So is "Do what I say, not what I did" hypocrisy?


#1

This is NOT meant to be political, but I have seen a few posts on CAF (not to mention the mass media) where people laugh at Bristol Palin for her abstinence campaign, or insinuate that she is being insincere or hypocritical. Now, I know that many people never liked the Palins and think they are all a bunch of phonies in general, not just in regard to sex. So maybe that's all it is. But people don't really come out and say that usually. They just say "how can she campaign for chastity when she obviously didn't wait for marriage herself?" (Since, for those of you who live in caves, she had a baby out of wedlock). As if this fact, by itself, disqualifies anyone from campaiging for chastity. And yet, Christalina Evert, was not a virgin when she married, and still is a respected Catholic chastity speaker. (Unless, of course, the people who respect her don't know about her past).

I always thought of hypocrisy as someone who says "Do what I say, not what I do." So, a person who campaigns for chastity while, say, having a secret live-in lover who they come home to every night, or someone who campaigns against drugs while regularly using drugs themselves, would be a hypocrite. But not someone who slipped up in the past and repented.

So, is this just about people being anti-Palin, or do most CAFers think that people who committed sins in the past are disqualified to speak against them? (Since that wouldn't leave too many people to speak...)


#2

I believe that "do as I say, not as I DO" is hypocrisy, but "do what I say, not as I DID," doesn't have to be. I drank heavily back in college but don't drink at all now. I saw what it did to me and others, and I have no problem telling my kids that they're better off not drinking. I don't see that as hypocrisy but as me trying to let my kids benefit from my experience. I don't have a problem with others doing the same. At the same time, I have an acquaintance who constantly rails against people she views as two-faced, gossips and those who look down on others. She'd have to slice off several dozen of her faces to just be two-faced, gossips about anyone and everyone, and would have looked down on Mother Teresa. I view that as clear hypocrisy.


#3

I don't think so, not unless you won't admit that the person you're warning is going to find some brand-new mistakes or misdeeds of his own or her own without being a bit worse than you are.

The point is not to pretend "you ought to be better than me" but rather "better not to re-invent the wheel."


#4

I'd say everyone agrees that Do What I Say, Not What I Do (present tense) is hypocrisy.

Re Do What I Say, Not What I Did (past tense), I think it all depends on the specific details. If there's been an obvious true conversion and enough time has passed, plus no obvious ulterior motives, people tend to believe it. For example, a former drug addict goes around giving the Scare You Away From Drugs speech: I doubt anyone would call that hypocrisy.

In Bristol's case, I can see people not buying it as an authentic change of heart, but more of a calculated move based on her mother (and her) becoming famous and darlings of the right side of the political spectrum.

I also assume a fair number of complainers are simply partisan hacks. Many partisan people - on both sides - could care less about using honest debate and argument, as long as they can score points and hurt the other side.


#5

In Bristol's case, I can see people not buying it as an authentic change of heart, but more of a calculated move based on her mother (and her) becoming famous and darlings of the right side of the political spectrum.

I think that as Bristol Palin has made herself a public figure (more so that her other siblings) it is certainly fair game to question her sincerity. But I'd have more respect for people who are more upfront about that, not those who insinuate it, and perhaps in the process confuse others into thinking that anyone who's had premarital sex is disqualified from advising others not to make the same mistakes they did.

I also assume a fair number of complainers are simply partisan hacks. Many partisan people - on both sides - could care less about using honest debate and argument, as long as they can score points and hurt the other side.

Certainly! (Which is why I try to stay OUT of political topics, but I couldn't think of any recent examples other than Bristol.) Also, I think a lot of these comments are made by people who move in social circles where "the Palins are all a bunch of phonies" is accepted among everyone as fact, not opinion, and so they don't even bother mentioning it. (Kinda like the story of the reporter who was shocked when Nixon won the presidency because "no one I know voted for Nixon!")


#6

Who knows better the evils of unchastity than the previously unchaste?

I'd be happy to start a campaign against Catholics getting married outside the Church, but I only really know wht a bad idea it is (from a practical rather than a moral standpoint) because I did it myself. It doesn't make me a hypocrite.

That's not to say that I couldn't be a hypocrite anyway, just that it ain't necessarily so.

--Jen


#7

In a way I see that a person who has done (whatever), has repented and is now campaigning against it, is a better advocate than someone who has never done it; because they know what it is like to be tempted, and can relate to those they are trying to reach. AND, it is a subject that would be very close to their heart. I wonder if the people criticising are people who have never succumbed to temptation.

That's not to say that you must have done the deed to campaign against it. You can be equally passionate about a topic without having done it.


#8

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:1, topic:252467"]

I always thought of hypocrisy as someone who says "Do what I say, not what I do." So, a person who campaigns for chastity while, say, having a secret live-in lover who they come home to every night, or someone who campaigns against drugs while regularly using drugs themselves, would be a hypocrite. But not someone who slipped up in the past and repented.

[/quote]

"Do what I say, not what I do" has a better chance of working if the doer repents (publicly in Ms. Palin's case) and changes it to "do as I say, not as I did".

I have no idea if she has done so.


#9

[quote="Wampa, post:4, topic:252467"]
I'd say everyone agrees that Do What I Say, Not What I Do (present tense) is hypocrisy.

[/quote]

Or addiction. If a smoker told me I'd be smart to never start, I wouldn't find that hypocritical in the least, even if she couldn't stop smoking herself. A great many sins and faults are just like that. But yes, the person does have to want to quit in order to preach against it.


#10

My stance with my younger sister, my kids, and my teen clients has been, "I know whereof I speak; let me tell you what I wish I had known at your age!"


#11

[quote="EasterJoy, post:9, topic:252467"]
Or addiction. If a smoker told me I'd be smart to never start, I wouldn't find that hypocritical in the least, even if she couldn't stop smoking herself. A great many sins and faults are just like that. But yes, the person does have to want to quit in order to preach against it.

[/quote]

Hmm, very good point :thumbsup: There is a solid addiction exception to my statement. Thanks for pointing it out!


#12

This is perhaps picky at first glance, but I think important the more you look at the idea.

Hypocrisy is not defined by the BEHAVIOR of the person in question at all. Hypocrisy is when the person's stated beliefs aren't what the person's actual interior beliefs are. Behavior is often how you can spot hypocrites, but it isn't how it should be defined.

If we define it that way, we are all hypocrites if we are against sin in general, because we're all sinners. But we aren't necessarily because we've recognized that sin does REAL harm to us and we WANT to outgrow it, but we often fail to. That's fundamentally different than the person who claims to believe something, but secretly believes the opposite.


#13

Thanks for all the replies! I especially liked this one:

Hypocrisy is not defined by the BEHAVIOR of the person in question at all. Hypocrisy is when the person's stated beliefs aren't what the person's actual interior beliefs are. Behavior is often how you can spot hypocrites, but it isn't how it should be defined.

I'd tend to agree on this. I wouldn't even say that a person who proclaims a belief in chastity until marriage, but then cannot resist temptation themselves, is necessarily a hypocrite. Many posts on CAF are from people who sincerely believe Church teaching but have difficulty living up to it, and ask for advice, prayers, etc., to remain chaste. I would not call them hypocrites. And certainly, someone struggling with addiction is not a hypocrite. However, I think one big difference here is that these are people who acknowledge their struggles. Also, they are not harsh and judgemental of others, or act in public as if they are immune to sin.

I've also noticed that often, people use the charge of hypocrisy against someone to imply that their failure to live up to their own standards means that is proof the standards are "unrealistic". So, many people have used the Church sex scandals as somehow being proof that Church teachings on sexuality are wrong. (Or, to be fair, some Catholics will accuse Baptists of being hypocrites about drinking alcohol, with the implication that they are being insincere about their disapproval of alcohol.) It actually doesn't prove that. On the other hand, many anti-racism advocates will say upfront that everyone is racist or prejudiced to some extent or another...but they don't go on to say that "since no one can ever be completely prejudice-free, it's unrealistic to fight prejudice". Quite the opposite, in fact.

Also, whenever I hear people say something like "Look, so-and-so preaches abstinence but didn't live up to it...so even that person doesn't really believe it, so it's okay to have sex with whoever I like," I feel tempted to reply, "What if someone preaches against domestic abuse, but was then found to have abused his wife? Maybe it means that he didn't really believe what he was saying, but does that mean it's okay to abuse people?"


#14

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:1, topic:252467"]
This is NOT meant to be political, but I have seen a few posts on CAF (not to mention the mass media) where people laugh at Bristol Palin for her abstinence campaign, or insinuate that she is being insincere or hypocritical. Now, I know that many people never liked the Palins and think they are all a bunch of phonies in general, not just in regard to sex. So maybe that's all it is. But people don't really come out and say that usually. They just say "how can she campaign for chastity when she obviously didn't wait for marriage herself?" (Since, for those of you who live in caves, she had a baby out of wedlock). As if this fact, by itself, disqualifies anyone from campaiging for chastity. And yet, Christalina Evert, was not a virgin when she married, and still is a respected Catholic chastity speaker. (Unless, of course, the people who respect her don't know about her past).

I always thought of hypocrisy as someone who says "Do what I say, not what I do." So, a person who campaigns for chastity while, say, having a secret live-in lover who they come home to every night, or someone who campaigns against drugs while regularly using drugs themselves, would be a hypocrite. But not someone who slipped up in the past and repented.

So, is this just about people being anti-Palin, or do most CAFers think that people who committed sins in the past are disqualified to speak against them? (Since that wouldn't leave too many people to speak...)

[/quote]

No, that is called learning from your mistakes and trying to help others not to make the same mistake.

Nothing to do with hypocrisy, and yes, it's the press attacking Palin through her daughter's poor choices.


#15

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