March 14, 2016


   In this as what can only be referred to as the political campaign of the century, revisiting moral hypocrisy is almost a given.

   With "threats" of indicting former President Bill Clinton (B. Clinton) and Hillary Clinton (H. Clinton) wife/former Secretary of State over her now infamous personal e-mail server, the political implications should be screaming from every media source (on-air and print) in this country. What are they?

   Hillary Clinton as President would create two firsts:

  • the first women President of the United States; and
  • the first women to follow in her husband's footsteps.

   Now, it is fairly safe to say, finding anyone willing to give B. Clinton's presidency a stamp of approval would be nearly impossible. B. Clinton will always be remembered for the Monica Lewinsky "pseudo affair" and the president who was impeached but remained in office to finish his term.

This is a sad statement on American politics, but there are not a lot of positive things (i.e., accomplishments) to recall about the B. Clinton Presidency. What we as American should be remembering now here in 2016 is the North American Free Trade Agreement (also known as NAFTA).

The Clintons (Bill and Hillary) wildly celebrated the agreement entered into in 1994, but in actuality, that agreement was one of the most detrimental to the American worker and to foreign countries every signed. The details and actual damage figures are for another column, another day.

What is significant and should highlighted by the on-air and print media is that both Clintons are now trying to distance themselves from it.

First, B. Clinton apologized in March of 2010 for his role in the aftermath of NAFTA being fully implemented in 2008. The agreement allowed heavily subsidized rice to flood the markets in Haiti, lowering rice tariffs from 50 percent to 3 percent, much of which came from Arkansas, B. Clinton's home state. The December 2015 issue of National Geographic included this quote from B. Clinton:

  • "It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked," he told the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. "It was a mistake. It was a mistake that I was a party to...I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people because of what I did."

   B. Clinton's comment about the "lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people ..." is way short on describing what it did.

The small rice farmers in Haiti were self-sufficient farmers, not big-time profit making operations before the NAFTA Agreement came to Haiti. They produced enough rice on their farms owned by the farmer individually to feed their families and produce a crop year-to-year.

When the Haitian market was inundated with imported rice, those farmers were unable to compete and were forced to abandon their own farms. After burning the trees for charcoal, the farmers had no choice but to move to the cities to live in slums with their way of life and families destroyed.

This past week brought loud pronouncement from H. Clinton when the news surfaced about the Oreo cookie production plant moving to Salinas, Mexico to a lavish new plant. The move is despite $90 million in tax benefits in 1993 that were used to help upgrade the U. S. factory in Chicago. H. Clinton proudly/loudly voiced her position that companies such as Nabisco (Mondelez International), the owner of the Oreo cookie operation, should have to "pay back tax breaks" if they move operations to foreign companies. Nabisco claims $46 million will be saved by the move, all the while spending $130 million to upgrade and expand its factory production in Salinas, Mexico. The U. S. job loss at the plant in Chicago is 699 people this time around.

The producer of Oreo Cookies, Mondelez International, is a subsidiary of Kraft-Heinz (as in Heinz heiress Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry).

Mr. Trump's pronouncement was, "I'll never eat another Oreo," which may be a good idea when comparing photographs of Mr. Trump who was just another "billionaire businessman" to today's "Presidential candidate!

Today's column from this writer's archives is about Moral Hypocrisy in 2009 style.

Moral Hypocrisy – March 16, 2009.  How do we as Americans define moral hypocrisy and who is a moral hypocrite? Give it some thought and read on.  The term caught my attention back at the time the most recent rash of political scandals surfaced in 2006:  Larry Craig of Idaho, Bob Allen of Florida, Mark Foley of Florida, Glenn Murphy, Jr. of Indiana, David Vitter of Louisiana (all are Republicans), and Ted Haggard (political affiliation unknown), pastor of the church in Colorado Springs which he founded.

For the most part, lost in the coverage on Haggard is that at the time (2006), he was also president of the National Association of Evangelicals. (Note:  It is strictly coincidental that all of the above people except possibly Haggard are Republicans.)

One thread seems to run true as Americans voice their sentiments on politicians and public officials, whether it is via on-air media, the print media or via the Internet:  politicians and public officials say one thing in one situation, and at another time reverse their stand on an issue. True, it could also be they just don't remember from one time to another. 

The moral hypocrite is described or defined as one who "violates a moral norm in which he sincerely believes." Moral hypocrisy involves lying that must be done consciously and intentionally. The moral hypocrite "pretends to accept and live by one set of values when, in fact, he accepts and lives by quite different ones."

An analogy would be Thomas Jefferson, who we all know wrote some of the most important words in America's history as one of our founding fathers – "all men are created equal."  Why was Jefferson a moral hypocrite?  This is why.

The moral hypocrite is a person who lives his/her life in a manner that is contradictory to their publicly stated moral beliefs and principles. As did most if not all people of means in those days, Thomas Jefferson owned slaves – the famous words he wrote contradicted the life he lived and his publicly stated moral beliefs.  Jefferson pretended to live by a set of values he really did not hold to. He said one thing and did another.

In a study at Northeastern University, researchers conducted human behavior studies that "substantiated the moral hypocrisy phenomenon."  Their studies convinced psychologists Piercarlo Valdesolo and David DeSteno that people tend to judge other people more harshly than they do themselves for the very same behavior. Moral hypocrites convince themselves their actions are "virtuous and help others" and are "all for the greater good." 

This mentality creates what Valdesolo and DeSteno refer to as the "self-halo" effect under which the moral hypocrite justifies his or her actions as being perfectly acceptable but would condemn others doing the same actions. 

The typical politician believes it is his job to get elected – nothing is too great a cost, whether its buying votes with a beer and pizza, or making promises for services that cannot be delivered. Two types of politicians come to mind:  the type who is totally lacking in ethics and integrity, seeking the office for the financial gain it offers; the other type seeks office to further a personal agenda and vested interests, devoid of the public good. Suffice it to say, neither of this type in office is likely to be a dedicated public servant.

Perhaps those who live by the Golden Rule (yes, it's still around), will find researchers Valdesolo and DeSteno's conclusion profound:  Moral hypocrisy may be useful to politicians in their zeal for office, but according to Valdesolo, "Hypocrisy is driven by mental processes over which we have volitional control."

The study also revealed the double standard applied by politicians to their actions and conduct to get elected may be justifiable in their minds, but their heart tells them it is wrong. 

We as human beings, us ordinary citizens, are programmed to be sensitive, to be fair to others and unselfish, and yes, to abide by the Golden Rule. We take pride in such values.

So maybe the studies conducted by Valdesolo and DeSteno do validate and show there is some substance in that old cliché after all, you know, the one that says "you can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time."

The reader’s comments or questions are always welcome.  E-mail me at

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