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Political Hypocrisy: The Mask of Power, from Hobbes to Orwell and Beyond Hardcover – Apr 1 2008

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First Sentence
This is a book about hypocritical politicians, and about some of the ways we might learn to view them. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
There is more to political leaders than hypocrisy Oct. 21 2009
By laurens van den muyzenberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book describes the thoughts of primarily English writers about hypocrisy in politics. One idea all share including the author is that the name of the game of politics is hypocrisy. Those politicians that claim to be sincere or think they are sincere are hypocrites like those that are aware they are hypocrites. Hypocrisy is on purpose not defined in the book, as it exists in so many varieties. Some worse than others.
Hypocrisy according to the book is kind of acting. Or wearing a mask. I think everybody is acting. When you meet a baby, your mother or your boss you act differently. You try to make the baby laugh and try to please your boss. Nothing special about that.
I agree that it is important try to have a view if a political leader is doing a good job or not. But I doubt that concentrating on determining what type of hypocrite he is will help you very much. It appears to be more practical to follow a Buddhist line of analysis. What is his intention? Is he only interested in himself or also in the citizens? Did he take, can he take, will he take actions that will solve the problems a country faces, and takes initiatives that will improve their well-being. Has he or she surrounded himself with a cabinet of competent ministers that are not just yes-men?
I did learn from the book that you should not pay too much attention to hypocrisy. All people "act". As political leaders are public figures they are watched much more closely, so hypocrisy comes more often to light. I agree with the author that journalists that specialize in hypocrisy of politicians are wasting their readers' time.
The author writes that all people writing book reviews are hypocrites. Before I buy a book I read several reviews and find that helpful. That is why I am writing reviews as I hope that it will help other readers. I must be a hypocrite according to this book but I am not sure I understand why.
14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Political Hypocrisy Confounded July 14 2008
By Lee Cheek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Runciman (Univ. of Cambridge) argues hypocrisy is "inevitable" (p. 1) in liberal democratic theory and practice. Locating the origins of "the idea of hypocrisy" in the theatre and in deceptiveness, the author posits that the political "hypocrite is always putting on an act" (p. 8). Devoting chapters to Hobbes, Mandeville, a troika of figures from the American Founding, Bentham, Victorians, and Orwell, the use of hypocrisy in politics is dissected. The chapters on Hobbes and Mandeville (1 and 2) are brilliant, yet beguiling. The chapter on the American Founding, generally, and Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams, specifically (3), suffers from serious interpretative flaws. By reducing the American Founding to a duplicitous phenomenon because of the existence of slavery undermines the internal logic of the author's central thesis, and results in an unfair, nay hypocritical, treatment of American politics and experience. While written in a lucid and engaging style, the book fails to recover the importance of political hypocrisy in a comprehensive manner. If politics is grounded in the moral and rational nature of humankind, it cannot simply be consigned to the author's selecting of the "right hypocrite" (p. 213).

H. Lee Cheek, Jr., Ph.D.
Chair, Social Sciences
Brewton-Parker College