Thursday, February 16, 2006

Humanity's Inconsistent Nature

It amazes me how inconsistent we humans are. We argue vociferously for a stated point of view. If the names or particulars are altered ever so slightly, then we argue the exact opposite point of view. If someones dares to note our arguments are inconsistent, we fail to see it or staunchly argue that no inconsistency exists at all!

It doesn't matter which political, religious or philosophical perspective we hail from. We're all guilty of it!! I've watched many of my progressive brethren argue regarding the rights of free speech and assembly when some entity tries to deny us said rights. YET, many of these same people will argue against these same rights when applied to Neo-Nazis and other racist hate groups.

I've been involved with left wing political groups who decry the practice of gerrymandering congressional districts to skew the vote toward one of the two mainstream parties or the other. YET, I've watched in dismay as these same groups use sleight-of-hand tactics in the seating of delegates at our own political conventions in order to skew the vote one way or the other.

Over the past few weeks, we've witnessed two examples of the inconsistent nature of the human perspective. The first involves the Danish cartoons insulting the prophet of Islam and the second concerns the Cheney shooting.

While most people DO agree that the cartoons, in question, are divisive and insulting, many conservatives defend their publication under the guise of freedom of speech. YET, if an Arab- based publication featured a cartoon of Jesus masturbating or suggested Jesus was gay, these very same people would chuck the "free speech" argument out the nearest window and would assail said cartoons as a frontal attack on Christianity and all things Western.

Many bloggers and pundits who are strong supporters of the Bush administration are up in arms regarding the criticism by the media, "liberals" and many members of the public over the Cheney hunting accident.

I've read many an opinion that a) the accident was a private matter and it's really nobody's business but the principles involved and b) that Cheney had no responsibility for reporting the matter to the media.

YET, a majority of these very same people were part of the feeding frenzy regarding the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. In that particular case, they argued the exact opposite. They screamed that it was NOT a private affair and that the media and public had a right to know all the intimate details.

In the case of then-President Clinton, the affair involved two consenting adults. No one was injured nor required any medical attention. The incident[s] could best be described as a marital indescretion.

If a vice president shooting and injuring a friend is a private matter, then a president cheating on his wife is a private matter too. If some people feel that Cheney had no responsibility to inform the press of his misdeed, then they can't fault Clinton for not publicly admitting he cheated on his wife.

It's all about consistency.


  1. You are right on. And, I'd be lying if I said I had never been guilty of this, but I do honestly try to become more consistent. It's easier if you aren't wedded to one party or the other, or if your worldview is far enough out of the mainstream that even your friends shake their heads and wave dismissively.

    Having said that, I have to say that I believe there were actually Democrats who were critical of Clinton for lying. Not an impeachable offense, to be sure, but still, it was a bad thing to do and he deserved some sort of censure.

    But find a Bushie who is willing to take the current pResident to task for lying (or incompetence or murder or ...) and you will have discovered an endangered species indeed.

  2. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." But he neglected to define "foolish" consistency.

    Humans are inconsistent by nature because we are emotional, not rational, beings. But that doesn't excuse our tendency toward hypocrisy any more than it excuses our tendency toward violence, promiscuousness, or any other potentially harmful behavior. Conscious, self-aware humans know when they're reacting to something emotionally or irrationally and they make efforts to avoid it, in order to avoid harming themselves or others. Inconsistency or hypocrisy may not seem to harm anyone, but when viewed as an unconscious, thoughtless reaction to something or someone, it isn't as benign as it seems.

  3. Hey Trey,

    I'm back after some time. You're right in your post, but do you know what's even more argueable? The guy who made the cartoons, sent some anti-christian cartoons to the same newspaper two months earlier and he was denied publication. Now can someone tell me what's up with freedom of speech...?
    I'll see if I can find the article somewhere in English, it's all over us in Belgian newspapers, even my professor of Antropology couldn't look over this during class. :)

    I don't know what's the fuss about Cheney, I've only read that he shot his friend during hunting, that it was an accident and that he didn't have a proper license, so feel free to enlight me :)


  4. Bert,
    The fuss concerns several elements: 1) The incident was reported to the media about 24 hours AFTER it happened; 2) The notification to the media was done NOT by Cheney, but a private citizen; 3) The story as to what happened changed several times; and 4) A lot of the "facts" of the incident don't add up.

  5. So you mean that the possibility exists that it wasn't an accident? Is there an investigation running? Or does he has the advantage of diplomatic integrity (don't know if this is the correct term to use)?


  6. Bert,
    No, I'm not suggesting the shooting was intentional, but that the accounts don't add up. There is some speculation that Cheney may have been drunk. If this turned out to be true, then he might be guilty of negligence.


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