Hypocrisy or cynicism?

A comment piece by Giles Fraser in this week’s Guardian comparing hypocrisy to cynicism. Here’s an extract:

Hypocrisy is an accusation often levelled at two groups in particular: lefties and the religious. And the thing that both these groups have in common is that they both want to employ a moral vision to redesign the world. Which opens the possibility of professing a position that one fails fully to live up to – ie hypocrisy. Indeed, unless one is a saint, I cannot see how it is possible to be a Christian and not a hypocrite. To my mind, this hypocrisy is a near inevitable consequence of taking any sort of moral stand. Near inevitable, because there are (maybe) such people as saints, and whatever the lefty equivalent is, who fully live up to their best intentions. But for us mere mortals, François de La Rochefoucauld was right: “Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.”

Full article here.

About Rachael Wiseman

Rachael is an Addison Wheeler Research Fellow at Durham University. She works on philosophy of action, especially Elizabeth Anscombe's, and her research project -- Integrity, Speech and Action -- is developing a taxonomy of pretense and lying, and examining the kinds of deceit that are a threat to integrity.
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