On Hypocrisy; By Clancy Martin; Harpers MagazineQuicklink submitted by Susan Lee Schwartz Permalink
|Should we condemn hypocrites, when we can’t help but be hypocrites ourselves? "“If you want to know the right thing to do, simply do what is most difficult,” the poet Rainer Maria Rilke once observed, and though that might be a bit extremethe basic principle seems well-guided. Yes, it’s going to be tough to have the kind of integrity that Arendt demands. It will require constant self-evaluation. It will make living a moral life a difficult daily project. And the first principle of that kind of integrity will be that, chances are, we can’t judge the behavior of others. Contra Arendt, moral indignation is going to be one of the most difficult attitudes to sustain, so long as we are committed to avoiding hypocrisy. If we believe in at least striving for sincerity and authenticity, we are committed to tolerance; if we want to moralize, we’d best accept our own hypocrisy."|
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