By William Ian Miller
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2003
Online Publication Date:September 2009
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511499234.004
Subjects: Political philosophy
Hypocrisy, as has been noted, started its career in the area of assumed piety. It was a matter of feigning holiness before it was anything else. In the secular sphere everyone expected an endless cycle of cons and deceptions, lies and cheats. Look at the world of Chaucer or Langland or Ben Jonson, in which everyone is an operator, everyone has a scam. That wasn't hypocrisy by their understanding except to the extent that assumed religiosity was part of the scam. But once we extend hypocrisy to be a risk of all virtue we find that it is drawn to some virtues more than others. I examine next the intersection of hypocrisy, in the sense of the divorce between virtuous intention and the virtuous appearance of our deeds, and three virtues: courage, politeness, and self-command.
Courage and Faking It
Here is the bald statement: courage is not susceptible to Jesus' first kind of hypocrisy, the hypocrisy of the trumpeting almsgiver and the ostentatiously pious. Consider this vignette, which represents a rough amalgam of many accounts that appear in soldiers' memoirs: you have been ordered to charge the enemy position. You are scared out of your wits, scared of dying, of being mutilated; but you are just as scared of being seen as a coward, that you will curl up sobbing, cringing, and sniveling, that you will befoul your pants. You also fear that everyone can see your cowardly soul written on your face.
Reference Title: Works Cited
Reference Type: bibliography