The Pointlessness Of The Hypocrisy Game
During the controversy over the execution of Brandon Bernard back in December, I remember seeing one point made on Twitter over and over. The specific tweet I’m quoting comes from Talbert Swan, but I saw this point all over the place:
Dylan Roof murdered 9 Black people at a Charleston church. He was taken to Burger King after his arrest. He’s alive. Brandon Bernard was 18, didn’t know those he was with we’re going to kill a couple, didn’t pull the trigger, was convicted as ‘an accomplice.’ He was executed.
This would be a great point if it wasn’t for the fact that Dylan Roof has been on death row since 2016. Roof is scheduled to be executed, just as Brandon Bernard was, and the major reason Bernard was killed first was because he committed his crime roughly sixteen years earlier.
However, this point also had another flaw, at least in the mind of those who were against Brandon Bernard getting executed. Some people, myself being one, believe that Dylan Roof should not be executed — because we believe that nobody should be executed. Personally, I believe that capital punishment is bad and should be abolished, and I’m not willing to carve out a Dylan Roof sized exception no matter how much it would own my political opponents.
But the typical internet hypocrisy game has been at play, and the fact that a double standard might exist is all that matters. Liberals are rather infamous for doing this kind of bullshit no matter what the situation is. Hence why when both Kavanaugh and Barrett were nominated to the Supreme Court, we heard constant reminders that McConnell refused to hold a hearing over Merrick Garland because it was during an election year. Of course, this was always utter bullshit on the part of the Republicans (Senator Richard Burr directly admitted during a fundraiser just before the 2016 election that he would do the same thing under a president Hillary Clinton) but pointing that out doesn’t do anything outside of make political nerds feel smarter.
Mind you, at least in the cases I’ve mentioned so far, there is a clear defined target. Often, it’s just a vague reference to a group of some kind the person talking doesn’t like. Here’s what Matt Walsh tweeted in response to the death of Ashli Babbit on 1/6/2021:
An unarmed mother was shot and killed by police in the Capitol today. Why isn’t “say her name” trending? Why aren’t any of the people who rioted over “police brutality” speaking out? Is it because you’re all utterly full of shit?
Well, I don’t know Matt, maybe if I knew who these people were I could go ask them, but I can’t because you never named anyone besides just “people who rioted over ‘police brutality.’” Personally, as someone who spent all summer defending Black Lives Matter and who has defended Jacob Blake, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshad Brooks, I’ll let you know that I do believe the killing Ashli Babbit by police was wrong. I have no plans of rioting over her death specifically, but I also didn’t take part in any of the Black Lives Matter riots over the summer. However, if the Ashli Babbit ends up getting more people on the side of police reform, then I see that as nothing but a good thing.
Of everyone on Twitter, Matt Walsh is easily the best example of using this argument to dodge the point. Look at this tweet from 10/27/2020 about Black Lives Matter for another example:
Just to show you how racist BLM is. They are so desperate for excuses to riot that they’ll riot even when an armed black man is shot while trying to kill cops. Yet they still won’t raise the slightest objection when white people are killed, even if unarmed.
Haha, jokes on you BLM, you see I as a white guy can also get shot by police while unarmed.
But seriously, lets actually stop and think how much information this tweet gives us:
- There is apparently an epidemic of white people, at least some of which are unarmed, being shot by the police.
- “BLM” is ignoring it.
Of course, the idea that an entire movement made up of millions of people are ignoring any event is ridiculous. At best, none of the people Walsh checked were talking about it at that time, but again, I can’t check because he doesn’t list any examples.
And again, lets talk about the implications here. Unarmed white people are being shot the same as unarmed black people — so therefore everyone should shut up and let the system work as it does. No, if anything the wider variety of victims of our current system is another striking reason to reform the system.
That’s the issue with most of these hypocrisy arguments, often the implication is that a bad thing (capital punishment, police brutality) would be better off if more people were victims. No, these things should be abolished outright, not debated about if it’s a white or black person issue. I’m much more interested in solving issues than I am worrying about if the issue is being applied to people of all pigmentations equally.
While hypocrisy can be a good way to tell if one person has integrity, applying it to an entire movement is always silly. For that matter, one much remember what it is the double standard is and seriously consider the alternative they’re considering.