Hypocrisy flourishes where truth is ignored. Today, true renegades foster a love for truth, a bias toward action and a love for others.
“We are in the midst of a Great Silencing, the quashing of all voices from both our present and our past. Liberal democratic America saw both communists and fascists, and many cult-like enterprises large and small, but never did any of them become so powerful as to so completely strangle the public discourse, or to so credibly demand absolute obedience to its core tenets from the entire mass populace, with such totality, as the ideology today known as Wokeness.”
We look around to see a society divided. In this divided society, if we don’t share the point of view of the establishment, we may find ourselves bullied into silence. And if we are, why should we fight back? A wise person might sit down, shut up, and go along for the ride. We don’t want to rock the boat. If we express our own opinion, their wrath will fall on us. And we don’t want to be a troublemaker, do we?
But in a day when too many people feel social pressure to keep their opinions to themselves, maybe it’s time for a new point of view. One where the rebels are the ones breaking the cycle of hypocrisy, finding truth, and standing for it. Bold enough to say it straight and winsome enough to win hearts and minds.
The problem is, it’s not as easy as it is in the movies. We all harbor invisible impediments to action and brave speech.
In the end, we don’t act bravely because we lack the foundation.
The real problem is that most of society suffers from an underdeveloped understanding of right and wrong, an inability to make decisions, and a lack of respect for those they regard as enemies. All of these things will stifle your ability to speak the truth effectively and rebel against the current state of society. Let’s look at them one-by-one.
#1 Rebellion through Truth
A firm grasp of truth is what drove many Germans to aid Jews during the Third Reich because it’s the only basis for bravery. Sure, emotion can fill the gap, but truth remains when emotions fail.
These days, society tells us that it’s better to be nice than right. But truth is important. As Warren Wiersbe said, “Truth without love is tyranny, and love without truth is hypocrisy.” If Wiersbe is right, then truth is the foundation of love, defining it correctly. And truth matters because of love. We’ll get to love (respect) shortly. But first, let’s talk about truth.
When you have the wrong beliefs about life, you tend toward inconsistency, contradiction, and hypocrisy. So how do you gain a firmer grasp on truth? Let’s talk about it.
What gets in our way.
A few things get in our way on our journey toward truth.
You have to be okay with people calling you names. They’ll call you uncaring when you demand truth before unity. They’ll attribute bad motivations to you. And if they can find your weak spot, the thing you care most about, like your intelligence or fairness or that you’re a nice guy or gal, they’ll attack those things and try to make you defend yourself.
At the heart of things, if you care more about what people’s perceptions of you than truth, then it’s no use talking about attaining a good philosophy, because if you’re honest, you don’t want it.
What we can do about it.
If you’re serious though, there are a few things you can do to pursue a firm grasp on truth.
Build a solid framework. “Epistemology” is the framework you bring to the idea of truth. Most western philosophers will tell you that truth is correspondence with reality (or some version of that). If you haven’t adopted an epistemology yet — a model of existence that tells you how to recognize truth and error — then don’t waste time. Get one today.
Get solitude. Once you have a system against which to measure your philosophy, spend some time alone with your thoughts and away from the noise of social media, the New York Times and whatever other voices are trying to push and pull you in various directions. You’ll find your philosophy more solid and complete when you refuse to be rushed.
Evaluate the current narrative. Test your epistemology against the opinions of the day. Can those opinions stand the test of time, or do they make hypocrites out of us? For example, are ethics too situational in that what’s wrong for me might be right for you in 4 years, because you have a better reason or the target’s shifted?
All these disciplines will help us to develop our ability to see hypocrisy in ourselves and in society, so that we can call it out.
#2 Renegades of Action
We just talked about determining your philosophy. Now, let’s apply it. When you leave decisions unmade, you allow moving parts in your philosophy, making it harder to make daily decisions. Let’s talk about that.
What gets in the way.
Moral indecision. If you haven’t decided that stealing is always wrong, you’re more likely to entertain stealing, even if you’re generally against it. So even though you may have a moral preference, you haven’t actually taken a stand. And if you haven’t taken that stand, it will — almost by definition — be easier for you to steal and excuse others when they steal to benefit you.
Society needs truth, and your disciplined action, through word and deed, will make a difference. But this is the true test of good philosophy. If you believe it, you will act it out.
Think of action as a diagnostic, telling you whether or not you really believe something.
Do you believe in right and wrong? Then let’s see you ridding yourself of hypocrisy, and let’s see society change because you’re building skill in having those difficult conversations with those around you, making them better as a result.
What we can do about it.
Develop your moral standards. Sometimes action starts by simply making a commitment. Here are three places to start.
Personal values. Develop your personal values. Set aside 3 mornings in the next 3 weeks to the task. Start by writing them down, and then review and revise them to ensure your values are sincere.
Personal code of ethics (what do you never do)? Repeat the previous process, but develop your personal code of ethics.
Get outside accountability. Talk with people you trust and let them help you discover areas of your own hypocrisy. You can offer to do the same for them in a kind of mastermind group setup.
Your solid philosophy and increasingly upright actions prepare you to be an influencer, both today and for tomorrow. You don’t want to wait until you need to take desperate action to decide the basics of right and wrong, and you don’t want to be flabby and unfit when the time comes.
Now is the time to start acting.
#3 Courageous Respect
People are frustrating. People who disagree with you are frustrating. It’s not easy to show patience. But a love for others — a desire to see them get what’s good for them — will anchor your conversations and, armed with a true and articulate philosophy, will win hearts and minds.
What gets in the way.
Sometimes, we just don’t like other people. We can tend to treat people like objects. One person said “Instead of loving people and using things, we use people and love things.”
You have to believe that the person who’s disagreeing with you is a thinking person, and has value. You have to really want to see them flourish and see the truth. And even if you’re more concerned with convincing the spectators than the person you’re talking to, your respectful attitude will show confidence.
What we can do about it.
Examine your worldview. If your life’s philosophy leaves no room for the high valuation of people, simply because they’re human, you might be harboring an evil ideology. Uproot it and find a better one.
Ask people close to you. Find out how convincing you are? What gets in your way? Ask others if they think you treat those around you with respect. And then examine yourself and find out if it’s true.
The consistent demonstration of respect toward others, not just because you want to make friends, but because you truly care about them, will find its way into your message, creating a kind of unity that’s not based on convenience or short term relevance, but one that’s based on truth.
Join the Rebellion
Hypocrisy flourishes where truth is ignored. So where are all the rebels, renegades, and truly courageous? They don’t exist…at least not until a love for truth, a bias toward action and a love for others makes a home in their hearts.
When the world is choosing madness over reason, the real rebels are the ones with a firm grasp on reality through an understanding of philosophy, they carry with them the discipline to decide what they believe and apply it, and they show respect to those around them, creating an antiseptic to the poisonous ideas that are meant to enslave.