In Defense of Hypocrisy

[Amazon Link]

If it weren't for hypocrisy, this blog would be a lot sparser. It's easy to detect in others, and the accompanying ire it fuels tends to trigger my creative juices. And, while many other sins can be waved off or minimized in today's climate of moral relativism, hypocrisy can still be relied upon: nobody likes it, and you can condemn it roundly from a very high horse without others painting you as a blue-nosed Puritan. Fun!

(And today offers a great example of the genre: Victor Davis Hanson on Senator Obama vs. President Obama.)

Conversely, hypocrisy is nearly impossible to detect in oneself. I'm relatively sure that the Pun Salad archives are shot through with it; I was even more sure after reading this book. It's pretty much invisible to me, though.

Jeremy Lott takes a contrarian position on hypocrisy: it may be a sin, but it's also a social lubricant. And a necessary social lubricant. His argument is short and well-written. Although it delves into philosophy, with that field's customary precision and care in drawing fine distinctions, the tone remains light. In fact, there's funny stuff throughout. He draws his lessons not only from philosophy and religion, but also current events, politics, and movies.

Lott blogs at (although his co-blogger Sean Higgins seems to be doing more of the writing recently), and he's a very smart guy. It's a good book.

Consumer note: it has not yet come out in paperback, but the new hardcover is currently "bargain priced" at Amazon for $8.97, a pretty good deal. I hope the author gets his royalties for 'em.

Last Modified 2012-10-03 8:49 AM EST