The virtue of vice: a defence of hypocrisy in democratic politics

Journal article


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
AuthorsTillyris, D.
Abstract

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.

KeywordsMachiavelli, hypocrisy, political virtue, moral conflict, democratic politics, dirty hands
Year2015
JournalContemporary Politics
Journal citation22 (1), pp. 1-19
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN1356-9775
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/13569775.2015.1112958
FunderEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
University of Leeds - School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)
Publication dates
Online26 Nov 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Oct 2016
Output statusPublished
References

Bellamy, R (2010): Dirty Hands and Clean Gloves: Liberal Ideals and Real Politics. European Journal of Political Theory, 9(4):412-430.

Beiner, P. (2008): Machiavelli's 'New Prince' and the Primordial Moment of Acquisition, Political Theory, 36(1):66-92.

Berlin, I (1980): The Originality of Machiavelli, in H. Hardy (ed.) Against The Current: Essays in the History of Ideas New York: Viking, 20-73.

Berlin, I. (1969): Two Concepts of Liberty in Four Essays on Liberty. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bunting, M., Vernon, M., & Lent, A. (2010): Citizen Ethics in a Time of Crisis. Available from: http://www.citizenethics.org.uk/docs/EthicsTemplateDoc.pdf.

Cliffe, L., M. Ramsay & D. Bartlett (2000): The Politics of Lying: Implications for Democracy. London: Macmillan.

Davidson, J. (2004). Hypocrisy and the Politics of Politeness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dovi, S. (2007): The Good Representative. Oxford: Blackwell.

Edyvane, D. (2013): Civic Virtue and the Sovereignty of Evil. London: Routledge.

Galston, W. (2010): Realism in Political Theory. European Journal of Political Theory, 9(4):385-411.

Grant, R. (1997): Hypocrisy and Integrity. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Gutmann, A., & Thompson, D. (2010): The Mindsets of Political Compromise. Perspectives on Politics, 8(4):1125-1143.

Gutmann, A. & Thompson, D. (2012): The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands it and Campaigning Undermines it. Princeton: Princeton University press.

Hampshire, S. (1989): Innocence and Experience. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Hampshire, S. (2000): Justice is Conflict. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Hatier, C. (2012): ‘Them’ and ‘us’: Demonising politicians by moral double standards, Contemporary Politics, 18(4):467-480.

Hollis, M. (1982): Dirty Hands. British Journal of Political Science, 12(4):385-398.

Horton, J. (2010): Realism, liberal moralism and a political theory of modus vivendi, European Journal of Political Theory, 9(4):431-448.

Kane, J. & Patapan, H. (2012): The Democratic Leader. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kis, J. (2008): Politics as a moral problem. Budapest: Central European University Press.

Machiavelli, N. (1998): The Prince, translated by H.C. Mansfield. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

MacIntyre, A. (2003): A Short History of Ethics. London: Routledge.

MacIntyre, A. (2005): After Virtue. USA: London: Bloomsbury.

Mansfield, H.C. (1996): Machiavelli’s Virtue. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Mansfield, H. (1998): Introduction, in Machiavelli, The Prince (H.C. Mansfield, Trans,). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, vii - xxiv.

Markovits, E. (2008): The Politics of Sincerity. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Mattingly, G. (1960): Machiavelli's Prince: Political Science or Political Satire?, D.L Jensen (ed.) Machiavelli Cynic, Patriot, or Political Scientist? Boston: Heath, 98-108.

McKinnon, C. (1991): Hypocrisy, with a note on Integrity. American Philosophical Quarterly, 28(4):321-330.

Moliere, J. B. (2001): Tartuffe, translated by C. Page, New York: Bartleby.

Oborne, P. (2005): The Rise of Political Lying. London: Simon & Schuster Ltd.

Philp, M. (2007): Political Conduct. Cambridge: Harvard University Press

Ramsay M. (2000): Are Machiavellian tactics still appropriate or defensible in politics?, in P. Harris, A. Lock & P. Rees (eds.), Machiavelli: Marketing and Management. London: Routledge, 148-163.

Runciman, D. (2008): Political Hypocrisy: The Mask of Power from Hobbes to Orwell and beyond. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Sandel, M. (2010): We need a Public Life with a Purpose in M., Bunting et al (eds.) Citizen Ethics. http://www.citizenethics.org.uk/docs/EthicsTemplateDoc.pdf.

Shklar, J. (1984): Ordinary Vices. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Shugarman, D. (2000): Democratic Dirty Hands? In P. Rynard & D. P. Shugarman (eds.), Cruelty and Deception: The controversy over dirty hands in Politics. London: Broadview Press, 229-250.

Skelton, G. (2007): Governor’s Fall Appears to Lift his Oratory Skills. LA Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jan/18/local/me-cap18.

Skinner, Q. (2000): Machiavelli: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Strauss, L. (1978): Thoughts on Machiavelli. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Szabados, B., & Soifer, E. (2004): Hypocrisy: Ethical Investigations. Ontario: Broadview Press.

Thompson, D. (1989): Political Ethics and Public Office. London: Harvard University Press.

Walzer, M. (1973): Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 2(2):160-180.

Waldron, J. (2011): What to tell the Axe-Man. London Review of Books, 33(1):13-14.

Wijze, S., de (2005): Tragic Remorse: The anguish of Dirty Hands. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 7(5):453-471.

Williams, B. (1978): Politics and Moral Character, in S. Hampshire (ed.), Public and Private Morality, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 55-73.

Williams, B. (2002): In the Beginning Was the Deed: Realism and Moralism in Political Argument, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Wolin, S. (2004): Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Zerba, M. (2004): The Frauds of Humanism: Cicero, Machiavelli, and the Rhetoric of Imposture, RHETORICA, 22(3):215-240.

File
Permalink -

https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/87xvy/the-virtue-of-vice-a-defence-of-hypocrisy-in-democratic-politics

Download files

  • 1235
    total views
  • 241
    total downloads
  • 62
    views this month
  • 3
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

‘Painted scenes’ or ‘empty pageants’? Superficiality and depth in (realist) political thought
Tillyris, D. and Edyvane, D. 2022. ‘Painted scenes’ or ‘empty pageants’? Superficiality and depth in (realist) political thought. Philosophy & Social Criticism. https://doi.org/10.1177/01914537211066849
Review of Flattery and the history of political thought: that glib and oily art (Daniel J. Kapust; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2018, v+230pp., ISBN: 9781107043367)
Tillyris, D. 2018. Review of Flattery and the history of political thought: that glib and oily art (Daniel J. Kapust; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2018, v+230pp., ISBN: 9781107043367). Contemporary Political Theory. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41296-018-0242-3
Value pluralism and public ethics: introduction
Edyvane, D. and Tillyris, D. 2019. Value pluralism and public ethics: introduction. Theoria. 66 (160), pp. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.3167/th.2019.6616001
Dirty hands and suffering
Tillyris, D. 2019. Dirty hands and suffering. Theoria. 66 (160), pp. 95-121. https://doi.org/10.3167/th.2019.6616006
Political realism and dirty hands: value pluralism, moral conflict and public ethics
Tillyris, D. 2019. Political realism and dirty hands: value pluralism, moral conflict and public ethics. Philosophia. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11406-019-00071-x
Arendt and political realism: towards a realist account of political judgement
Vogler, Gisli and Tillyris, Demetris 2019. Arendt and political realism: towards a realist account of political judgement. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. 24 (6), pp. 821-844. https://doi.org/10.1080/13698230.2019.1610843
Reflections on a crisis: political disenchantment, moral desolation, and political integrity
Tillyris, D. 2017. Reflections on a crisis: political disenchantment, moral desolation, and political integrity. Res Publica. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11158-017-9387-9
Political integrity and dirty hands: compromise and the ambiguities of betrayal
Tillyris, D. 2017. Political integrity and dirty hands: compromise and the ambiguities of betrayal. Res Publica. 23 (4), pp. 475-494. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11158-016-9323-4
After the standard dirty hands thesis: towards a dynamic account of dirty hands in politics
Tillyris, D. 2016. After the standard dirty hands thesis: towards a dynamic account of dirty hands in politics. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. 19 (1), pp. 161-175. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10677-015-9604-6
‘Learning how not to be good’: Machiavelli and the standard dirty hands thesis
Tillyris, D. 2015. ‘Learning how not to be good’: Machiavelli and the standard dirty hands thesis. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. 18 (1), pp. 61-74. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10677-014-9508-x