Foundation of Modern Hypocrisy
The foundation of modern hypocrisy can be summarized in the title of a French chanson:
Loin des yeux, loin du coeur.
Out of sight, out of mind.
It is saying that people show excess empathy to what is around them but are completely ignorant to what they cannot see or hear.
This French song’s writer is not the first one to observe this phenomenon. As early as 1600s, an Anglican Bishop and philosopher, Dr. George Berkeley, already raised a similar question:
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
If he was still alive until this day, he would say:
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to tweet it, does it ever happen?
Some people may think that such things as trees are of no importance and that I was making a fuss out of nothing, I would like to invite them to watch the following video clip, where a Japanese chef is cutting tiger blowfish.
After seeing this cruel scene, are you still able to eat fish? I would bet that even the most tasteful fish would become tasteless at this very moment. Once this cruel scene runs into your sight, the sinful feeling overwrites the food taste.
In other word, the precondition for you to enjoy the taste of fish is that you never see the cruelty of fish killing. That is why the second most famous Chinese philosopher, Mencius, once said:
A gentleman should keep him away from the kitchen.
The French people often criticize the Lychee and Dog Meat Festival held in Yulin, China. They cannot understand the locals since dogs are pets for French people. For the locals in Yulin, however, dogs are mere livestock.
For French people, the pets which keep them in company are treated with empathy, whereas the animals that they cannot see or hear are livestock which can be killed and consumed.
I cannot help but think if there existed elves, they must think that we human, who hunt down deer and cut down trees, are so cruel.
The same things happen not only to food but also to people.
When the US female TikTok influencers are accusing Donald Trump of his touching woman bodies, are they aware that countless girls in China are forced to drop school and to make living for their brothers?
When western people are criticizing the poor quality of products made in China, are they aware that the Chinese workers earn a minimal amount of money?
When western people are criticizing the poor behavior of Chinese tourists, are they aware that only recently Chinese people became able to afford the trips?
When western people are fighting for the Black Lives Matter movement, are they aware that worse things are happening in Xinjiang and Hong Kong?
For many western people, the Chinese people are a different and lower species, which they prefer to turn their eyes away from. Don’t get me wrong. I have no intention to criticize western people; I simply point out this hypocrisy.
People show empathy to the things around them but are completely ignorant to what they cannot see or hear. This is the foundation of modern hypocrisy, which is in turn the foundation of modern democracy.
If an animal can be killed and consumed by human beings because it cannot make a scene, then how about the human beings who are ignored by the society? Can they also be killed and consumed?
Unfortunately, this is doomed to happen according to the nature of human beings. To prevent it from happening, there are only two ways: vote rights and the media.
If a certain species of animals could vote, the government will then ban the kill of this species. Obviously, animals cannot vote, but the people making them as pets can. If enough people make turkeys as their pets, then the turkey consumption will be banned.
The dogs in Yulin cannot vote, but they are still supported by French people, thanks to the French media. In the Hunger Games (movie), the key to survive is to catch the sponsors’ eyes. To those people without vote rights, only the media can save them. If they are out of the sight of the people with vote rights, then they will be killed and consumed.
People can only show empathy to themselves and people or things around them. Vote rights let people speak for themselves, and the media bring those unable to speak to the sight of people who can show empathy. These two things, among others, are the foundation of modern democracy.
People without vote rights are livestock; societies without the media are hell.