Hypocrisy and the Gift of Speech

Hypocrisy lives in the heart and is difficult to detect. Let us not try. What we can detect is whether or not, once a man is asked to defend his position from criticism, he answers as if any legitimate criticism might exist, or if there is room for reasonable disagreement.

When he answers legitimate questions by ad hominem tu quoque — which is their sole and only method to answer any question — it is no attempt to read the heart to say that reason is fled. A hypocrite is one who says one thing and does another, who preaches what he does not practice.

This is someone who says nothing and preaches nothing, because the words from his mouth, if taken literally, end all debate and all discussion.

For example, the Big Bang versus the Steady State theory is one where I believe an honest difference of opinion can exist on both sides of the question, and likewise, on the political question of the role of government giving alms to the poor out of the public coffers.

On the other hand, there is no rational, honest argument to be made for the Ptolemaic model of the solar system, placing the earth at the center, nor for the theory that the moonshots were faked on a soundstage in Hollywood.

Likewise, in politics, there is no room for an open debate on whether to allow for open debate — the argument in favor of abolishing free speech, in effect, abolishes itself.

Another example: when Trump uses constitutionally granted powers of the office of President to enforce border regulations currently on the books, or to build a border fence long ago approved to be built by Congress, the only arguments against are personal attacks attributing the worse and most evil imaginable motive to him. The fake news make no allowance for any honest difference of opinion: any disagreement is dismissed as Hitlerism.

So, then. Suppose was have a college student, bright, young and female, the product of our education system.

Her claim is that free speech is an illusion produced by the oppressive rich and powerful theocratic heteropatriachy in order to suppress the speech of women and minorities, THEREFORE the only free speech is found when and only when the free speech of one and all confirm to the opinions of herself, and other rightthinking members of the enlightened elite of the rich and powerful. Ignorance is strength and freedom is slavery.

Our schoolgirl stands to denounce free speech, and to impose censorship on political speech.

You say: “I disagree. Free speech is a sacred and ancient right without which liberty is impossible.”

She says: “You are Hitler.”

At that point, whether she is a hypocrite or not, is no matter. She is something worse.

To her, the word “Hitler” neither means nor does not mean a man who abolishes liberty, imposes speech codes, and acts the tyrant. It means nothing objective at all.

Use of such a word is a weapon, not a tool to convey facts and opinions. It is merely meant to wound.

It is merely an outward show of hate and fury, pride and fear, like the barking of a dog.


You say: “I disagree. Free speech is a sacred and ancient right without which liberty is impossible.”

She says: “BARK! BARK! BARK!”

Is there no difference in terms of information content between the two. “You are Hitler” means “BARK! BARK! BARK!”

She has lost the gift of speech which Aslan gave to the talking animals at the dawn of time.

To be a hypocrite would be a distinct improvement. Pharisees at least have something to say.