Hypocrisy of the Paranoid
By Paul Balles
By Paul Balles
"The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity." - Andre Gide
Hypocritical behaviour is to carry fire in one hand and water in the other.
It is defined as being duplicitous, engaging in double-dealing, being two-faced or speaking with forked tongue.
The expression comes from Plautus and indicates a person is prepared to act in totally contradictory ways to achieve their purpose.
The expression is also applied to someone who makes a great commotion about an insignificant matter, while accepting grave faults and injustices without a murmur - or who complains vociferously about minor transgressions while committing deplorable offences.
Mental Health America describes paranoia as something that "involves feelings of persecution and an exaggerated sense of self-importance".
"Symptoms of paranoia and paranoid disorders include intense and irrational mistrust or suspicion, which can bring on a sense of rage, hatred, and betrayal."
But how do they fit together to make paranoid hypocrisy?
As a simple illustration, think of millions of American gun owners who believe it's necessary to own guns (paranoia), but also refuse to pass laws requiring background checks for would-be gun owners (hypocrisy).
Americans carry a tremendous amount of guilt around with them (paranoia) as they preach moral behaviour (hypocrisy).
Constant reminders of the holocaust during the Second World War are designed to keep six million victims of German camps firmly in the minds of all.
Here's a fitting scene from Joseph Heller's Catch-22:
"Who's they?" He wanted to know. "Who, specifically, do you think is trying to murder you?"
"Every one of them," Yossarian told him.
"Every one of whom?"
"Every one of whom do you think?"
"I haven't any idea."
"Then how do you know they aren't?"
"Because..." Clevinger sputtered, and turned speechless with frustration.
Clevinger really thought he was right, but Yossarian had proof, because strangers he didn't know shot at him with cannons every time he flew up into the air to drop bombs on them, and it wasn't funny at all."
And so it was when I was a pre-teen, going to bed after watching a cowboys and Indians film.
But my Indians are now the Palestinians who haunt Israeli nights.
The Israelis have played very effectively on American guilt over the colonization of Indian territory.
How could an American honestly criticize Israeli settlements?
How could Americans forget or bury their colonial history?
It's a similar problem with the recent kerfuffle over sarin gas.
Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's government only developed chemical weapons in response to Israeli nuclear bombs.
Who was responsible for the yet unidentified use of sarin gas in Syria? Who benefits? Certainly not the Syrian government.
Give a moment's thought to the absurdity of America taking a holier-than-thou stance on the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction of any kind.
The US is the only country in the world to use nuclear weapons against another country when it destroyed Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan.
The US used enough napalm in Vietnam to murder 4.8 million Vietnamese.
In Iraq, it was America again that gave Iraq banned gas to use against Iranians and their own people.
America's use of depleted uranium has left hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children with deformities.
The only other country to use horrible weapons has been Israel, using phosphorous bombs that burn holes through women, children and elderly civilians.
Tacitus said: "If you would know who controls you see who you may not criticize."
You may not criticize the US military, arms manufacturers or Israel.