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Old 10-31-2011, 11:56 PM
 
5,767 posts, read 10,279,211 times
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For example, if I were to make the statement that "Murder is wrong," and immediately afterwards, I shot a random person to death, I would rightfully be considered a hypocrite.

However, my actions do not make my claim ("murder is wrong") any less valid. My claim was valid despite my actions.

But when people argue with one other, hypocrisy often becomes a major sticking point. A hypocrite who makes a valid statement is often dismissed on the basis of hypocrisy, even though the statement itself is not challenged.

It might be painful to take advice from an open hypocrite, but regardless, the advice will either stand or fall on its own accord - the actions of the speaker don't have anything to do with that.

Why is this so tough for many people to accept?
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:37 PM
 
Location: Texas
43,409 posts, read 52,403,598 times
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I actually agree with what you are saying, but when it comes to politicians, it becomes a matter of credibility. No one will trust your future actions because you don't live your own rhetoric.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:11 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
3,307 posts, read 3,868,910 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tablemtn View Post
For example, if I were to make the statement that "Murder is wrong," and immediately afterwards, I shot a random person to death, I would rightfully be considered a hypocrite.

However, my actions do not make my claim ("murder is wrong") any less valid. My claim was valid despite my actions.

But when people argue with one other, hypocrisy often becomes a major sticking point. A hypocrite who makes a valid statement is often dismissed on the basis of hypocrisy, even though the statement itself is not challenged.

It might be painful to take advice from an open hypocrite, but regardless, the advice will either stand or fall on its own accord - the actions of the speaker don't have anything to do with that.

Why is this so tough for many people to accept?
I have discussed this very point with others. People tend to have a mental block when something like this happens.
Often it is used to refute a point when in reality it does not. I do agree with you. I tend to concentrate on the point regardless of who the person is or what he has done. It is difficult to do so though. It took me years to be able to do that. In these forums you see people all over the place making what I would call ad hominens. It is a tactic politicians do very often also. They go to the person instead of refuting the point in discussion. Take care.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:37 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,090 posts, read 10,737,095 times
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That's actually the basis of a fallacy called tu quoque, that an argument is wrong just because some one acted inconsistent with it. I think it really depends on the situation. People need to act somewhere consistent with their beliefs to take their argument on it's own merit, but it needs to be within reason. Some one who has done something and can speak to the experience is not a hypocrite, like a recovering drug abuser, or some one working towards a virtue they have yet to reach.

There are no cases where hypocrisy is considered a good thing. If some one states that they believe it's right to do something, and don't do it, it makes their support of it invalid even if the argument is valid. Murder is too black and white of a topic to get anywhere with. Say I said that talking during a movie is wrong, and I talk like a tween on 16 cups of coffee during a movie with friends. The statement is correct, and while my enforcement of that statement on others would not be wrong per say...I doubt people would want to be around me.

If I stated something that was based on my own assertions, like things I stated were morally correct, and did not ad hear to them then you cannot divorce them. If your basis of the argument is on beliefs and actions alone, it cannot be separated from your actions. Such as if some one believed that the Irish were evil horrible people because they say so, and they are Irish. Then the argument would not only be bizarrely wrong, the person most likely would need a good deal of therapy. Another is some people make the argument that all poor people are morally wrong, or else they wouldn't be poor, but the person making the claim is poor and asserts they are a very upstanding person. Their statement is based solely on their beliefs so you cannot divorce the person from their argument.
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Old 11-08-2011, 05:58 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,179 posts, read 9,387,993 times
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People live their lives according to their moral code. Even serial killers and psychopaths have a moral code (even if it differs from the norm). Your behavior is dictated by your beliefs. If there are things that you will not do - like shoplift, or rape, or scam others - that is your moral code; you follow a belief system. If you are Bernie Madoff, or Manson, or Dahlmer - you are following your belief system. You cannot divorce yourself from it. Your actions state who and what you are, even if you manage to fool a lot of people into thinking that you are otherwise.

A person who stands foursquare in the public eye against government waste, and then is elected and brings home endless pork-barrel projects like Roads to Nowhere or taxpayer dollars to support businesses that fail once the government money runs out, then your actions belie your statements. You support government waste, and you prove it by your actions. If you stand in front of the microphones and talk about "the sanctity of marriage" - and 10 years ago you dumped your wife because she had gotten cancer, even though she waited for you while you were a prisoner of war in a concentration camp, and took care of your broken body afterwards - you are a hypocrite. If you "fight to stop illegal immigration", yet have a construction company that asks no questions and profits by not paying taxes or Workers' Comp payments on the illegal immigrants you hire, you are a hypocrite. Your actions cannot be divorced from your words, no matter how passionate and well-constructed your phrases are. Your actions exemplify your true beliefs, and your words are meaningless in context. You therefore cannot be expected to stand for the things that you say you believe, because the moral code in which you believe - and that dictates your actions - causes you to do the opposite.

Sadly, most people do not take these things into account. They do not look at someone's successes and failures, their previous actions and those actions' results. They simply believe what they hear in sound bytes, and make their decisions accordingly. People believe the most passionate and most attractive speaker who caters to their own self-interests, and look no further. This is why we have serial killers and child molesters who can operate for years undetected, or con artists who can schmooze millions out of eagerly unsuspecting investors, or elected officials who can get re-elected, over and over, by promising whatever the electorate says they want this year. None of them have to take responsibility for what they have done or are doing, because no one is paying attention to anything but their words.

Question everything, believe nothing.
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Old 11-13-2011, 01:25 PM
 
12,870 posts, read 15,354,667 times
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It's tough for people to accept because most people only seek opinions from people who are upstanding in their actions....people want advice from someone who they know or feel is honest and just....it'd be like asking a working prostitute for advice on raising children....she might have good, sound advice...but not too many people would be willing to listen to it, let alone consider it's merit.
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Old 11-13-2011, 02:39 PM
 
14,298 posts, read 8,083,654 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tablemtn View Post
For example, if I were to make the statement that "Murder is wrong," and immediately afterwards, I shot a random person to death, I would rightfully be considered a hypocrite.

However, my actions do not make my claim ("murder is wrong") any less valid. My claim was valid despite my actions.

But when people argue with one other, hypocrisy often becomes a major sticking point. A hypocrite who makes a valid statement is often dismissed on the basis of hypocrisy, even though the statement itself is not challenged.

It might be painful to take advice from an open hypocrite, but regardless, the advice will either stand or fall on its own accord - the actions of the speaker don't have anything to do with that.

Why is this so tough for many people to accept?
Because maybe they doubt the person's motives?

If I say it's immoral to commit murder, I might be able to get a bunch of moral people like you to go along with me. Once I have convinced everyone else not to commit murder, binding their hands so to speak, and then I get to be the only one who can murder people.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:40 PM
 
2,379 posts, read 2,683,476 times
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It depends on your relationship to them. If it's someone who has influence in your life - either directly (ie a spouse, parent) or indirectly (a politician) - then there hypocritical actions should be considered along with their message. However, if they have no influence in your life, except for their speech, like a Motivational Speaker I heard, who made bad choices in his life, & although his speach was hypocritical it was still valid & applicable. Most of us are hypocritical at times, because we don't live up to our ideals - we're not perfect. However, those who are extra critical of others make one wonder if they are hypocritical & maybe cause one not cut them as much slack either.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:48 PM
 
2,379 posts, read 2,683,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elamigo View Post
...In these forums you see people all over the place making what I would call ad hominens. It is a tactic politicians do very often also. They go to the person instead of refuting the point in discussion.
I can't count how many times I've witnessed or experienced such attacks. I love to debate - especially about issues I'm passionate about. It can be like playing tennis - you hit the ball & someone returns it - IF they're focusing on the subject. But if they use an ad hominen attack/insult - it's like they're dropping the racket, picking up a tennis ball & trying to hit you with it. Insults are distracting to the discussion & makes the one giving the insult appear as if they have nothing else to say, so they throw a fit with words.
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:09 AM
 
106 posts, read 138,355 times
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The use of argumentum ad hominem, the practice of arguing against the person making a point instead of the point itself, has become standard operating procedure for many many people these days. It is a practice that shuts down all ability for productive or meaningful debate.

This is why we see politicians and pundits digging up dirt on opponents, or even making it up if all else fails, as we saw in the unconscionable trashing of Sarah Palin.

Before employing this logical fallacy, one might want to consider the fact that it can just as easily be employed to one's own disadvantage. In fact, it is always to everyone's disadvantage, because it stops the free flow of relevant information and therefore restricts the process of accurate evaluation of actual facts, rendering the whole process an emotional one, rather than an intellectually sound one.

For those who do care about honest and productive debate, the rule of thumb is "debate the merits of the issues, not those of the debaters".
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