Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Sanctimony Delusion

It's possible to elevate one's sanctimony so high that one's actual words and deeds scarcely matter.

In my entry "The Delusion of Tolerance and The Hypocrisy of Exceptionalism", I described how Americans use the notion of "exceptionalism" to justify hypocrisy not just in the nation's foreign affairs, but in all sorts of sub-groupings, notably including both our political left and right.

In my entry "Always Talk to the Mask", I described a type of person I call "Psycho Pollyannas", who do awful things without in the least affecting their squeaky clean self images.

It's all the same stuff. The Sanctimony Delusion is fractal; it applies to groups huge and small, and to individuals, as well. American Exceptionalism, in the classical sense, is the Daddy Bear of deluded sanctimony. The exceptionalism of each of our two political parties is the Mommy Bear of deluded sanctimony. And the Baby Bear is any individual hypocrite so narcissistic - so securely ensconced in his/her inflated moral self-image - that shame is not only never felt, but absolutely irrelevant.

Sanctimony precludes shame, and that's why it's always empowered the worst hypocrisy (see the first link for two laughably blatant examples, courtesy of The Daily Show).

I'm sorry to pick on America. Lord knows humans everywhere have their own brand of self-deluded superiority. But this latest iteration of the age-old moral psychosis is distinctively ours. And it's getting worse. All three bears are unbridled and on the prowl.

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