hypocrisy as a gateway drug to virtue

Glenn Greenwald wrote a recent article about the hypocrisy of Trump critics. Before, they demanded that leakers, such as Edward Snowden, be harshly punished, but now they praise the leakers who brought down General Flynn. I’d like to explore the issue of hypocrisy more.

As readers know, I am a long time advocate of open borders. As you can imagine, I was happy to see that people were justly horrified as Trump’s executive order. People flocked to airports to prevent customs and border patrol agents from sending back people who had legally obtained green cards. Yet, many people accused them of hypocrisy. Where were the protesters when Obama yanked amnesty for Cubans or when he deported hundreds of thousands of Mexican and Central American migrants, even putting children in jail?

The charge of hypocrisy is clearly correct. The Obama and Trump policies are similar in effect and action. The crowds are almost certainly driven by partisan animosity. But I don’t care. The cause of migration reform is so incredibly unpopular in this country that I simply can’t pick and choose friends. If Trump’s election causes a large number of Americans to suddenly care about deportations, fine. Those Iraqi migrants, who are escaping ISIS, don’t care about hypocrisy. Those children in immigration camps and jails don’t care hypocrisy either. And neither do I. They just want immigrants to be left alone.

An eternal optimist, I see hypocrisy as an opportunity. I don’t want the pro-refugee fervor to die down.I want it to persist no matter who is in the White House. Banning peaceful migrants is wrong. So I see hypocrisy as a gateway drug. Maybe Trump is a bad guy – and I think he is – and maybe you wouldn’t think so hard about immigration if Hillary Clinton were President. But I urge you to think about it – if banning refugees is bad now, maybe it’s just bad policy in general. Think about it.

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Written by fabiorojas

February 20, 2017 at 12:16 am

Posted in ethics, fabio, uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Here’s one possible, but perhaps not psychologically plausible, way out of one particular hypocrisy trap: Suppose folks who protested the current president’s travel ban have many issues that they care about and they believe that the current president is against them on all these issues. However, the previous president aligned with these protesters on some of their cherished issues. Suppose further that these travel ban protesters believed that publicly protesting one of a president’s policies undermines that president’s ability to accomplish other policies by more generally mobilizing dissent against the president. What is hypocritical about attempting to undermine the support for a president with whom one shares hardly any goals and forbearing from doing so toward a president with whom one shares some goals?

    The worst we could accuse these sorts of people of is falsely–although it isn’t clear to me whether this is false–believing that undermining one presidential action has negative effects on other actions by that same president.



    February 20, 2017 at 3:44 pm

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