The virtue of vice: a defence of hypocrisy in democratic politics
Tillyris, D. 2015. The virtue of vice: a defence of hypocrisy in democratic politics. Contemporary Politics. 22 (1), pp. 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/13569775.2015.1112958
This essay suggests that Machiavelli's claim that the moral vice of hypocrisy is inescapable in politics constitutes a real issue for democratic politics today. Indeed, it concludes that democratic societies are implicated in creating the impetus to hypocritical behaviour. The essay questions the prevalent conviction that a liberal democratic polity should be premised on transparency and candour, not on hypocritical manipulation – a conviction which is paradoxically shared by the dirty hands thesis which is mostly owed to Michael Walzer and which purportedly takes Machiavelli's insights on the moral messiness of politics seriously. Attempts to deny the necessity of political hypocrisy misconstrue the realities of democratic politics – the messy context in which politicians operate and what is distinctive of political friendships. Democratic politicians operate in a context ridden with conflict and dependence which renders hypocrisy a necessary political virtue and one of the strings that hold together a virtuous political life.
|Keywords||Machiavelli, hypocrisy, political virtue, moral conflict, democratic politics, dirty hands|
|Journal citation||22 (1), pp. 1-19|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1080/13569775.2015.1112958|
|Funder||Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)|
|University of Leeds - School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)|
|Online||26 Nov 2015|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||05 Oct 2016|
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