To Hold Others to the Same Standard You Hold Yourself.

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, the criterion of human heartedness, is the capacity to hold oneself to the same, or better, a higher standard then one does everyone else. This is much harder than it appears at first glance. We tend to demand from others that which we would be loathe to cede. Obviously, when people demand others are held to a higher standard than they hold themselves, society must have tension. The more people that hold others to a higher standard of conduct than themselves, are hypocrites, the more societal tension is built up. The criminal will fly into a violent rage, if someone treats her to the actions she dishes out, and the tyrant never oppresses himself. This is one of the fundamental flaws in human nature. Our egoistic self interest goes against our true self interest. A civilization where people hold themselves to the same standard we hold others, is one that will be prosperous, safe and peaceful, in other words… human hearted.

This is one reason liars always believe they are being lied to, thieves worry they are being stolen from and cheaters constantly worry they are being cheated on. We judge others by ourselves. Living in our own heads we believe everyone else thinks and acts as we do. We are all to some extent hypocrites, so when a thief steals he protects his own things, when a cheater runs around she demands faithfulness from her spouse, and when a liar prevaricates he expects everyone else to be selflessly honest. Hypocrisy is the quality of humanity that runs throughout cultures and time. Most are either lazy but demand others be industrious, greedy and expect everyone else to be charitable, envious as we deride jealousy, lustful but demand chastity, prideful as we laugh when others get their comeuppance, even as the wrathful expect forgiveness.

The biggest violators of the tenet, to hold oneself to the same or higher standard than they hold others, are the elite. History is nothing but a long story of wars, famine and poverty brought on by elite who held others to a much higher standard then themselves. What crime boss or cartel kingpin holds himself to the same standard he holds his minions? Draco the original lawgiver of Athens, said that all crime should be met with the death penalty, but since death is the ultimate punishment, it would have to do for the capital crimes as well. Obviously, he wouldn’t have ordered himself killed for some minor crime, that was a penalty he held out for everyone else. Meanwhile, Solon demanded from everyone else that which he himself was willing to give, even demanding himself be ostracized! The first being a fiend while the other remembered as one of the greats. The politician who runs around on his wife, lies to get power, steals from the treasury and sells favors, is the norm, while the lawgiver who tells the truth, gives to the treasury and is chaste, is the exception.

We follow the elite and do what our idols do. That is why laws always evolve into oppression, because those fiends must pass laws to regulate us and protect their ill got gains, as well as their own worthless hides. What use is power unless one can safely engage in lust, greed, gluttony, wrath, sloth, envy and pride? When the elite’s “lessers” engage in these things, society crumbles and there is crime, poverty and revolution. So, to protect the greedy, lustful, envious, slothful, prideful, gluttons, and protect their purloined wealth, the elite must force the rest of us, at the point of a gun, to be honest, humble, industrious, chaste, charitable, content and accepting of injury. Perhaps that is why so few politicians or aristocrats have been human hearted… and why there are remembered so fondly. Like Harry Truman, Marcus Aurelius or Confucius’ sage kings. The primary attribute that made them great is that they held themselves to the same or higher standard than they held others.

If someone is a thief and doesn’t expect more from anyone else, while she may be a sinner, she at least is not a hypocrite. We as a species are hypocrites… and it is in hypocrisy that we fall. Our children see our hypocrisy and emulate it just as we see the hypocrisy in societal, cultural and political leaders and imitate it as well. The more power one has the more this vicious quality shows itself. The psychopath is the epitome of the hypocrite and is the standard for political leaders. Those that are not are the exception and are rare as hens teeth. They demand we are virtuous so they can be more villainous, to protect themselves and their property, even as ours is subject to confiscation. They require we surrender our rights as they amass privilege, our wives husbands and children are their playthings while theirs are sacrosanct, and we must tremble at their wrath while we humbly accept our lot. The answer is not to be hypocrites but to force the elite not to be. To have a prosperous, civil, crime free society we need to hold ourselves to the same standard we hold others. Be human hearted and the rest will come along.


John Pepin

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