George Monbiot


“Sure, we are hypocrites. Every one of us, almost by definition. Hypocrisy is the gap between your aspirations and your actions. Greens have high aspirations – they want to live more ethically – and they will always fall short. But the alternative to hypocrisy isn’t moral purity (no one manages that), but cynicism. Give me hypocrisy any day.”

– George Monbiot “Hypocrites Unite”

It’s a convincing gambit but hypocrisy gets you further from “the truth”; further from understanding the causes of unethical aspects of the world. Hypocrisy is not the gap between aspirations and actions, rather it is the act of pretending that your actions are more ethical than they actually are. Hupokrisis is the Greek for “acting the theatrical part” and it is this theatre of environmentalism and charity that often diverts resources away from more measured and cynical initiatives. To aspire to live more ethically one requires some cynicism so one doesn’t fall into futile and dishonest hypocrisy.

Also, see Monbiot’s career advice that “echoes the political advice offered by Benjamin Franklin: whenever you are faced with a choice between liberty and security, choose liberty. Otherwise you will end up with neither.”

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