Since I wrote about Mexico’s hypocrisy, it’s time for a discussion of what is and isn’t hypocrisy. Look at the following situations and answer whether they are examples of hypocrisy:

  1. Your friend says she loves to get up early, but you find her asleep at 10 am on a Saturday.
  2. The chairman of the “No Computers” advocacy group loves to post on FaceBook.
  3. Your coworker who is always on a diet is seen shoveling chocolate chips into his face.
  4. Al Gore flies all over the world warning people about the evils of CO2.
  5. A video of Tiger Woods frolicking with dozens of naked women surfaces.
  6. The president of MADD is arrested for DUI.
  7. A mother finds her son watching porn.

Did you recognize that the even numbered examples as hypocrisy? The odd numbered ones are examples of people failing to measure up to their own standard or a social norm. They are certainly examples of personal failure, but they are not examples of hypocrisy. Hypocrisy happens when people tell others how to live their lives but without conforming to that same standard themselves.

And here’s a final example:

  1. Congress passes the health care reform bill, but Congress exempted themselves from the same bill.

Now that is clearly hypocrisy.