28 May, 2022


What Is Political Hypocrisy

 By R.M.B Senanayake –

R.M.B. Senanayake

Mr. Gamanpila of the JHU, sees no wrong in canvassing for the abolition of the Provincial Councils while continuing to hold office there-in. He has declined to resign from his membership of the Provincial Council. What do we make of this behavior? Should not a person behave in accordance with his beliefs? In common parlance this is called political hypocrisy. The concept of hypocrisy originally arose in the theatre where persons who were acting pretended to act out a behavior which in reality they were not. People who play a part are potentially unreliable, because they have more than one face they can display. So does not his continuing to serve in a Provincial Council  mean that Mr. Gamanpila does not believe that the Provincial Councils are a useless burden and should be abolished?

Hypocrisy always involves some inconsistency in behavior and behavior which is not in keeping with one’s beliefs. The absence of self-awareness can turn into a kind of deception of oneself or the people. The only sympathetic view of such behavior is that it is due to some kind of self deception.

Any sort of person who says “do as I say, not as I do,” is a hypocrite. An alcoholic parent or a smoking parent who tells his grown up teenager not to drink or smoke is a hypocrite. A person who preaches the value of vegetarianism but himself eats meat is a hypocrite. People think that whatever your principles are, you should believe and act in accordance with them. In the modern sense, a hypocrite is someone who criticizes something that he also does, or someone who acts in a manner that he specifically does not condone. This is considered to be a bad thing, in most cases, and there are plenty of idioms that express it when someone is acting in this manner. “The pot calling the kettle black,” is a classic one, and “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” is an equally popular saying.

But in politics Machiavelli argued for political hypocrisy. He wrote that princes have to at the outset of their career lie and deceive people. He pointed out that such behavior is necessary during the early part of one’s political career where one is weak or dependent on others. He said in times of weakness or dependence hypocrisy is the preferred mode of conducting politics for republics as well as principalities. Machiavellian ethics are specifically political ethics and he argued that instead of applying a pre-determined set of moral values to politics as to every other activity or relation,  the Prince should follow a set of rules for political activity that are justified by the unique character of that activity (politics). Certainly, he believed that the idea that political morality can be boiled down to a set of all-purpose maxims is itself an illusion.

Campaigning for something you don’t act out is hypocrisy. People think that whatever your principles are, you should believe in them and you should in your behavior conform to them. But hypocrisy has also come to describe public statements of principle that do not coincide with an individual’s private practices—indeed, this is what we most often mean by hypocrisy today, where the duplicity lies not in the concealment of one’s personal beliefs but in the attempt to separate off one’s personal behavior from the standards that hold for everyone else.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0

    Some people work for the money and perks…. Shame on you Gamanpila

    • 0

      Come on – the Rajapassa brothers are the Kings of Hypocracy!
      They kill and rob Lanka’s wealth and hide behind the Buddhist flag. Gota the white van goon is Godfather of the Bodu Bala Sena.
      The Buddha Sakyamuni of the Sakya clan had not heard of the Sinhalay modayas from the Southern island of Lanka – who funnily think that Buddhism belongs to them! Under Rajapassa’s leadership Sinhalaya modayas have give Buddhism – a great world religion – a bad name.

      Rajapassa wants a code of conduct for the media but he is the one who needs a code of Ethics and conduct MOST for him and his corrupt criminal family which promotes and provides impunity to thieves and murderers!
      The main point here is that before a code of conduct of Media or anyone else, it is corrupt and criminal Rajapassa brothers and sons who need a CODE OF ETHICS AND RIGHT CONDUCT for RIGHT LIVELIHOOD, action and speech.
      It is the responsibility of Lankan Civil society to draft a Code of Ethics and Conduct for Politicians and political parties to educate the corrupt politicians and for VOTER EDUCATION. There also needs to be a CODE of Conduct for political PARTIES which are petty fiefdoms without democracy today in Lanka.
      Per capita the highest number and most vile crimes are committed by Politicians and the political parties which are headed by geriatrics and shameless losers like Ranil Wickramasinghe are dictatorships. The rot starts at the top – in the Rajpassa family military dictatorship, their GIGANTIC CABINET OF UNEDUCATED MORONIC AND CORRUPT CLOWNS and trickles down to the provincial councils and politicians.
      A code of Ethics and conduct for ALL politicians is the NEED OF THE HOUR and should be the basis of a massive VOTER EDUCATION CAMPAIGN so that people do not vote for the corrupt neopotistic clowns like Mahinda Rajapassa who are and protect criminals! Sena!

  • 0

    Mr Senanayake,

    1. Political Hypocrisy

    2. Religious Hypocrisy

    3. Political Myths

    4. Religious Myths.

    These are all promoted by people who have self-interest and have something to gain. History is full of them.

  • 0

    absolute blue shame to be an attorney

  • 0

    Gamanpilla is a political leech who lives on the WPC whilst talking about abolishing 13A. Most probably he knows his talk will not succeed but is doing so to mislead the public and create problems for the govt. It only shows that some of those wearing white and talking religon are the biggest liars and hypocrites.

  • 0

    Dear Mr. RMBS,

    We know that all politicians are hypocrites. How do you see the behaviour of public servants, judges, and policemen in politicized public service, judiciary and police?

  • 0

    My grouse with Gammanpilla is his motive for wanting the Provincial Councils abolished. The JHU of which he is a prominent functionary opposes devolution of power to the northern province which is populated predominantly by Tamil people. However he and his party contested provincial elections on their acceptance of that concept of devolution in the Sinhala dominated provinces. This is why it is hypocrisy.

    Personally, I fully support equality for all, whatever the race, religion, or gender. However, I am opposed to the Provincial Council concept in Sri Lanka because they are breeding grounds of thuggery, corruption and inefficiency and merely a means of proliferating a carbon copy of our parliament. The parliament itself, under the guise of exercising sovereignty on behalf of the people, has usurped the power of the people to browbeat them and make them cower before them by using the power of the State. Obviously we need to change the parliamentary system as well in order to make the legislators conscious of their duty and responsibility to their position and the electorate. We need to make them accountable where their misgovernance is punishable. We have a situation now where the people fear their elected representatives. Even the Provincial Councillors are feared.

    Many years ago, before the ethnic conflict raised it’s head, whilst discussing politics and politicians, a Tamil friend made an interesting remark that the Sinhala people live in fear of their politicians, whilst the Tamil politician lives in fear of the Tamil people. Leaving aside fear, we need to get our legislators to be humble and respectful to the people. Provincial Councils are a waste.

  • 0

    Speaking of Hypocrisy, the Leader of the Land and the first Lady should
    lead against this by their actions, and others will follow. Instead
    where parents are know to be involved in criminality, say the father
    murders his first wife and the wife enriches herself with others Gold
    do not set examples. The children are encouraged to go after others
    rich to keep up their parents ideals.

    For parental criminality the current examples are:
    1. http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20050703/spotlight.htm
    2. [Edited out] – No gossip links please – CT

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.