When the great Way is forgotten, the doctrines of humanity and morality
arise. When knowledge and cleverness appear, there emerges great
hypocrisy. When family relationships are not in harmony, filial piety and
parental love are advocated. When a country falls into chaos and disorder,
there is praise of loyal patriots - - - - From Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu
The word "hypocrisy" finds its roots in the Greek word hypokrisis, which means play-acting. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the actors appearing on the public stage are hypocrites in that they do not practice what they preach and do not hold themselves to the same standard by which they condemn others. After all, they are pretenders merely play-acting.
The political theater in America has been divided into a left-wing and a right-wing for the convenience of the political elite who perform on the respective sides of the stage. Having this contrast and conflict greatly adds to the entertainment value, thereby attracting an attentive audience. While the style of their performances may differ in form, the desired response which the actors seek to evoke is essentially the same and that response is one where the audience comes to believe that an all-powerful central authority can force morality upon the world.
The audience is free to decide which brand of morality shall be forced onto their fellow citizens by a strong central government using the tools of coercion - guns, tasers, economic sanctions, and prisons. The theater goers that cheer for the left-wing performers generally favor the enforcement of equality - even where none exists or should exist. That part of the audience applauding the right-wing actors often wish to enforce religious dogma or social behavior.
Unfortunately, the audiences that attend these morality plays rarely peek behind the curtains. Otherwise, they would see the liars that write the simple scripts they love. They would see the promoters dividing up the ticket proceeds as they laugh at the foolish rubes that patronize their productions. They would see the actors, or hypocrites, that no more believe in the roles they play than Judy Garland believed she traveled to Oz in a tornado.
Television and radio brings the political morality plays to millions of people every day and many in this vast audience have come to believe that these productions are reality. People become so emotionally invested in these plays and the actors that portray righteousness, they become blinded to truth. They come to deny the immorality of their favorite actors and even of their own immorality.
Indeed, the witless audiences of a talk radio host who advocates harsh penalties for drug users become silent when it is found out that the host is addicted to drugs himself. The silence is deafening when a candidate that advocates for the poor people who fell prey to greedy subprime lenders is found to have been a consultant and investor in a hedge fund that invested in these subprime loans.
Actors that seek to impose family values through government force visit prostitutes, solicit young boys for sex, and cruise public restroom for anonymous sex. Yet, they continue to impune the morality of others in an attempt to absolve themselves of their own moral failures. Actors that receive what are best described as bribes from powerful special interests openly accuse their fellow actors of the same thing - as if their outrage over such behavior absolves them from the same behavior. Fans in the audience politely pretend not to notice that their favorite actors are guilty of hypocrisy while at the same time they chastise the actors on the opposite side of the stage for being hypocrites.
The audience that sits in front of the right side of the stage applaud every proclamation of freedom, yet they seem not to notice that their favorite Congressional actors are removing their freedoms one by one. The audience that inhabits the left side of the theater cheers wildly as their favorite Congressional actors accuse the right-wing actors of tyranny, but the fans don't notice that their favorite stars vote with the right-wing actors after the show is over.
Perhaps the greatest example of the hypocrisy that exists in the morality play that has taken center stage is that of those actors, left-wing and right-wing, that tell the public that no amount of government intervention into the lives of citizens is too great if it is for the children. At the same time, they know the costs of whatever government intrusion they advocate will be borrowed and it will be the children who will ultimately pay the costs - plus interest.
The children will also pay for the wars, perhaps with their lives. The actors that care so much about the children, and all life, have no problem killing innocent civilians in preventive wars of choice. No greater moral hypocrisy exists in our time than actors who, after pretending to care about the life of a brain-dead woman hooked to a life-support system, lie to provide a pretext for wars waged to impose their brand of morality (or death) on others.
People that are more concerned about the morality of others than about their own morality have indeed lost their way. There was a time when people were skeptical of actors and hypocrites, but that time has long since passed. In years gone by, many people held to the philosophy of live and let live. Now it seems as if the central philosophy is to live the way I demand, or I will elect thugs to punish you. Many blame the government for the problems of society while looking to it as a solution, but the government is nothing more than a blunt instrument used by people who refuse to mind their own business to force their morality on others.
The promoters of the political theater and those who write the scripts, act the roles, and manufacture the sets do not care about morality, justice, or the welfare of the public. They use the public stage only to manipulate people for the purposes of accumulating wealth and power. Their talent lies not in creating solutions to the problems faced by the public, but rather in exploiting problems to benefit themselves by convincing people to have faith in the fantasy they have created - that fantasy being that ordinary people can't solve their own problems without the central government.
The same people who use nonviolent manipulation to control and exploit others quickly turn to violence and coercion once people abandon their faith in this fantasy. Tyrants always resort to death and destruction when people resist increasing demands on their freedom and resources. Some in the audience believe that the acts of tyrants are part of the bread and circuses offered to them. Others observe the desperation and twisted story lines presented on the stage and come to realize their faith in these actors has been misplaced.
More and more, those others are losing their faith in the elaborate fantasy spun by the political actors and when enough people lose faith, the grand political theater will collapse. But, until that tipping point arrives, we can only expect to see more morality plays that defy logic and inspire fear. One can only hope that when the political theater does collapse, people will learn to entertain themselves and not rebuild a new theater.
This article contributed by Tom Blanton of Richmond, Virginia.