Double Standards

Topics: Congo Free State, Slavery, Leopold II of Belgium, Lie, Hypocrisy / Pages: 6 (1287 words) / Published: Apr 1st, 2014
English 101
Double Standards Do you have a pet peeve? If so, what is it? Is it that of people talking on their cell phone while in the checkout line in a grocery store? Or, drivers not using their blinkers while changing lanes? Well, one of my biggest pet peeves is double standards or hypocrites. It really bothers me when people say one thing and with their actions do the exact opposite. In the book King Leopold’s Ghost, there are three characters that display the most hypocrisy, King Leopold, Henry Morton Stanley and Colonel George Washington Williams. The biggest hypocrite of the three was King Leopold himself in the colonization of the Congo. One would think that a newly formed country that was once under rule of many different countries would be content with what they have and not look to rule or seize another less developed country. King Leopold’s comment “Belgium does not exploit the world,” (Hochschild 38) is the exact opposite of what he does to the Congo. While King Leopold was raping the Congo of its people, its ivory, and its rubber, he told Colonel Williams in a meeting that, “What I do there is done as a Christian duty to the poor Africa; and I do not wish to have one franc back of all the money I have expended.” (106), which is the exact opposite of his intensions. He even went as far as to hide the money and doctor the books, so he could pocket the profits.
Another example of King Leopold’s hypocrisy is his accepting the recognition for being a humanitarian. It is hard to imagine someone accepting labels like, “humanitarian” (92) or his efforts being called “the greatest humanitarian work of this time,” (46) when people are being tortured, raped, mutilated and murdered under his rule Forcing the local Congolese into slave labor when he himself denounced the Arab slave trade is by no means humanitarian. Or, putting the Congolese in chains and justifying it as teaching them, “the sanctity of work” (118) humanitarian

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