Simplistic to the Point of Absurdity

When someone proclaims to have a certain philosophy, belief, or disposition, do you believe them? Let’s imagine they say they are charitable, but rarely give to charity. Let’s imagine they say they are an altruist, but they have two kidneys in a world where people die for not having one. Let’s imagine they say support the “metoo” movement, but they rape women for sport. What do you think of these people?

Let’s me tell you an interesting story of one of these people I interacted with years ago. I’m curious what you guys think of this fraud …

At 16 I am working my first job (which happens to be in pest control). The owner of the business I worked for had a brother-in-law who had been a criminal. He worked in management for the business and he hired some of the guys he became friends with in prison. One of the guys I worked with very closely as his assistant through most of the summer. He spent 15 years in prison for manslaughter.

Before he had his license we worked at the office fixing, painting and doing other manual labor. At the time he would discuss his racist views and he showed me his various prison tattoos (one of them being a swastika.). Anyway, we would often have discussions on race and he would be very brazenly preach his hatred of “niggers.” I had confused opinions on race, but I grew up with black people and liked plenty of them. So I would often disagree with him and probe him with challenging questions. He was dim, and he usually retreated to spewing spite for black people.

A month into him working there he got his pest control license and we would go out and do services. This is when I found out that he was a liar and virtue signaler. I’m not joking … he was super nice to all the black people, all of them. Not only was he nice, he would often go out of his way to show kindness. What a fucking hypocrite, amiright?

Something to consider. If we apply the standards of hypocrisy to the people whose actions don’t coincide with their beliefs on perceived virtues, it wouldn’t be consistent to apply them elsewhere. The reason we do isn’t based in logic, it is purely based in our incentives and narratives. This guy, to some degree believed his beliefs gave him superior knowledge, virtue, consistency, pragmatism, or something. However, at his core, he was a hypocrite to his values, and we probably shouldn’t consider him a racist if we desire consistency.

We don’t really know ourselves. We don’t really know what inspires ourselves. The conscious part of our brain is a small component of who we are and it is utterly blind to the vast complexity of who we are. Most adjectives we use to describe ourselves and others are incredibly over simplistic, generally to the point of absurdity. This applies to perceived positive virtues as well as contemporary negative characteristics. To think that we can have a complex understanding of others when we have such a weak handle on ourselves seems like nonsense.

I thought of this because of the discussions of bigotry within society. I fingered if I could show the lack of racism in a “white supremacist/Nazi” (I use quotes because he is really a lover of the darkies), then surely we can’t use such blunt claims of racism on regular people. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind discussions of these social phenomenon … I just cringe when I hear someone proclaim the causes or motivations of anyone or anything as “racism” or “sexism.” It is simplistic to the point of absurdity.

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Aaron White

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Aaron White, married to a swell girl, is a business owner and unschooling father of two, going on three. His hobbies are music and poker. He resides in Southern California.

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