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We'll Need to Treat Hypocrisy More Kindly

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An age of transparency looms, and people and institutions everywhere are terrified. Private citizens have only as much privacy as may survive the efforts of hucksters and bureaucrats to collect every trace of information abroad in the world. Closet miscreants, secret philanderers, solitary onanists are in constant danger of exposure by wire and camera. Corporations and government agencies are outed as criminal enterprises. No practitioner of human activity traditionally done behind a veil can be certain any longer of concealment.

I find I couldn't be more pleased. I was tired of the bullshit.

But the full disclosure of everything, and the accountability that follows, threatens doom to the oldest, most widespread, most frequently charged and invariably denied human appurtenance of them all: hypocrisy.

We're all going to have to come to grips with this problem, and soon.

At the same time universal awareness of everyone's secrets renders blackmail impossible, it will also expose every apparent or obvious hypocrisy to the light of day -- and most painfully, I should think, for the hypocrite hermself*. As a hypocrite of long standing but no unusual distinction, I'm less daunted by the thought of being unmasked to fellow citizens, who probably have suspected me all along, than by the thought of having to come clean by giving up hypocrisies that have made my life supportable. If I were required to put up or shut up on any number of noble pretensions, I think I might have to kill myself.

Accordingly, I'd like to propose that all of us cut all of the others a break. If the default answer to the charge "You're a hypocrite!" necessarily becomes "Well, duh!", then the charge loses its currency, and we can hope it'll go away. Once our hypocrisies are a matter of public record, we'll all feel obliged to do better. Just imagine the benefits!

Unfortunately, the cognitive dissonance that will prompt potential saints like you and me to reform, will not do so with corporations, which, while persons under the law, by their fiduciary duty to maximize profit for their shareholders are of necessity sociopathic persons. In their case, coercion will be required.

As for governments, we'll have to take those back. That's what the whistleblowers are for.


*Gender-neutral yet grammatical pronoun.

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My glib attempt at a labor-saving biographical note, viz., "D. E. Tingle is a severely neglected novelist and occasional malcontent. Google him.", did not pass muster with the editors. Understandably. Here is some of what it leaves out: Full (more...)

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We'll Need to Treat Hypocrisy More Kindly

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