There really is nothing more inevitable than watching someone horrendously self-destruct by egregiously failing to live up the moral standards they have set for themselves. The best example of this in recent days is Hugo Schwyzer, who was recently dragged over hot coals when his relationship with an on-again, off-again porn star was brought to light. Now, anyone with any respect for their masculinity is aware that most male feminists are an unprincipled, two-faced breed, so this is hardly surprising to most denizens of the Manosphere. Frankly, the only difference between Schwyzer and most male feminists is that Schwyzer actually possesses the capability to get reasonably attractive women to sleep with him.
I’m not going to wax on about that whole affair though. Frankly, I don’t care enough about the indiscretions of others to feel motivated enough to condemn or defend them. What I’m more interested in assessing is why people get so up in arms when someone blatantly fails to live up to their values.
Some will say that such an egregious violation of their values shows that they never believed in them in the first place. Others think it shows a lack of desire to act morally in the first place. A few will argue that hypocrites want to be allowed to get away things they would chastise other people for. Some people will just have an overwhelming negative feeling when they see hypocrisy. They can’t quite put it into words, but it makes them feel angry.
All of these are probably correct to some degree, but I think the source of all of these things runs deeper. I think what really happens when we see someone morally fail is that we ourselves are reminded of the difficulty of being truly moral ourselves. We are given a slap in the face and told that it is exceedingly difficult to ever live up to the standards we set for ourselves.
Of course, some people take delight in watching others commit such blatant moral violations. How do we explain this? Simple. When other people fuck up, it gives them an excuse not to try, not to risk fucking up themselves. They can rationalize their own lack of desire to improve themselves through the failure of others. Why try so hard if it seems inevitable that you will fail?
No one seems to realize that failing is just the point.
Morality isn’t meant to be easy. It doesn’t matter if one is a consequentialist, a deontologist, or a virtue ethicist. Master morality is just as hard to live up to as slave morality. Becoming a moral individual, whatever that means to you, is meant to be an arduous, difficult, trying process, just as becoming great in any facet of life is an arduous, difficult, trying process.
If the morals standards you hold for yourself are ones that you can always live up, you aren’t holding yourself to high enough standards.
When others fail, it gives an excuse to let ourselves fail. It gives us an opening to lower our standards, to be easier on ourselves, to emotionally masturbate over our own fears of the difficulty of high standards and the inevitable failure that comes with them.
A true Legionnaire would rather fail again and again and again fighting for honor and glory than succeed in accomplishing nothing. Defeat is far less shameful than surrender. If you want to be someone worth being, you can’t hold yourself to low standards. Ignis aurum probat.