Political Hypocrisy: The Mask of Power, from Hobbes to Orwell and Beyond

Posted by M ws On Tuesday, August 14, 2012 3 comments
Those who know me in the real world and those who have been reading my blog for some time are aware that I am mentally very active with an insatiable hunger for knowledge. My days are spent reading, sourcing new materials for posts or for possible research and of course, books that I should read and ways in which I can stay happy, healthy and informed. This evening, I came across this fantastic book review (published on 7th August 2012) and I wish to share the book review and the podcast interview with the writer. I am going to get the book later to read and to study. Here it is - the Princeton review of Political Hypocrisy:The Mask of Power, from Hobbes to Orwell and Beyond by David Runciman. It is one of the Sunday Times's Best Books of 2008 (Politics). Have a pleasant evening.

What kind of hypocrite should voters choose as their next leader? The question seems utterly cynical. But, as David Runciman suggests, it is actually much more cynical to pretend that politics can ever be completely sincere. The most dangerous form of political hypocrisy is to claim to have a politics without hypocrisy. Political Hypocrisy is a timely, and timeless, book on the problems of sincerity and truth in politics, and how we can deal with them without slipping into hypocrisy ourselves. Runciman tackles the problems through lessons drawn from some of the great truth-tellers in modern political thought--Hobbes, Mandeville, Jefferson, Bentham, Sidgwick, and Orwell--and applies his ideas to different kinds of hypocritical politicians from Oliver Cromwell to Hillary Clinton.

Runciman argues that we should accept hypocrisy as a fact of politics, but without resigning ourselves to it, let alone cynically embracing it. We should stop trying to eliminate every form of hypocrisy, and we should stop vainly searching for ideally authentic politicians. Instead, we should try to distinguish between harmless and harmful hypocrisies and should worry only about its most damaging varieties.

Written in a lively style, this book will change how we look at political hypocrisy and how we answer some basic questions about politics: What are the limits of truthfulness in politics? And when, where, and how should we expect our politicians to be honest with us, and about what?

David Runciman is reader in political theory at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Trinity Hall. He is the author of The Politics of Good Intentions (Princeton), and writes regularly about politics for the London Review of Books.


"A very intelligent, subtle, and learned guide to the classics and to the pre-eminent historical examples of hypocrisy from Mandeville and Hobbes, to Jefferson and the Victorians, with some concluding examples to illustrate the special problems of hypocrisy and sincerity in democracies."--David Martin, Times Literary Supplement

"[Political Hypocrisy] contains a plethora of shrewd and quotable remarks. . . . What struck a chord with me was his gentle demolition of the idea that a politician's profession of his own sincerity, or passionate belief, proves anything at all."--Samuel Brittan, Financial Times

"University of Cambridge political theorist David Runciman takes a far more textured, sophisticated approach to the phenomenon in Political Hypocrisy, a timely, long overdue study of one of public life's in-your-face puzzles."--Carlin Romano, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Political Hypocrisy is not just another denunciation of politicians as liars. Instead, it offers us a tour, from Hobbes and Mandeville to Bentham and Orwell. Runciman is best on the American revolutionaries and our eminent Victorians, perhaps because both the US war of independence and the British empire required self-aware democratic politicians to gloss over the gaps between their proclaimed beliefs and their actual behaviour."--David Willetts, Prospect Magazine

"Political Hypocrisy is a deep and thought-provoking work."--Tim Dunne, THE

"In the excellent Political Hypocrisy, British journalist David Runciman uses the 2008 campaign to test his thesis that hypocrisy and anti-hypocrisy are joined in a 'discrete system' and that our obsession with this antagonistic tango is making modern politics impossible."--Richard King, The Australian Literary Review

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST and for more reviews. This site also gives details about the book and other books written by David Runciman not forgetting how to buy this book.

3 comments to Political Hypocrisy: The Mask of Power, from Hobbes to Orwell and Beyond

  1. says:

    Grace Beck Too much for me to chew...

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith It is ok. You can download the book and chew it slowly :-). Try to listen to the podcast interview. I agree with the writer's views....Thank you so much for reading my blog. I am amazed at your stamina! :-)


  1. says:

    walla continue \ Pobierz


Related Posts with Thumbnails