Wednesday, February 6, 2008

In Praise of Hypocrisy in Politics

David Runciman questions our habit of looking at political candidates for signs of sincerity or hypocrisy here. He argues that the ability to craft a political mask that can carry one through various situations is a sign of political skill rather than a weakness. He also contrasts hypocrisy with bull-headedness (which seems something of a false comparison to me, at least when he allies "hypocrisy" with the ability to question one's personal convictions.) He has a book coming out later this spring on political masks in history.


Cindi said...

I think this writer is defining hypocrisy too loosely. I think it is natural for a person's opinions on various issues to change over time, especially as more date emerges. It's called growth and open-mindedness. To me, hypocrisy is more akin to the Mitt Romney example -- I oppose illegal workers publicly, but privately, I take advantage of the low cost of their labor.

Mary Beth said...

Yes, I see 'hypocrisy' as a do as I say, not as I do sort of attitude. Maybe with as much unfairness as deceit -- with some egocentricity thrown in.