When we see someone (including ourselves!) exhibiting hypocrisy, especially that of the jaw-dropping kind, it’s not uncommon to wonder, “Wow. How can they shift and switch their values and beliefs so drastically?”
But here’s the thing: they didn’t, and they aren’t. The truth of it is that they never held that value or belief in the first place.
No matter how much or loudly they professed, no matter how dramatically they thumped on it, no matter how righteous they were about it, no matter how insulted and disgusted they acted, it was all just theatre. It was all an act, using their words and indignations as weapons all uttered in bad faith as a cover up to their real intent.
There’s an ‘in order to’ happening here, something behind the supposed value or belief that is the actual driving force. A different value or belief, one that is usually non-virtuous in nature and that does not lead towards possibilities of a just, equitable, and loving world. Instead it is a value or belief or ‘truth’ that is mired in identity, biases, and in rigidly narrow views about the world and those within it.
And often they themselves may not even be fully aware of it. Cognitive dissonance, the fact we are rational vs rationalizing creatures, the whole nature of hidden biases (that’s why they’re called hidden, after all), all of these can be in play to keep it obfuscated from everyone involved.*
Of course, some are fully aware of it and just don’t care. They willingly bear false witness to further their aims, trying to hoodwink everyone into missing their actual intent and harm(s).**
Regardless of its exact flavour, rather than get bogged down in engaging with their current value/belief of convenience we can instead step back and look at what their actions are accomplishing, and through that see what’s really going on. We can discover what is the actual guiding force.
And then we can engage directly with that.
* Which is why it would be so refreshing if they were at least aware and honest about it, especially when it’s trying to justify really shitty behaviour.
** And it might be a combo of being partially aware and partially not – rationalizing it so supremely well for themselves that they feel it right even if they don’t fully realize or fully own what’s actually driving it. Especially if this clashes with one of their morals that they also wield as a cudgel elsewhere! Again, it’d be preferable for the pretense to drop and just say what’s actually there and actually going on.