One of Tim Worstall’s regular commenters “MyBurningEars” recently had this to say on the subject of hypocrisy:
I reckon hypocrisy is overrated as a modern “sin” – people of all stripes seem to round on hypocrites as if they’ve done something uniquely terrible
I agree with this. I have long thought that adult life requires being hypocritical at times and if you’re a parent hypocrisy is a way of life. I often tease my friends when they admonish their offspring for displaying characteristics that they themselves are practically defined by. I have noticed that most mothers’ worst nightmare is having a daughter who is just like them.
Dads don’t have it any easier. They are required to tell their sons and daughters not to drink, smoke, do drugs, or shag around – which they do with extreme sheepishness if I happen to be in the room and I knew them at university. Being hypocritical in this manner doesn’t make them a bad parent – quite the opposite, in fact.
For my part, I often encourage people to do things which I myself don’t do and vice versa. Some decisions and actions might make sense considering my own set of circumstances, but ought not to be done by others whose life may be different. Drinking with Russians, for instance.
I suppose provided people engage in hypocrisy for practical reasons rather than for moral posturing or from a desire to simply tell other people what to do, then it’s okay. For me, there are far worse sins that hypocrisy. Confusing it with inconsistency is one of them.