Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Some Considerations on Hypocrisy, Double Standards and Inconsistency.

I have been pondering a lot recently on the nature of hypocrisy  Most people seem to think hypocrisy means doing one thing and acting in another way from the position of the self righteous accuser who is somehow above ever doing so himself. It is a constant human trait that seems to have developed in recent years.

In fact it seems to me that the vast majority of comments, outrage and fury on online blogs, fierce polemics over foreign policy, anti-war marches or calls for 'intervention' consist of trying to prove that the other person is a hypocrite or has double standards ( and are these exactly the same thing anyway ?).

For example British foreign policy is criticised because it is hypocritical in opposing Iran and calling for 'regime change' there and in Syria while Saudi Arabia remains a key ally and strategic partner. No doubt that's a double standard but is it one forced upon Britain by over dependence upon oil ?

When protesters for 'anti-war' groups use oil interests as a trump card to prove British foregn policy is evil without noticing how dependent the economy is on it, no less than others in the developed and rapidly developing world, are they being hypocritical by refusing to pose the question that way?

After all, it is not easy to point the finger at the government invading countries for oil while not calling on British people to think about energy alternatives or to draw attention that most of them benefit from having continued supplies of relatively cheap oil ?

If that were the case, then the majority of British people are as responsible as their rulers in not being prepared to give up their high octane lifestyles in order to reduce the consumption of oil. Could a politician really expect to be re-elected if he argued that we need to cut down on car use and consumption?

Pat Davers responded,
How many of the people who said that the Iraq war was “all about oil”, stopped using oil, or even made a serious effort to reduce oil consumption?
Perhaps the anti-war marchers might not even welcome that question because the assumption tends to be that the only real beneficiaries are the oil corporations, the financiers of pipelines and building companies investing in infrastructure.

It is convenient to 'explain' the conflicts wracked Middle East as whay 'they' in power are causing to happen because it means that 'we' are only responsible for getting rid of 'them' without thinking about whether it is 'we' who make that foreign policy possible through oil consumption.
The thing is though, that the world is a horrible mess of competing interests and conflicting priorities to the extent that none of us can be completely consistent in our outlook, and such we’re all guilty of hypocrisy, which after all, is no worse than “the tribute that vice pays to virtue”. It’s still worth pointing out some of the more blatant examples though.
Yes I agree. But it's difficult not to come to the conclusion that in Britain many self proclaimed 'official' opponents of wars seem to take the role of the accuser when they themselves belong or have belonged to revolutionary sects backing murderous violence.

Many Stop The War activists are hypocritical in the deepest sense because they are not only not pacifists at all but want to simplify the world into black and white binary categories of Good ( i.e us ) versus Evil 'them' ( the evil hideous capitalist-imperialist British government ).

A lot of leading StWC do not actually care about 'stopping wars' even if they could since the aim in to turn outrage into support for their propaganda. A lot of protest, without any attempt at understanding what is really driving them, is a form of look-at-me narcissism.

There are legitimate protests against the arms trade and the repellent policy of supply arms to Saudi Arabia, a country that has funded and backed the Taliban but remains the lynchpin of US and UK strategical designs for the balance of power in the Middle East.

Evidently, the scale of the arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a regime far more repressive and fanatical and brutal than that in Iran, exceeeds what could even be vaguely defined as its proportional defence needs. Quite obviously it's about enriching British arms manufacturers.

Yet without the over dependence upon oil and gas, Britain ( and other Western nations ) would not be so bound to support appalling regimes nor be drawn into the danger of risk and bad foreign policies such as those of Iraq, Libya and, if Hague gets his way, Syria.

Most British opponents of the war must know that high oil consumption is a major factor behind the USA and Britain, with other EU nations sitting on the fence, promoting these interventionist foreign policies as the old order crumbles in the Middle East.

Yet too few of them publicly advocate that Britain becomes energy independent or have the will to mention these frightening facts or propose constructive alternatives to the public. They must prefer to bask in the feeling of self righteousness that comes from being 'right'.

Even so, most informed people know anyway that British foreign policy is based on schizophrenia and double standards. So, while it is still worth pointing out what British interests really are when proposing 'intervention in Syria, energy conservation has to be an issue.

And that might involve advocating that people would need to change their lifestyles, stop using their cars as much, not fly EasyJet so often and to let people know how intimately tied up high octane consumerism is with oil dependency and conflicts over resources.

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