In her book Fascism, Madeline Albright dedicates it to all those who fight fascism, “in others, and in themselves.” Hypocrisy is the root of all conflict in the world. It has been characterized in many ways. Orwell called it Doublethink; the ability to hold two contradictory ideas simultaneously. Others point out the saying of one thing but doing the opposite. Hypocrisy is not criminal behavior. A crook knows he is lying and cheating and robbing. A hypocrite, in contrast, believes himself to be virtuous. This is because it is easy to make a comparison to others and find oneself superior. Defeating hypocrisy (or fascism) requires holding oneself to a higher moral, practical and objective standard. It is a battle within. The Muslims call it jihad; the struggle. All religions have defined hypocrisy as the ultimate obstacle to heaven, karma, or whatever stage of finality they aspire.
The most obvious indicator of hypocrisy is when people are outward looking, rather than inward looking, and making simplistic comparisons on superficial issues that make themselves feel good. In politics, this is often called hanging out the red meat. This is very common at political conventions, where everyone assembles to not discuss and solve pressing issues, but to assign endless blame to the opposing party. While there is plenty of intra-party squabbling at these events, the overall goal, much like the Revolution, is to make the hypocrisy of the outer circle more important than the hypocrisy of the inner circle. Perhaps this is why the world has remained in a perpetual state of crisis for centuries.
Every epiphany, period of enlightenment, reform or personal growth and progress involves some degree of overcoming personal contradictions. It is movement on a very long arch. For example, when Washington and Jefferson kept slaves while promoting individual liberties. Freeing them at your death is as meaningless as The Giving Pledge by modern billionaires. It is sharing through the eye of a needle, and maintains all the systemic cruelty and injustice of our fascist status quo. Gandhi hoped people to be the change they wanted to see in the world. Yet, as soon as the British left India, there was a bloodbath. The political liberation of the nation was an illusion because there was no personal defeat of hypocrisy. Russia, China and other nations have all shared the same political liberation failures. In other words, the means are the ends. There is simply no room for hypocrisy in any form, at any place, at any time. While it may be difficult to immediately extract oneself from the institutionalized hypocrisy that surrounds and supports us in our daily needs, we must begin by clearly defining the trap we are in and how we contribute to keeping the jaws shut upon our ankles. As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”