The need for hypocrisy

Pointing to an opponent’s hypocrisy isn’t a valid argument and it makes for dishonest debating. Very few, however, let the opportunity go. Especially when the debate happens in a public or a semi-public forum and the debaters are, at least in part, playing to the gallery.

Political speeches are about creating cleavages in terms of both positions and persona. Therefore, epistemic integrity from a politician can be ruled out. However, what matters is, what ought to be the yardstick in measuring general argumentation? If the merit of argumentation is judged by the merit of the proponent’s morality, human motives will be aligned to explain one’s status quo and not take the argumentation to its highest epistemic value. In other words, not only does the use of hypocrisy as an argument make for poor argumentation but it also defeats its purpose.

That brings us to certain ilk. An example of it will be: the right wing obsession about how a Liberal does not come to their defence even when liberalism is at stake. And that, is peddled as the reason why liberalism itself is somehow the villain[1]. That the failing of the individual is just that and not of the idea is the lowest hanging fruit. But when that’s not realised it becomes difficult take the argument to: isn’t the condition imposed on the said person — liberal or otherwise — limit that person’s ability to explore thought one’s own life is not in agreement with? And therefore, shouldn’t we as a society not point to hypocrisy of argumentation as an argument, if we wish to progress? And isn’t all progress in thought, therefore, achieved by nurturing the environment that encourages thought? Not even if but especially when it’s hypocritical?

[1] – Swapan Dasgupta’s Twitter feed is an example.