The Hypocrite Oath

by Emily Jasper on June 8, 2010

There is a lot of evil in the world. People breed hate instead of respect constantly. We don’t take care of what we have, and I am guilty of that as much as anyone.

But I know when I’m not pulling my weight.

Others proclaim they are above taking personal responsibility for global problems. For example, “Oil companies are evil.” Sure, we may not all agree with Big Oil, and BP is making it worse, but if you’re still pumping gas to fill your car, shut up.

The excuse that we have to participate in “necessary evils” is bunk. In reality, it’s laziness. Large numbers of people protest our dependence on oil, and yet I imagine very few live oil-free (or as close to that as you can get).

After living here in MN, I’ve gathered a new respect for the right way to find alternate solutions when you don’t agree. People bike here through the terrible winters, buy strictly co-op and organic food, and do any other number of things to reduce their carbon footprint. If someone here says, “Oil companies are evil,” that person probably hasn’t owned a car in years, if ever.

Then you hear the same proclamation from someone driving her soccer mom non-hybrid SUV, including the oil companies in some kind of Axis of Evil. If you’re still playing for team The Man, that proclamation officially makes you a hypocrite.

In fact, I don’t believe that there actually is anyone or institution we can consider “The Man.” We are a world of individuals who have the power to make change when we put our efforts behind it. Yes, the big problems out there like dependence on oil may require a lot of individuals continuing to conduct research and push for federal changes. It could be slow going.

But the best changes don’t always happen overnight.

Lots of work goes into creating the world around us. The message of those who are accomplishing change, however, gets diluted every time a hypocritical soccer mom puts an anti-oil bumper sticker on her SUV.

If you aren’t going to be contributing to a solution, get out of the way. Your inability to act on your words means you make it harder for the ones who can. You don’t need a Ph.D. in biotechnology or sustainability, but if you aren’t willing to do the little things to change, then stop with the proclamations.

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