope I’m wrong.

  22. Sorry if I offended you, Keith, but your quote is a joke that was lame in its first delivery and wore out its welcome before either of us was born.

    Of course there have been political hypocrites who have justified mis-, mal- and non-feasance with the claim their action was for the greater good probably since the founding of Ur, but since this is a thread of quotes and actual experiences, that one throwaway line sounded like a mere piling on of weak anti-governmental rhetoric.

    However, I’m sure your experiences in Alberta are valid and discouraging.

  23. Miramon.

    Wow. That’s quite the apology. Is there perhaps another stick I might provide you with which to further beat me? Nice concession at the end however, acknowledging that my experiences with various levels of government MIGHT be valid.

  24. Keith, I was explaining how your original comment appeared shallow to me, and continues to do so. I don’t apologize for deprecating it in this context. I am not attacking you personally, however, hence my “sorry”. If you choose to interpret “I’m sure” as “might” that’s your call.

  25. To be is to do — Shakespeare
    To do is to be — Niestchze
    Do be do be do — Frank Sinatra (Strangers in the night) 🙂
    Ya ba da ba do — Fred Flintstone :3
    Rooby-rooby-roo — Scooby Doo

    and my favorite is “well that’s Hold’em!!!”

  26. a few more from George Carlin RIP

    “If you can’t beat them, arrange to have them beaten”

    “Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist”

    “The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.”

    “By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth”

    “Atheism is a non-prophet organization”

    “The next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election”

  27. Good Heavens, people — settle down. I know Steven won’t say it, but I’m not as nice as he is.

  28. This may not be in the same class as Steven’s examples, but this is one that has always bothered me. Some years ago during the American occupation of Iraq when the US forces were using a lot of drone strikes within Iraq, and often civilians were being killed as a direct result, a general [I think it was] from the occupation forces stated at a press conference that “The US army does everything it can to avoid civilian casualties.” I am not sure whether I am more dismayed at the thought that he (and by extension, others in the command structure) really believed this or by the thought that he was not being honest. Clearly the way to avoid civilian casualties is not to use drone strikes in cities and towns, but that would get in the way of “the mission”.

  29. Kevin

    The way to avoid civilian casualties is not to have foreign armed forces in the country.

  30. “Never heard the term ‘RevWarI’ or ‘RevWarII’. I ask with trepidation, what do they mean?”

    I looked at the link someone else provided, and that’s not what the mainstream[*] patriots tend to mean. For them, Rev War I is, of course, the Reolutionary War, but they’re divided on RevWarII. Some think it will occur if another Democrat is elected President. They think all the decent, hardworking patriots will rise up in righteous indignation and shoot the bejeezus out of the filthy, godless gun grabbers. Some think the Civil War was RevWarII, it’s just one the good guys, i.e. the anti-government side, lost.

    * Studying these people is my hobby, and using “mainstream” isn’t accurate, since they’re all fairly unbalanced, but there are ideas and positions accepted by most all of them, and some only the furtherst out there accept, like the hard core conspiracies.

  31. Old friend I hadn’t seen in upteen years actually hit me with the BS about “Why don’t we get the profits since we are paying the expense of rebuilding Iraq?” I pointed out that they hadn’t exactly asked us to blow up their entire infrastructure in the first place and got a blank stare in return.

  32. What seems to me the most quintessentially American example is the one where all that matters is preventing The Evil Enemy Who Will Eat The World If We Do Not Put Our Foot Down from turning something to its nefarious ends, and it becomes possible to make utterances of the form “It became necessary to destroy the [insert anything at all you like here, really] in order to save it.”

  33. While most of these are 100% crazy, the syria one is only 50% crazy, as a fraction of Syrians *do* want US intervention: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/world/middleeast/on-both-sides-syrians-make-pleas-to-us.html?hp&_r=0

  34. David, as your link points out, US intervention in Syria is so important to so many people that there are well-funded attempts to fake support or opposition among the Syrian public.

    I question the sincerity of Syrians who say they want US intervention, because for 10 years Syrians have had the chance to listen to refugees from Iraq who saw the result of US intervention there. Of course now, while US intervention is still mostly covert, there are lots of Syrian refugees in Iraq….

  35. My level of cynicism is not as high as yours; I suspect that in Syria, just as the US, there are reasonable people on either side. No need to fake. In addition, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are many people who have been so hurt by Assad’s assault that they would sign a pact with “The Great Satan” himself, just to see Assad hurt too, even if the long-term effects aren’t clear.

  36. For the depths (or maybe the heights) of hypocrisy: “If you can’t find a job, just borrow $500,000 from your parents and start a business.”

  37. Bumper Sticker: “Applying for welfare should be as hard as applying for a building permit.”. Oddly, having been though both processes, I totally agree, though the person with the bumper sticker probably wouldn’t find that amusing. Getting a building permit was easy and everyone I spoke to was kind and helpful. Not so much with AFDC.

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