Seeing the Round Corners

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 November 17, 2020

As the 2020 presidential election continues – yes it is continuing –  America is learning just now each and every election is or can be manipulated. It is difficult to abide such conduct by our elected officials when they themselves are at the mercy of such tactics in the next election.

The disclosures made about the design of the Dominion counting machines to “slip” votes from one candidate to another are intentional criminal acts, and should be dealt with as the criminal acts they are, separate from those persons using the equipment knowingly or unknowingly. What is an overriding issue and should be dealt with in the harshest manner possible are the persons knowingly using the equipment to manipulate the ballots to show a false winner in the election. Machines are manipulated by live people, and cannot function unaided.

Has America become so corrupt that its highest elected officials are willing to steal an election by using such equipment?

Think back about all the various charges made against President Trump at the beginning of his term in office. None held water.

The infamous Hunter Biden laptop is hard evidence that former vice president Biden dismisses as all false, as though the Bidens are are not accountable for such conduct. Does any reader believe the many trips to China were made to practice their Chinese, or not to negotiate with China while Barack Obama was President of the United States? Remember, former vice president Biden and Hunter Biden were shown exiting Air Force 2, being greeted by Chinese officials in China.

The presumptuousness shown by the Bidens is indicative of the arrogance and the lack of honesty former vice president Joe Biden has for America which brings to mind a column from this writer’s archives on “Moral Hypocrisy.”

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