Fake Hypocrisy Versus Real Hypocrisy

Fake Hypocrisy Versus Real HypocrisyThere’s this thing about modern American conservatism: it’s clueless appropriation of liberal complaints. You see it all the time in countless ways. But I want to talk about hypocrisy today, because of something I just saw. But before I get to that, I want to go back almost three years.

At that time, I wrote an article about the religious scholar Robert M Price. He’s incredibly knowledgeable on Christianity, but also other things like New Age belief systems and H P Lovecraft. And in this way, he’s what one would have to call a liberal — some would say a radical. But politically, he’s conservative. But he’s not a smart conservative. Whenever he talks about politics, it’s clear that all his information comes from right wing radio.

And on one occasion, he said something that I had heard so many times before. He was talking about hypocrisy as it related to the Bible. And then he gave an example.

Fake Hypocrisy

I wrote at the time:

And as an example, he mentioned Congress members who excluded themselves from Obamacare. Well, as anyone who knows anything about Obamacare can tell you: Obamacare doesn’t affect people who already get healthcare from their employers. But it is because of this conservative talking point that the law was changed and gummed up even more.

This is a clear example of fake hypocrisy. The Democratic members of Congress (Remember: not a single Republican in either house voted for it.) weren’t treating themselves any different than they were treating people who work full-time at Walmart.

“Republican legislators liked this policy well enough to offer it in a new amendment. They do not, however, seem to like it enough to have it apply to themselves and their staff.” –Sarah Kliff

Now sure: if Congress had passed single-payer healthcare and forbade people from buying private insurance (something that would never happen) and then kept their previous insurance, that would have been hypocrisy. But that wasn’t the case. Price thought it was hypocrisy because he didn’t know what he was talking about.

Real Hypocrisy

And so we come to the present day. On Monday, Sarah Kliff wrote, Republicans Exempt Their Own Insurance From Their Latest Health Care Proposal. She put it simply, “House Republicans appear to have included a provision that exempts members of Congress and their staff from their latest health care plan.” What she’s talking about is the provision that allows states to opt out of “Obamacare’s ban on preexisting conditions.” You know: so that sick people in Alabama and Idaho could be further screwed over. I guess in the fantasyland of Republicans, that’s called “Choice!”

But Kliff continued:

Republican legislators liked this policy well enough to offer it in a new amendment. They do not, however, seem to like it enough to have it apply to themselves and their staff. A spokesperson for Representative Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), who authored this amendment, confirmed this was the case: Members of Congress and their staff would get the guarantee of keeping these Obamacare regulations.

I wish that Dr Price read the newspaper instead of getting all his news filtered through Rush Limbaugh. Because here is a case of real hypocrisy. In fact, it is a case of stunningly wicked hypocrisy. This is Old Testament kind of hypocrisy — you know: David and Bathsheba hypocrisy.

It’s All Different Now

Of course, now everything’s changed. Yesterday, Kliff wrote, GOP House Member Says He’ll Fix the Exemption for Congress in His Health Bill. The member in question is Tom MacArthur himself. But the only reason he’s removing it from the bill is because he got caught. If it hadn’t been reported on, it would have stayed. MacArthur put it in the bill because, like most Republican politicians, he’s a real hypocrite.

To make matters worse, MacArthur appears to have lied about the reason he put it in. He blamed the Senate Budget Committee. The Senate Budget Committee spokesperson said in no uncertain terms that this was absolutely false. It was not, as Ben Bradlee would say, “A non-denial denial.”

Summing Up

A liberal friend of mine doesn’t like it when I go after Republicans so harshly because she has Republican family members and friends. But the funny thing is that as I’ve become less partisan — feeling like I’m floating out there far to the Democratic Party’s left — my opinion of Republicans has cratered. The politicians are — with almost no exceptions — simply evil. And the voters are stupid, ignorant, or both.

I just don’t have the time for it anymore. If the Soviet Union was the Evil Empire, the United States is the Evil Empire. And that’s certainly what the world thinks. But like all evil empires throughout history, we think we’re just spreading peace and love. We are an ignorant people. It’s not surprising that half of us can’t tell the difference between fake hypocrisy and real hypocrisy.

We’ve Lived Long in a Post-Truth World

Richard SeymourWe live, supposedly, in an age of “fake news” and “post-truth politics.” This is a misunderstanding. “Pre-post-truth politics” includes the era of the “war on terror” and its deceptions, and the orthodoxies and falsehoods which led to the elite debacle of the credit crunch. It is technique, not truth, which has been found wanting. That is, the idea of a “fact” as an objective measurement of reality, is losing ground in the post-credit crunch era.

“Post-truth politics” is what, until now, we have been living under: technocracy, in a word. The “monstrous worship of facts,” as Wilde called it, is nothing other than an avoidance of the question of truth. The category of “fake news” describes a fusion of infotainment, propaganda, public relations and churnalism which has been long in the making, now accelerated by online advertising revenues. The moral panic which blames “fake news” for the rise of fascism and right-wing populism misses the point that these degraded ecologies of information have triumphed in the vacuum of political possibilities produced by the post-Cold War consensus.

What the moral panic also obscures, by displacing it, is the fact that “fake news” is just one symptom of the breakdown of the near ideological monopoly previously enjoyed by large commercial and state media outlets.

–Richard Seymour
After the Catastrophe: Resistance and the Post-Truth Era