Inconsistency and Hypocrisy

"The truth doesn't change just because you don't want to hear it." Oh, the irony of my friend posting this!

TL;DR: I have to vent for a moment. I'm sorry if what you're about to read is too much for you, and I'll invite you to please skip reading this post if you've had your fill of negativity for the time being—God knows I have, and I have to let off some steam. With this being said, on to my rant!

Why is it that when people post opposing viewpoints, especially backing them up with facts, others feel like they're being personally attacked? I love an open dialogue with logical, rigorous debate. I appreciate it when people point out inconsistencies and errors in my logic, and I'm continually examining my beliefs and actions. If it weren't for my lifelong habit of engaging in conversations with those who think and feel differently than I do, I would have developed into a pharisaical hard-line Holiness Pentecostal "hellfire and brimstone" preacher and dyed-in-the-wool deep crimson neocon Republican who would have eagerly supported the creation of a Republic of Gilead under the leadership of President Trump as a stepping-stone to a Pence Presidency. (Yes, I had one minister justify their unequivocal support of Trump and Pence with this very reasoning as if it were a greatly desirable thing, and no, I haven't had anything much to do with them since.) Yes, I still have my religious, political and cultural opinions and sentiments, but at the end of the day all I really want is to have lived and let lived as much as is possible in a free society.

Earlier this week I was threatened with being unfriended by a friend of nearly 10 years—a fellow professing believer in Jesus, no less. They absolutely love it when I post in support of their positions using scriptures and facts with reason and logic, and they aren't averse to the fact that conspiracies exist; however now, the first time in which I not only disagree with them in something but I clearly point out the inconsistencies in their holding of mutually exclusive positions simultaneously, as well as their personal lack of connection to what they admit are the potential negative consequences of their position fully realized, it's all but time for me to go, them accusing me of attacking them personally. They explicitly shut down the conversation before sufficient facts could be shared to conclusively demonstrate my point, ostensibly because they were tired and not wanting a debate, having deleted a comment critical in the understanding of my position in which I point out how their principle claim is both flawed and a reflection of their personal inconsistency as evinced by their own words (and in case anyone is wondering, yes, I screenshot stuff like crazy). Yes, I've walked away and ended my involvement in the commenting on the post on account of this threat—I mean, why would I even care to continue where my input is so clearly unwanted and likely to get me blocked anyway—while others in spite of my friend's oh-so-wearied state were more than welcome to continue posting in support of my friend's position.

My friend went so far as to explicitly invite me to post about my opinion and sentiments regarding that subject on my wall instead of theirs, so here I am—just not for that particular topic. I won't discuss that topic in this post because I don't want to do that which effectively would point out their inconsistency, if not hypocrisy, between our mutual friends, should they recall the conversation that I endured. This person, my friend, has naught of which to worry: I'll never respond to anything that they post again while things remain as they are inasmuch as they have yet to acknowledge their error and hypocrisy in this treatment. As a policy I generally don't unfriend people regardless of how they treat me personally—I've got thick skin and I can just ignore them—but if they wish me gone, the option to remove me from their life is always there. While this would sadden me deeply, inasmuch as I've enjoyed our having been in each others' lives thus far, even if just online, I'll accept their departure without any further words than these.

Yes, I'm sour. To see someone advocating the violation of someone else's civil rights in the name of expediency irks me to no end. To see them celebrating the destruction of civil liberties just so that they can feel safe is appalling. (I recall making this very point just over two decades ago in another online forum regarding another major change in our lives at that time; nothing ever really changes, does it?) So, here I am, expressing how I feel about their handling of the matter. No, I'll not go into the merits of that topic, but know that regardless of its substance, I take a very dim view of the wholesale abandonment of long established liberties for a little temporary "safety", especially when the long term consequences of a position fully realized are clearly undesirable yet utterly ignored in the immediate practical application—and this is when the other person knows full well and acknowledges the potential danger.

So as to avoid even the appearance of hypocrisy in my life, I'll say it plainly here: I freely welcome and accept people entering into deep, open conversations with me, both in real life and online, even on posts on the wall of my social media accounts. If you disagree with anything that I or anyone else posts on my wall and it is in the nature of a discussion, be it religious, political, cultural or otherwise, please know that I won't attack you for sharing facts that you think are relevant, and know that your opinions and sentiments will be respected, regardless of however strongly we disagree—I will call out any disrespect as I have done in the past, even though I have lost "friends" over doing so.

Along these lines, if you notice any inconsistency between any of my stated beliefs, opinions or actions, please, CALL ME OUT ON IT. I'm serious in this: I hate hypocrisy, and I do my best to recognize and overcome the cognitive dissonance that I experience even as I struggle with it. It's only because of people having taken the time to discuss with me the views that I held as a result of my religious, political and cultural upbringing and education that I've evolved to place in which I find myself today, and I hate the thought of living in an echo chamber. I welcome all people of good will into my life, and I'm grateful for those of you who I can call friend.

For those of you who read all of this, thank you. The writing of this has been mildly cathartic. Hopefully the reading has been of benefit to you.

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James Reed

Love has EVERYTHING to do with it, all you need is love!

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