At some point, these people had come to confront — as we all must — their cowardice, their weakness, their dishonesty, or their foolishness. Unable to accept the pain of an honest assessment of their brokenness, they turned their eyes away and practiced denial instead. In an attempt to avoid the agony of their shame indefinitely, they created whole new philosophies of life. If, for instance, they had backed down when they should have stood up, they declared nothing was worth fighting for. If they lied when they should’ve spoken true, they declared truth was an illusion. If they succumbed to desire when they should have resisted, they decided continence was a game for puritans and fools.
In order to feel justified within this new philosophy, they not only had to continue in the bad behavior that shamed them in the first place, they had to condemn any good behavior that held the mirror up to their secret self-disgust. This always involved them in blatant self-contradiction. The person who believed there was no truth would accuse others of lying. The person who said all sexual behavior should be accepted would declare chastity unacceptable. The person who believed tolerance was the highest value would find those who disagreed intolerable.