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"David Runciman's great achievement is to take the notion of hypocrisy, well-known as a term of moral disapprobation, and to relocate it as a central concept in the history of rational liberal discourse. This illuminating, wide-ranging, and subtle study presents the exposing of hypocrisy, and its simultaneous retention, as an uncomfortable and largely deliberate feature of the writings of some major political theorists and disputants from Hobbes to the present, and argues persuasively and with characteristic elegance that hypocritical deception is necessarily embedded in political life and language."--Michael Freeden, University of Oxford
"To say [Runciman] is a fan of hypocrisy is an understatement. He loves it, studies it, defines and cross-references it, deploring those who fail to see its virtues in binding together the social contract."--Simon Jenkins,Sunday Times
"A fascinating, stimulating read. It treats an issue of immediate political interest in a subtle and engaging way, finding in the history of political liberalism a wealth of insights relevant to contemporary politics. Anyone discussing political hypocrisy in the future will have to deal with this book."--Bryan Garsten, Yale University
"David Runciman's Political Hypocrisy is a superb, beautifully written book on a crucial topic, unmatched in the field and likely to shape it for a long time to come. I was consistently surprised and enlightened by its arguments."--Andrew Sabl, University of California, Los Angeles
"A deep and thought-provoking work."--New York Observer
"In the excellentPolitical 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."--D.N. Ghosh,Economic and Political Weekly
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. 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 draws on the work of 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. He argues that we should accept hypocrisy as a fact of politics--the most dangerous form of political hypocrisy is to claim to have a politics without hypocrisy. Featuring a new foreword that takes the story up to Donald Trump, this book examines why, instead of vainly searching for authentic politicians, we should try to distinguish between harmless and harmful hypocrisies and worry only about the most damaging varieties.
"One of Sunday Times's Best Books in Politics for 2008"