Are lies better than hypocrisy?, with special reference to some current events

When should you place a higher penalty on transparently false outright repeated lies, and when should you be more upset by hypocrisy, namely a mix of altruism and self-interest and greed and defensiveness, bundled with self-deception and pawned off to everyone including yourself as sheer goodness?  In recent times the question has taken on further import.

From @EpicureanDeal:

“Here’s the part of the 2016 story that will be hardest to explain after it’s… over: Trump did not deceive anyone.”

From Deplorable Me:

reporters take Trump literally and not seriously. We take Trump seriously but not literally.

From Elberry’s Ghost:

in general, i prefer liars to hypocrites. A liar knows the truth and is cold-bloodedly trying to deceive you, probably for material profit or personal advantage, or malevolence – but in himself he knows the truth and so the situation is less unreal than with the hypocrite; for the hypocrite’s motive is often self-righteousness mingled with material profit and personal advantage. And the hypocrite believes his own lies, so the situation is wholly unreal, saturated with deception. With the liar one can at least guess there is a real human being somewhere behind the lies, watching, calculating; and sometimes in the midst of the deception one catches this real human being’s eye, and there is a moment of mutual recognition – that he is lying and he knows she is lying, and you know too, but of course neither will say so. With the hypocrite, all is false – through and through deception.

For purposes of illumination, say you treat this as a principal-agent problem.  You sometimes prefer if your children lie to you transparently than if they are more deviously hypocritical, even if the lies in the former case are greater.  The former case establishes a precedent that you can see through their claims, and they will not try so hard to disguise the fraud.  So transparent lies about taking out the garbage are excused if you know you can see through the later claims about drugs and drink and prepping for the SAT.

You are more worried about the hypocrite when you see bigger decisions and announcements down the road than what is being faced now.  You are more worried about the hypocrite when you fear disappointment, and have experienced disappointment repeatedly in the past.  You are more worried about the hypocrite when you fear it is all lies anyway.  Lies, in a way, give you a chance to try out “the liar relationship,” whereas hypocrisy does not.  You thus fear that hypocrisy may lead to a worse outcome down the road or at the very least more anxiety along the way.

But note: for a more institutional and distanced principal-agent relationship, it is often incorrect, and indeed dangerous, to rely on your intuitions from personalized principal-agent problems.

When it comes to how the agent speaks to allies and enemies, you almost always should prefer hypocrisy to bald-faced lies.  The history and practice of diplomacy show this.  Allies and enemies, especially from other cultures, don’t know how to process the lies the way you can process the blatant lies of your children, friends, and spouse.  They will think some of these lies are mere hypocrisy and that can greatly increase uncertainty and maybe lead to open conflict.  North Korea aside, the prevailing international equilibrium is “hypocrisy only,” and those are the signals everyone has decades of experience in reading.

Josh Barro tweeted:

People pretending to be better than they are is what holds society together.

International society too.

There is such a hullaballoo in my Twitter feed every day about the lies.  “It is now time to expose the lies!”  I feel sad when I read this, because many of the American people already are putting up with the lies or even welcoming them.  I do not see that as a correct course of action, as it is confusing personal morality with the abstract rules and principles that underlie social order (which is what voters almost always do, by the way).  We need continuing hypocrisy in the international order, and thus from our distanced political agents, even if we don’t want more of it in our personal lives.

I do not see enough people trying to understand lies vs. hypocrisy.  In fact it is tough for many people to make this leap, because doing so requires a Hayekian stress on the distinction between the personal and the abstract political and rules-based order.  That distinction does not always come easily to the non-Hayekians who comprise most of my Twitter feed.  They are very quick to invoke their own personal morality to attempt to settle political disputes.

Note also that if citizens care more about hypocrisy than lies, the media will in turn be harsher with hypocrisy than outright lies.  Some foundations will be covered (and criticized) more than others, even if the less-covered foundation has done more wrong and in a more blatant manner.  Covering hypocrisy also usually involves a longer story with more successive revelations and more twists and turns and narrative suspense and room for ambiguity and competing interpretations.

Furthermore, in this equilibrium the defenders of the morality of the hypocritical agent will in fact make things worse for that agent.  The hypocrisy will become not just a personal hypocrisy of the agent, but rather a broader, almost conspiratorial hypocrisy of greater society.  So the more you think one (hypocritical) agent is getting unfair press coverage, and the more you defend that agent, the worse you make it for that agent.

Talking about the lies of the lying agent may help that agent win popularity, by turning voter attention to the “lies vs. hypocrisy” framing rather than “experience vs. incompetence.”  The lying agent has at least some chance in the former battle, but not much in the latter.

I wonder if earnest Millennials have a special dislike of hypocrisy.

Think about it.  Or if not, at least pretend you will.


"I wonder if earnest Millennials…"

Millennials really do seem more earnest. I wonder if this has been surveyed, and HOW it can be surveyed. Gen X was more cynical. Millennials appear to like their entertainment with a dose of preachiness. Earlier generations were more keen on laughing off anything with an "after school special" vibe.

Teenagers used to laugh at warnings about their Permanent Record.

Now, everything goes on their digital Permanent Record for real.

Outstanding comment.


A lot of the comments below aren't so good. Politics is a mind-killer.

Good post, Tyler.

And then it gets leaked by hackers.

I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record.

Oh, yeah?

Well don't look so distressed...

Did I happen to mention that I'm impressed?

/Gordon Gano - 1983

Great comments! They explain everything. Teenagers used to face one-way media. Now they can talk back. In fact all of us can talk back and re-read again and again our own lies. But when we understand that we are facing ourselves, lies stop being credible. Hypocrisy becomes the strategy.

Perhaps the usual oscillations in public morality. After the puritans came the libertine Georgian times as a reaction, then the Victorian prudery as a reaction to that, then the Gatsby/Jazz Age in the twenties as a reaction to the Victorians, then back to prudery in the post war greatest generation then came the baby boomers drug free sex filled 60's and 70"s, now we have the millennial's reaction to that era. I guess that each reaction is due to the children of that generation seeking to fix the wrongs in the previous generation.

Reactkon? i'll wager you if you tally it all up, conduct which would have been considered quite depraved among the 1948 cohort is just off normal among the 1990 cohort, and not condemned.

It would depend - some behaviours, like smoking or being rude about other races which was common in 1948 - would attract serious condemnation today.

The 1948 cohort would be the age of today's 1990 cohort in 1974.

'Serious condemnation' for smoking cigarettes? Screw the fresh-air fascists.

In 1984, I happened upon some survey research in which black respondents were asked (1) if they had ever been insulted due to their race and (2) if anyone had discriminated against them. Keep in mind that the respondents would have had a median year of birth of about 1943 and the majority would have put in time in the Jim Crow South. The 'Yes' responses were 59% and 40%, respectively. Not wishing to minimize any problems in that era, I seriously doubt it was a quotidienne experience for most blacks to be fielding racial insults or blatantly unfair conduct in 1948. Perhaps they tuned it out because it was just white noise given their expectation of what life was like. Now, I could listen to my mother's account of that era (or read some reminiscences of Thos Sowell, born the same year) and come to the same conclusion. Dr. Sowell in response to a letter from a young woman about the racial climate ca. 1955 said he could not recall any epithets being hurled by anyone other than himself. Suggest the caste system was just everyday life and people were rarely in-your-face about it.

The 1948 cohort would be the age of today’s 1990 cohort in 1974.

Racial insults were not an everyday experience in 1974. (I can recall a couple of incidents from my sister's social circle. My sister was a drama magnet, though).

Trust in various authorities and the community tends to be lower in surveyed "Millennials" than it was in older people at the same age (mind you, also lower in older generations today than when they were young).

I think there are fewer Good vs Evil narratives in media today if anything. Seems a bit more noirish and shades of grey, anti-heroic, though perhaps I am conflating together the entertainment 80s and 90s births have been into.

I don't know - maybe more stories about secular "crusades" for justice?

If you accept the Strauss-Howe Generational Theory of history, both Gen X and the Milennials seem to be falling into place as stereotypical Nomad and Hero generations respectively.

Millennials' hypocrisy: We are for free college tuition because we are concerned about the poor. and inequality.

This reads so much like parody, anyone else feel the same?

Like many public figures, it seems that Tyler has decided to double down on one particular persona. In his case, it is as the utterer of cryptic statements that seem to make some point, almost, but no one can figure out what it is. so it (and he) must be very deep. While it keeps the commentariat going, I am finding it increasingly embarrassing.

But I can see why its hard for an academic to come right out and say "it's probably not a good idea to vote for Trump, given that he doesn't pay his debts, lies without shame, and encourages racist violence, even if you are uncomfortable voting for Clinton, who engages in pretty run-of-the-mill politics and diplomacy, and occasionally fails to live up to the preferable standards she espouses." This may be right, but it is hardly novel and lacks mystique.


This essay belongs in the dissertation for the degree in false equivalence.

This an election where not only are the two sides listening to their own media, they are inhabiting different worlds in the Thomas Kuhn sense. Of course I inhabit the real world. And in the real world Trump has not lied. But Hillary has. Repeatedly. About her illegal e-mail shenanigans for instance. Even when she does not need to lie, she does. As we have seen over her collapse. She and Obama have also incited racial violence. That is why there is rioting in North Carolina where Hillary needs votes and not in Utah where she does not. Trump has not said anything racist at all.

He has declared bankruptcy though which is certainly more honest than cattle futures trading.

Clinton does not fail to live up to the standards she espouses. She is simply a moral and intellectual vacuum. She believes in nothing. She is just willing to do anything to get money and power. That is the real world view. Not a biased partisan view at all.

And this was true for 20 years before Trump entered the political stage.

This an election where not only are the two sides listening to their own media, they are inhabiting different worlds in the Thomas Kuhn sense. Of course I inhabit the real world. And in the real world Trump has not lied. But Hillary has. Repeatedly. About her illegal e-mail shenanigans for instance.

In just one case, Trump boycotted one of the primary debates to instead do a fundraiser for wounded veterans. Said he raised $6M but then no actual charity ever got the money. The day the major media broke the story a check is immediately delivered to a charity.

In any normal world this is a lie both literal and serious. The world you inhabit, though, you claim Hillary has repeatedly lied over (yawn) emails but Trump has not lied.

Can you explain this dichotomy? IMO the simplest explanation is from your final statement:

"Clinton does not fail to live up to the standards she espouses. She is simply a moral and intellectual vacuum. She believes in nothing. She is just willing to do anything to get money and power. That is the real world view. Not a biased partisan view at all."

Methinks the lady doth protest too much. We are eager to project our own flaws onto others and be hypercritical of them for it. Everything you said in that sentence applies to Trump and the reasons you like him.

Look at your utter hypocrisy. You don't like the idea of doing anything for money, so you kneel before someone who hawks steaks at Sharper Image and stiffs charities. You don't like someone who does anything for power, yet you're a flunky for someone who thinks a 'business show' is surrounding himself with toadies and then randomly firing or praising them. You dislike "moral and intellectual vacuum". Exactly what intellectual idea or moral stances does Trump represent?

Trump promised money. Trump delivered money. How is being slower than the Hate Media wanted a lie? Compare this with the Clintons giving all the Haiti contracts to people who gave them money.

Thank you for the arm chair psychology. But you are simply wrong. Whatever you can say about Trump, he believes things and he is brave about stating them. Hillary believes in nothing. No one takes Trump's path without belief and a willingness to suffer for it. Now those views might be crazy, but they are clearly sincerely and deeply held.

The rest is not worth the electrons you used to write it.

So your story is that Trump raised the money and months later just happened to issue the check the morning the media broke the story that none of the funds had actually been given to any charity? If the media had just waited an extra day or two the check would have gotten there and there would have been no story.

At this point please explain to us why you are worthy of any serious consideration?

The media should've waited longer, as it was, Trump got double air time for a single event.

Good luck with the brain damage.

Trump "encourages racist violence"? Specifics, please.

Remember that time when a helpful reporter asked trump to denounce a guy based on the helpful reporters helpful explanation that the guy was bad? And trump insisted on going home and googling the guy before a public denounciation, thus demonstrating "ties" to "fringe" "extremists"? Seriously, if this guy would only realize that reporters are his friends who are just trying to help him. Anyway, a year later and the urban murder rate is up 15%. Coincidence?

1. "Maybe he should have been roughed up"

2. "I will say that people who are following me are very passionate."

it’s probably not a good idea to vote for Trump, given that he doesn’t pay his debts, lies without shame, and encourages racist violence,

I'll wager the moderator understands what bankruptcy proceedings are for and understands the concept of limited liability even if you pretend not to. I'll wager as well that he understoods that when partisan Democrats say 'encourages racist violence', they are not being hypocritical. They're lying. Without shame.

The point seemed pretty clear in the context of the election: people, especially people in the media, are as mistrustful of a hypocrite (e.g. Hillary), as they are of a blatant liar (e.g. Trump). This seems odd since Hillary's deceptions are more of a typical politican while Trump's are not, however, the media's coverage kind of makes sense because it is a longer story to tell and may be more interesting to the people who follow it regularly.
My feeling is that, in politics, electio promises are what bind the politician to the electorate and are actually a very good indicator of what they will do in office. A blatant liar is much more dangerous than someone who may be saying the "right thing" because it is convinient. This is because the hypocrite is more likely to try and keep their policies in office unless it is really inconvinient for them while a liar will just do whatever is best for their self interests regardless.

'I do not see enough people trying to understand lies vs. hypocrisy'

This seems to ignore that some people are unable to stop telling lies, whether concerning their wealth, their charitable giving, or their secret plans to crush terrorism. Nor that some people seem to assume that what they say is true merely because they wish it - such as ordering the American military to commit torture, or forbid members of a religion (including American believers of that religion) to return to the U.S., or simply ignore America's treaty obligations, such as NATO.

But the real point is that Trump is neither a liar nor a hypocrite - Trump is merely a person who cares only about Trump and what Trump perceives to be Trump's benefit, without any apparent need to care about any reality but Trump's own.

Goodness, he hasn't even been elected yet. Wait to see what he does in office before you make those kind of judgements.

There were no judgments in listing documented lying - all those lies are in the past, after all. Well, maybe not that 'secret plan' thing - after all, if anybody knew what the plan was, it would not be secret anymore, so as long as he keeps it secret, he isn't actually lying, and no one could prove he was.

The statements Trump has made are certainly no guarantee that Trump will do anything in the future that Trump has said Trump will do in the past, as anyone even casually listening to Trump for a couple of weeks can easily attest. That is why the comment ended with the point that Trump cares about nothing except Trump, and that all Trump's actions are essentially dictated by that single measure.

Projecting much? Trump is a terrible person. But it is impossible to deny he does seem to believe things.

Hillary on the other hand is willing to trash anyone and everything - starting with her own beliefs - to get elected. She was both for and against the Iraq War. She is now pretending to be against TTIP even though she was for it and wrote a large part of it and of course will pass it if elected. She is for believing in the victims of sexual assault. Except when her husband assaults them. She is contemptuous of housewives except when she is proud of them. She is an opponent of the death penalty who flew back to to Little Rock to preside over the frying of a mentally incapacitated man in order to distract the media from her husband's cheating.

There is simply nothing too low for Hillary. As long as her polling tells her to do it. There is just no there there. She has no core beliefs. Nothing she actually believes in except grabbing power and wealth.

'But it is impossible to deny he does seem to believe things.'

'Thing' is accurate - Trump only believes in what Trump determines is in Trump's best interest, as determined by Trump. That's it, there is no mystery, no need to look for other explanations or reasons.

'Hillary on the other hand is willing to trash anyone and everything – starting with her own beliefs – to get elected. '

So, apparently, is Ted Cruz. Luckily, he did not end up as the Republican presidential candidate. Just another reason to thank Trump in advance, right?

'There is simply nothing too low for Hillary.'

Thankfully, her opponents always take the high ground. Why, Trump would never insult anyone, at least compared to crooked Hillary, who started the birther movement.

'Nothing she actually believes in except grabbing power and wealth.'

Amazing - instead of starting with the most basic banality of any candidate running for president in our lifespans (with varying emphasis on wealth, admittedly), you end with it. And if there is any way to tell Trump and Clinton apart in this way, please do enlighten all of us.

prior_test2 September 25, 2016 at 5:56 am

Again the problem is your projection. You know what is wrong with your girl but you can't admit it. You cannot know what Trump thinks. So that is pointless from the start. It is devoid of meaning as an explanation. What we do know is that Trump's views are so extreme that until now he has not been able to get elected to any political office. He hasn't moderated them. The electorate has just moved his way. That suggests he has real beliefs. Unlike Hillary who was against the war before she was for it before she was against it. As she has been on pretty much every issue.

Ted Cruz is clearly a man who believes stuff. Again your reply is pointless.

If only Hillary restricted herself to insulting people. I look forward to President Trump sticking the IRS and every other Federal bureaucracy on the New York Times and everyone else on the Left. That would be acceptable politics, right? And yes, it has long been known that Hillary started the birther movement and journalists have admitted as much.

'You know what is wrong with your girl but you can’t admit it.' - I would never vote for Clinton, nor would I ever vote for Trump. I have never voted for a Republican or Democrat for any public office in the U.S. since first registering to vote. Which does make one wonder about how to apply your projection theory to what someone else writes. Or possibly you are referring to Stein? Because really, Johnson would be my boy before Stein would be my girl, using your charming classification system.

'You cannot know what Trump thinks.' - Nope, but there is little question about how he acts. And how he acts is easily explained by the fact that Trump only does things that benefit Trump, in the eyes of Trump.

'It is devoid of meaning as an explanation.' - Trump's actions speak for themselves.

'That suggests he has real beliefs. Unlike Hillary who was against the war before she was for it before she was against it.' - Well, certainly worse than Trump, who was for it until he was against it, and claims to have never, ever been for it, regardless of documentary evidence showing that such a belief is at best false, and at worse utterly delusional.

'Ted Cruz is clearly a man who believes stuff.' - Well, sure - he believes he should be president, and has not given up on that particular goal, regardless of what it costs. Making him a natural counterpoint to Hillary, actually.

'I look forward to President Trump sticking the IRS and every other Federal bureaucracy on the New York Times and everyone else on the Left.' - You know, I was going to mention about how Trump resembles Nixon (secret plans, calling out a 'biased' media, an apparent list of enemies) in how he appeals to a certain group of the American electorate, but I'll just let that statement stand on its own to make the point.

'And yes, it has long been known that Hillary started the birther movement and journalists have admitted as much.' - I recognize that a superior intellect such as yours will never be swayed by such a clearly biased source as this -

prior_test2 September 25, 2016 at 7:42 am

You know, somehow I don't believe your self-reported politics. You have too much of a track record.

Again you simply double down on your previously refuted comments. Because Trump's actions do speak for themselves. If Trump was doing only what was good for Trump, he would not have ruined his business prospects by being mean to Muslims. He would have been a boring, middle of the road politician. He is not. You know that is true of Hillary and you simply project it on your enemies. Big deal.

Your comments about Cruz remain devoid of interest. You clearly know nothing of the man. He may be a terrible candidate and an unlikeable person but convictions he has.

Snopes has gone down hill a lot. I assume it is his wife. Sad really. No matter. If you want to claim that some obscure Right wing blogs beat Hillary to the punch by a month, by all means do so. That does not change the fact that the first mainstream use of the birther claim was by Hillary's camp. As Snopes admits.

How can I trust you, So Much, when you have made an easily documented lie on this page?


In terms of your vote, prior, we keep having these little moments that tell you everything you need to know.

Hillary invited Mark Cuban to the debate. Trump invited Gennifer Flowers because, as Trump said in his tweet, that's the same.

Only people who really think it is the same should vote for Trump, and God help us, there should be few of them.

The rest should vote to defeat Trump with a vote that matters.

What utter crap.

How about Trump and the birthers? He was so behind them, even supporting them after Obama released his 'long form' birth certificate. Until now when he tells the world that 'of course' Obama was born in the US. Not even a 'Dear John' letter for those who believed they had his support.

At least with the Iraq War you have a very valid position, 'that was then this is now'. Not only did HIllary opted to trust a Republican President with the discretion to use force after the US was attacked, so did most of the country. It was the Republican President who assured this country that Iraq posed a threat to the US both because of it's secret WMD program and its support of anti-American terrorism. Those at the time who were skeptical were mocked and derided. But that was then and this is now, now we know both those pretenses were lies and we know the neo-con theory of making the Middle East a nice place by just toppling dictators and letting 'democracy break out' is a recipe for endless occupations and civil wars. So 'now' any politician who insisted on standing by Bush deserves scorn rather than praise for not changing his position.

"he is now pretending to be against TTIP even though she was for it and wrote a large part of it ...."

She didn't write a large part of TTIP, but fair point, everyone whose run for President in the last generation has promised to 'get tough on trade' but then pivot to a relative free trade supporter once elected. Trade is an issue where the majority prejudice is against free trade as a principle but it's a mile wide and an inch deep...there's no serious protectionist movement in the US aside from nich special interests.

"She is an opponent of the death penalty who flew back to to Little Rock to preside over the frying of a mentally incapacitated man in order to distract the media from her husband’s cheating."

Flew back to Little Rock? When? Preside? How did she preside? I'm getting this image in my head of some Game of Thrones spectacle where she is watching Ned Stark get beheaded. You are aware that she was never a governor of a state are you? Ohhh and not only did she do this you know exactly why, to distract the media about her husband's cheating?! Not maybe to look tough on crime, or demonstrate that her husband wasn't a wishy washy Mike Dukakis type? Amazingly you, Mr. "I'm about the Truth" know now only facts but internal motivations.

anon September 25, 2016 at 8:26 am

I don't know anon. Why would I care if you trust me or not? I am not much impressed by anonymous blog-bots. What lie do you think I have documented?

I do agree there is nothing much in common between Flowers and Cuban. Flowers was a victim and she is part of a relevant and significant political issue - the Clintons and their lack of moral fitness for the office. Cuban is an irrelevance.

26 Boonton September 25, 2016 at 10:41 am

What about Trump and the birthers? You mean he was a fool for believing Hillary's lies? That may be true. We do not know that anyone lied about Iraq. In fact to the contrary no evidence of a lie and plenty of evidence of the sincerity of the Bushies has come up. We do know now that the Left was wrong about democracy and the Middle East - not everyone is suited or ready for Western human rights. A good reason not to invite them into the West.

If there is no anti-free-trade lobby, there is nothing to worry about when it comes to electing Trump.

When? You do not know about the execution of Ricky Ray Rector? Why are you commenting? Clinton took time off from his campaign to go back to Little Rock and make sure Rector was killed. She went with him.

I notice you only object to people pointing out the Clintons' motivations. Not p-a's mind reading of Trump.

The funniest thing there has to be that an anonymous commenter doesn't trust anonymous commenters.

Don't comment then?

Unpacking the lies:

Flowers was a victim? A victim of what? Having a consensual affair with a married man and then selling tapes when he became famous?

"What about Trump and the birthers? You mean he was a fool for believing Hillary’s lies?"

No this is the problem with statements like "it is impossible to deny he does seem to believe things". I think the birthers are and were 5% cooks and 95% racists but he stood by them and asserted he believed them. Then a week or so ago he simply announced he believed Obama was born in the US. He didn't even acknowledge them or their beliefs, didn't respect them by saying he once took them seriously but X,Y,Z facts have led him to change his mind, down the memory hole.

"When? You do not know about the execution of Ricky Ray Rector? Why are you commenting? Clinton took time off from his campaign to go back to Little Rock and make sure Rector was killed. She went with him."

In other words she didn't preside over anything. Her husband was on the campaign trial and was governor of a state, he went back to his state when an execution happened. So what? If he had went back to Little Rock and she stayed somewhere else would that have made a difference? Did her going back somehow distract people from talking about her husband having affairs? How since the Flowers story had broken months before? Even so, are you saying if Bill went back to Little Rock but Hillary went to, say, a rally in Virginia somehow voters would talk about his affair but her returning to Little Rock with him magically prevented that? How?

We have many, many statements from Trump himself supporting the birthers. Zero from Hillary. Speaks for itself.


"But it is impossible to deny he does seem to believe things."

Actually, that's exactly what many who oppose Mr. Trump do deny. He doesn't appear to believe anything in particular; rather, he seems perfectly happy to say whatever he thinks will convince his audience to do what he wants (whether it's in the context of business negotiations or political rallies).

Indeed, I think Mr. Cowen left out a third important category of relationships to truth, in addition to lying and hypocrisy: bullsh*t (in the philosophical sense of Harry G. Frankfurt). Bullsh*it (sorry, don't know if automatic censoring software is at work) is the result when a speaker has on interest in the truth of what s/he says. It is neither knowingly false nor a hypocrisy (though Mr. Cowen's definition of the latter leaves me more than a little confused).

I think you're projecting your personal morality on the bargaining process that goes into getting the nomination and getting elected.
Hillary was for the Iraq War in the Senate, but after seeing the results and listening to the people who are voting, she's realized that it was a bad idea and also that no one in her party will vote for her if she tries to continue to say it was a good idea. As long as she keeps the promises she made going into office on this issue, she's doing exactly what she should be doing.
The same goes for TIPP, and oil pipelines, and other issues that are important to most of the left wing of the Democratic party.
Representative Democracy isn't about personal and public views matching in all cases. It's about politicians listening to what the voters want, telling them that they will (or won't) do something in office, and following through on those promises. Clinton has been doing this a long time, and understands that if she doesn't do what she said during the election she'll get hurt big time. You may not trust her motives, but the incentives line up so that most politicians do a good job of keeping those promises. Of course, in Trump's case he's long on vague promises and short of actual proposals, so it's hard to tell either what he would do or how truthful he is about what he wants to do.

Yes, a bulls**t artist is what Trump is.

Yes, he says whatever he thinks will persuade a person to vote for him, buy real estate high from him, sell it low to him etc. Truth is not something he cares about one way or the other.

its called an election, where you make prospective judgments of people based on past performance. Excuse me if this was satire that I missed.

"Are lies better than hypocrisy?" - That's rather like judging the quality of two types of lies.

Imagine that there was an incident in country X. As leaders examined it, they learned that there was rising anti-US sentiment in X, and the incident was possibly a bellwether.

But they go public and say "the US has always had a good relationship with X, and is now working with authorities."

Is that a lie? Is it even hypocrisy? Or is it just diplomacy and strategic positioning?

Should domestic politicians shout "No, X hates us!" for their short term gain, while cutting into the diplomatic initiative?

Can someone give a good example of what people consider hypocritical? In the past when I have asked for one people say things like "when a person that smokes tells you that you shouldn't smoke." I don't consider this hypocritical. Who better than a smoker to warn you away from picking up the habit?

Agreed. Hypocrisy is making a dishonest statement about one's personal beliefs. If a smoker sincerely believes that smoking isn't harmful or isn't a bad habit, then he is a hypocrite for saying otherwise in public. However, if he acknowledges his own weakness in failing to quit smoking, then it isn't hypocritical to tell others not to start.

The question of whether US citizens can or should sue Saudi Arabia cuts into these issues. Are either government hypocritical? Or are they both trying to put the best public face on a difficult situation?

There has to be a moral element to it. Say, declaring that pornography is wrong and then secretly going and watching some.

Perhaps, but they surely have a moral objection to it. That person just derives enough pleasure from the experience to overwhelm their doubts. This example illustrates a lack of fortitude more than hypocrisy to me.

Well it is either (a) a lack of fortitude, or (b) the person not truly believing that the behavior is wrong but condemning it anyway. The second case is the only one that would be hypocrisy.

I think a hypocrite is a bit more than that. The hypocrite argues that smoking is bad AND also presents himself or herself as an example of a good non-smoker.

This enrages people much much more than the self-admitted drug addict who nonetheless tells his kids to stay away from drugs. The hypocrite is doing two things to make people mad:

1. He is imposing a cost on others. He is telling others not to do something they may want to do, he is asking others to be shamed and made to feel guilty for doing it.


2. He is demanding payment from others, esteem, respect and praise for avoiding the behavior he condemns.

So hypocrites represent double taxation. I not only have to endure a guilt trip but I got to pay the hypocrite in the form of respect when in reality the hypocrite has been 'paying the dues' by writing bad checks.

Yes I see. That is a helpful comment.
I tend to look at people in situations like this as using the public sphere to atone for their personal sins. The smoker in this case really doesn't want smoking to the point that they overcompensate and pretend to be the noble person they want to be. However I may be mistaken and the person really thinks smoking is ok but wants to fit into society. They go the extra step and demand payment from others to further hide this unacceptable behavior. I guess this is hypocrisy though I am somewhat sympathetic to people wanting to uphold public norms despite personal beliefs to the contrary. I can be considered self control and being polite,

You have to understand people's motivations I guess to underdog they are being hypocritical or not. That is always tough.

Hypocrisy is difficult to spot in politicians on a national stage. How can one tell if someone actually ever believed the things they said in the past and then acted in a manner contrary, of if the things they said before were all just survey tested consultant approved lies. They never believed any such thing they said in the past and just lost track of whatever they had said.

Trump is amazing because he sees the republican base so clearly. He has complete disdain for them but he understands exactly what they want to hear and recognized the moment to strike when they'd been lulled by huckster after huckster. The years of public feedback he'd received from the central park 5 ads all the way through the apprentice gives him the background and the money that Palin and Huckabee were pulling down off of these people after '08 set the stage. I'm sure even he can't believe it has gone this far. It really is masterful.

I suppose that's what happened to Bill Clinton he lost track of wether or not he said sexually assaulting women was bad. Talk about getting taken for a ride- feminist had to defend that rapist for eight years. I imagine clintons disdain for feminist is immeasurable.

I never did vote for Bill Clinton. In fact my logic in his re-election race was that while I liked the economic growth, I could not support his low moral character.

That was a long time ago. I am not voting for Bill now. And I will certainly give a wronged wife lattitude in her statements. They are personal, not professional.

But do we really know he disdains them? Do we know anything about what Trump actually thinks?

The manner of his lies, how blatant they are but he knows the chumps are on board. Little shots like I love the poorly educated, spending their money on himself so shamelessly.

"Trump is amazing because he sees the republican base so clearly."

Actually, a good bit of the Republican base hates him. Trump won the nomination because he was able to appeal to voters outside of the party base, especially blue-collar types in the Midwest, many formerly locks to vote Dem.

"You know, when I was a young man, hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices," Finkle-McGraw said. "It was all because of moral relativism. You see, in that sort of a climate, you are not allowed to criticise others--after all, if there is no absolute right and wrong, then what grounds is there for criticism?

"Now, this led to a good deal of general frustration, for people are naturally censorious and love nothing better than to criticise others’ shortcomings. And so it was that they seized on hypocrisy and elevated it from a ubiquitous peccadillo into the monarch of all vices. For, you see, even if there is no right and wrong, you can find grounds to criticise another person by contrasting what he has espoused with what he has actually done. In this case, you are not making any judgment whatsoever as to the correctness of his views or the morality of his behaviour-you are merely pointing out that he has said one thing and done another. Virtually all political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy.

"Many of the persons who held such opinions were, of course, guilty of the most nefandous conduct themselves, yet they saw no paradox in holding such views because they were not hypocrites themselves--they took no moral stances and lived by none. They were morally superior to the Victorians even though--in fact, because--they had no morals at all.

"We take a somewhat different view of hypocrisy,” Finkle-McGraw continued. “In the late-twentieth-century Weltanschauung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception-he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course, most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it’s a spirit-is-willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing.”

“That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code,” Major Napier said, working it through, “does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code.”

“Of course not,” Finkle-McGraw said. “It’s perfectly obvious, really. No one ever said that it was easy to hew to a strict code of conduct. Really, the difficulties involved-the missteps we make along the way-are what make it interesting. The internal, and eternal, struggle, between our base impulses and the rigorous demands of our own moral system is quintessentially human. It is how we conduct ourselves in that struggle that determines how we may in time be judged by a higher power.”

--The Diamond Age

Nice quote but anyone who has read the Gospels will know that hypocrisy as one of the cardinal sins is not a 20th century invention. What I think changed in the 20th century (mostly in Western democracies) is a much freer press and more transparency surrounding the lives of elite public figures.

Using hypocrisy as a cudgel against standards themselves was an entirely 20th century invention. But it was definitely a development that wasn't occurring in the gospels.

I missed all this moral relativism and lack of standards in the public reactions to people like Jared Fogle, Bill Cosby, Bernie Madoff, and any number of recent mass/terrorist shooters.

Actually, the reaction to Fogle is indicative of the confusions of the times. The man will spend a minimum of 13 years in prison for looking at filthy pictures (largely of children bathing and using a toilet, if I'm understanding news accounts correctly). The man who took the pictures will spend a minimum of 27 years in prison. Unless I'm misunderstanding the news accounts, neither defendant was engaged in any commercial traffic or recruited youngsters to engage in sex acts (the pictures were taken with a hidden camera in the photographers home bathroom). It's as if purveyors of culture and institutional supervisors can no longer condemn (much less proscribe) sexual misconduct in general, so they get it out of their system by exacting draconian penalties on odd little niches of misconduct.

Wow, never thought I'd see Art Deco defending child pornography. Seriously, You're a mess, dude.

Art Deco, you aren't even correct on the facts -- Fogle pleaded guilty to having sex with underage prostitutes and was trying to arrange liaisons with even younger girls before he was arrested. But if you think his sentence is too harsh due to "moral confusion," you may write a letter to the judge asking for a lower sentence and mentioning that Fogle would be welcome in your community upon his early release.

Cardinal sins do not include hypocrisy and are not to be found directly in the Gospels.

When I think of my shortcomings, most of mine are in the category spirit-is-willing flesh-is-weak category. But I think peers matter a lot and people who hold influence matter.

What if Hillary is sincere?

That seems more terrifying ...

What's the scariest thing you think she could be sincere about? The parent leave plan? Estate tax? Mental health? None of that seems like shake in your boots material like say Trump's nukes all over Asian plan.

Personally, I think the idea of Saudi nuclear weapons is the sort of Trumpian vision that ends up being studiously ignored in any discussion of lies or hypocrisy.

It takes a person of rare vision to declare that an Islamic theocracy possessing nuclear weapons is something that U.S. policy should be encouraging, in the interest of making America great again.

You do realize that Saudi Arabia is almost certainly already a nuclear power? In 1987 they bought a few dozen IRBMs from China. A country they did not recognize or have diplomatic relations with. What does Saudi Arabia want with some inaccurate Chinese-made missiles?

Well Saudi Arabia paid for Pakistan's bomb program. And China provided Pakistan with the bomb designs. And of course Chinese warheads fit onto Chinese missiles.

'You do realize that Saudi Arabia is almost certainly already a nuclear power?'

The Israelis seem to remarkably discrete about fact, then. Particularly in light of how the Israeli Air Force has long experience in destroying whatever nuclear facilities it feels may threaten Israel - for example, or

Oddly, though, the current Israeli government has been long exaggerating Iran's nuclear weapons program in its own interests.

And yet not a single word from Israel regarding a clear and present existential threat from Saudi nuclear weapons, in comparison to the existential threat of Iranian nuclear weapons that may exist at some point in the future.

What may be true, however, is rumors about how the Saudis have wired their oil facilities in such a fashion to make them unusable in the case of invasion, including the potential spreading of radioactive material as part of the plan to destroy those installations. The difference between buying radioactive material - cesium 137 is not exactly expensive, and already used in the oil industry - and building a bomb is immense in practice.

I hope her anti-Russian beligera once is just a pose. I don't particularly like the idea of ww3, even if "we" would probably win.

What could possibly go wrong with a philosophy of Invade the World / Invite the World?

Was that a lie or hypocrisy?

I love these little moments when supposed opponents of untruths outdo their target.

Can you document anything resembling "Invade the World / Invite the World?"

In both status quo policy are well short of that.

Are you just accepting the lie as useful hyperbole?

What's funny about you is your entire act can be summarized as you furiously typing out some version of "I demand you dispel my ignorance to my satisfaction!"

The fact that you never tire of this is the only interesting thing about you.

I can easily restate it as a fact. "Invade the World / Invite the World" is a lie and hypocrisy.

A change in Syrian bombing patterns or troop levels in Iraq is not invading the world. A change of a few thousand in refugee levels is not inviting the world.

Those are lies that attempt to create a false worldview. Not factual. Not rational

That women are expendable should their pursuit of justice and dignity conflict with Clinton family ambition.

That she thought her North Africa policy was a good idea.

That she thought her husband didn't rape those women, and that it was just a bunch of trolopes anyways.

That she really thought that sending State Department stuff on an insecure channel is harmless.

That she really believes she has no health issues.

All of those are a miss, starting with the tick that modern conservatives can't tell a true story of who wanted to depose Gaddafi.,8599,2060412,00.html

Do you not know, or not care? I think it is pretty obvious that the US was dragged in, and then had to do the best it could. Then domestic enemies of Obama, later Clinton, undercut that for purely partisan reasons.

Once the NATO decision was made, the correct choice was to work within it,

How can hypocrisy ever be worse than lying?

"You shouldn't cheat on your spouse" vs. "I'm not cheating on you" is not even a close call

Explain, It's not clear at all.

Also, Trump and Hillary aren't lying or being hypocritical about the same things.

Trump lies about his university, his money, he's gonna build a wall, Obama wasn't born here, Ted Cruz's Dad.

Hillary is hypocritical while wrecking a country (Haiti) and compromising national security (emails).

If only Hillary had talked to another Secretary of State about private e-mails ....

Oh wait, she did - 'Responding to a question from Clinton about restrictions on BlackBerry use, Powell wrote that he didn’t have such a device, but he did have “a personal computer that was hooked up to a private phone line.”

“So I could communicate with a wide range of friends directly without it going through the State Department servers,” Powell wrote. “I even used it to do business with some foreign leaders and some of the senior folks in the Department on their personal email accounts. I did the same thing on the road in hotels.”

According to a report by the State Department’s inspector general, Powell had already acknowledged using a laptop on a private line and sending notes to ambassadors and foreign ministers via personal email, and a representative said he did not retain or print those emails.'

Maybe the Russians have those intentionally unarchived Powell e-mails?

Haiti was wrecked by Hillary? When? Please let us know the date that Haiti was a well functioning country and then it became a broken one. There are many Haitian-Americans, certainly you have poll numbers indicating massive support for Trump in those communities akin to the way Cuban-Americans supported Republicans for over a generation after the Bay of Pigs. Clearly Haitian Americans would have a good sense of what has happened in Haiti over the last decade plus.

That doesn't tell the story that the Clintons broke Haiti at all. It says they did a lot of good. The claim in the story is that they didn't do as much as promised.

A good illustration of what might not be public hypocrisy.

What if promises were well intentioned, and there were slips between cup and lip? Is not getting to where you want to be hypocrisy?

I'd be happy to entertain a head to head examination of which charity did more good, the Clinton Foundation or the Trump Foundation, which I hear once paid thousands to buy a 6 foot life size painting of Trump himself.

'Wreck Haiti" means the Clinton Foundation is not the greatest charity in the world. I wouldn't expect it to be but then by definition most charities are not the greatest in the world. Has anything come out that indicates it does harm? No.

Clear double standard here, talk about making the perfect the enemy of the good.

We all had 16 once and were against hypocrisy. Life goes on and one day you realize team work is 100% hypocrisy. Telling the truth does not help to achieve common goals, it just creates a toxic environment. There's a way to put people to work without calling them "lazy dumb piece of....", it's called diplomacy, or for 16 years old: hypocrisy.

Most hypocrisy isn't even hypocrisy. It is being polite, offering nuance, keeping ones options open, understanding rather than agreeing, showing sympathy, knowing that situations change and details matter, realizing there are many conditionals. But many people are simple. They don't want complex understanding. They would prefer you lie to them than tell you what they don't want to hear, because they never really believe you will. They will believe it is others they are lying to and enjoy it and hope you get away with it. It is all others are entitled to. Even after the fact when it has been exposed, they aren't really angry and may even be admiring of the audacity. Most of the time they may blame circumstances beyond their control or changed conditions or others falling short. They blame themselves for falling for it and chalk it up to experience. To these, nuance is hypocrisy because they are unable to interpret it and elide it as a result. A different statement with different nuance that is also elided then becomes telling everyone what they want to hear. Careful wording is read as lying. Misstatements are self serving. Intelligence is deceptive. Judgment is hypocrisy.

I suppose lying and hypocrisy can both be effective in some cases, but in general it is best to attempt to destroy liars and hypocrites with available resources.

In the case of Trump, the problem isn't that he is lying so much that nobody, least of all him knows what policy he might initiate. With the trash being moved by a kid, it is probably in or out; Trump would as soon dump the trash in the bathtub and place the can on the chimney.

For the election, donate the maximum to Johnson, vote straight-ticket for libertarians (or greens if you like) and attack the legacy candidates in the media and other public forums.

"For the election, donate the maximum to Johnson, vote straight-ticket for libertarians (or greens if you like) "

And wake up Nov 9th with a bathtub full of garbage?

For the election, donate the maximum to Johnson,

Why? He's an insipid business Republican. I don't want that, and if I'm going to strike attitudes, I'll select something I do want.


what should we do if both candidates are liars and hypocrites?

If you want an example of an honest candidate, recall Cruz sp? telling Iowans that he is against ethanol subsidies. I can't take his jesus freak stuff, but that is as close you will get to a politician who is not dishonest and not hypocritical.

" close you will get to a politician who is not dishonest and not hypocritical."

Is this supposed to be evidence that Cruz is hypocritical because he endorsed Trump? If so the moment of becoming hypocritical was the moment he vowed to not support Trump despite the initial pledge to support the GOP primary winner.

Again, saying you are against subsidies to farming in a state full of farmers is a strong symptom of moral character.

If you wanted to levy some real criticism against Cruz, you should look at his wife's salary before and after he was elected senator,.

The Cruz household income declined after he was elected to Congress. They had an income of $1.7 million in 2011 and an income of $970,000 in 2013.

Admirable, he didn't do like Obama, whose wife's salary tripled as he went from Illinois senator to US senator!

I wasn't trying to smear Cruz, I just think the recent demonizing of Cruz for endorsing Trump is ridiculous. Thanks for adding the data!!

During the primary, Cruz described Trump as a "pathological liar" and "utterly amoral."

Tyler sounds Super Concerned but he's so vague in what he's actually addressing! Clearly he must be referring to global warming, where one side denies it, and the other refuses revenue-neutral carbon taxes while jetting around the world signing feelgood documents, blocking nuclear expansion, and backing off of raising gas taxes during an unexpected price drop because the party needs popularity more than saving the Earth.

Tyler sounds Super Concerned, but he's vague on what issue exactly. Hemust be referring to immigration of refugees, where one side thinks that terrorists will sneak in, The other thinks that it's very humane to bomb foreign countries, destroying lives, families, and stability of government, and then dragging survivors halfway across the world to make them citizens of an alien western culture they're uncomfortable with, without anyone who shares their language or religion, all at 12 times the cost it takes to provide for the refugees in a nearby safe zone (because cost of living is a thing). The safe zone being close enough that the upstanding refugees can rebuild their nation when the fighting ends.

Tyler sounds Super Concerned, but I can't tell what issue exactly he's referring to! I'm guessing it's police brutality. One side believes that largely the system works and we should let the courts do their thing. The other side highlights violence done to blacks while ignoring similar events happening to whites (also in % greater than demographic composition), calls it racism to suggest police brutality crosses racial lines, ignores the causes that leads to certain neighborhoods getting harsher policing, or the extreme oppression that crime itself produces (in opposition to the oppression of the police).

I'm not convinced that hypocrisy is a vital feature of international life. I think that a U.S. president could deliver a speech that forthrightly acknowledged America's history of violent imperialism, while still arguing that, in the present, great powers that invade other countries without just cause should be resisted. There are important differences between say, America's invasion of Iraq, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and these contrasts would be better highlighted in an honest speech, than a hypocritical one.

As another example, during the heady days of the Arab Spring, Obama could have made a clean, honest break from the Mid East dictators, and tried to put U.S. policy towards the region on a new trajectory. Instead, it was the same old hypocritical mix; backing Mubarak's eviction, but sitting idly by while Riyadh helped crush the protests in Bahrain. Again, it's not clear to me that hypocrisy is better, for America in particular, or the world at large.

Finally, consider the insistence of many environmentalists that Exxon Mobile et al. are the principal global warming villains, neglecting the possibility that society's thirst for cheap energy might be a large part of the problem. On balance, I put more blame on Exxon Mobile too, just as I do with Wall Street regarding the financial crisis, but it is a mistake to ignore the social context of those errors, and I don't think that political leaders are helping matters by trying to cure an entire disease with a partial diagnosis (I still wholeheartedly support the hypocrites who favor carbon taxes, and hope that their political instincts are better than mine. At the same time, however, I think that a coal executive who refuses to sell coal should be fired).

Hypocrisy is such an ingrained feature of political life that it is hard to imagine the world without it, but it may be time to take the plunge. Of course, honesty matched with bad policy isn't very helpful, but that is a separate issue.

Finally, we need softer words than hypocrisy and hypocrites. These terms reek of condemnatory judgment, not thoughtful evaluation.

I think that a U.S. president could deliver a speech that forthrightly acknowledged America’s history of violent imperialism,

He shouldn't do that, because it isn't true bar in the imaginations of pinko trash who seem abnormally common among college faculty and opinion journalists.

We didn't slaughter the Native population and repeatedly break our treaties with them and appropriate their land? I could have sworn that we did do that.

Which 'their' did you have in mind? The country was sparsely populated with aboriginal bands amongst whom there was nothing resembling abiding property rights. Particular aboriginal bands ejected from given loci acquired their holdings (such as they were) by ... ejecting the previous occupants.

Moving the goalposts a bit, aren't we? That sounds an awful lot like an acknowledgment that we did slaughter various groups and take their land, only now with the excuse that they didn't conceive of property rights the way we do and had also slaughtered each other in the past. Which doesn't make it not violent imperialism.

Related: I would love to hear how the Trail of Tears is anything other than violent imperialism, in your mind.

Obama could have made a clean, honest break from the Mid East dictators, and tried to put U.S. policy towards the region on a new trajectory.

No he could not, because authoritarianism is the default state in the Arab world. You've had a good look the last five years at what happens when someone attempts something else. It is not pretty. You manage not to notice.

This what intellectuals do: overthink and over complicate matters to the point of total confusion, And then take the mess as a sign of their subtlety.

The implication and error of this post is that Trump is a liar and Clinton is a hypocrite. But in fact Trump is both, even if he is a liar first. He shares the same ambition pretending to be altruism (only I can fix it!), the same pretense of charity with his self-serving foundation. Arguably the Clinton foundation is considerably *less* hypocritical in that it has done significant good, for example in supplying HIV drugs to poor countries.

Like so much of the media coverage these days, this post creates a false equivalence by implying that each candidate must be described by one label, and all labels are equally intensely applied. It's not a liar vs a hypocrite. It's a 3rd standard deviation liar and a 2nd standard deviation hypocrite against a hypocrite within the confidence interval of the mean in politics.

It is interesting to see the yawning gap between what the Left believes about Trump and the evidence. What is the connection between Trump's interesting view that only he can solve America's problems and altruism?

The Clinton Foundation spent 96% of its money on travel and salaries. They spun off the Clinton Health Initiative which has done something about HIV drugs. Not much of course but something.

I agree that it is a false equivalence. Hillary lies about everything. Hillary has no political or moral beliefs at all. She certainly has never shown any or behaved with anything like integrity. Trump is a clown and a showman. But he is quantitatively a different sort of person.

"96% of its money on travel and salaries" is a complete lie. Where did you get it, seriously? Downgrade that source for truth and honesty.

Charity Watch puts the effectiveness at 80.6% That is ~20% going to overhead.

As noted at the hated Fact Check:

And yet the foundation's own tax returns show that only about 10% of the money is distributed to proper charities.

The two biggest recipients are the Clinton presidential library and the Global Initiative, which the NYT refers to as glitzy gatherings of the rich and famous.

Much of the rest is spent on travel, salaries and accommodation.

You can detest Trump AND realise that the Clintons are soulless, corrupt and criminal.

You didn't read my link very carefully. Only a particular kind of charity dispenses to other charities. When the Red Cross brings water and blankets that is not dispensing to other charities.

Should we fault the Red Cross because instead of helping victims it should have given to the United Way?

Go to the source guys, judge for yourself:

Let's say I have a charity and I raise $100,000.

I hire a doctor, a few nurses and buy some medical supplies and fly them to Haiti to vaccinate children.

That's all great, right? But what would my IRS filing show (as the once cited by

You'd see salaries for the doctor and nurses, you'd see travel and other expenses.

Assuming a charity isn't just going to bank all their contributions into a huge account, what does one expect their IRS filing to show? You're either spending your money on salaries or expenses.

Ok, I read it. The problem is that since is is primarily about conformance to US tax law, it has no "total for good works."

I didn't see a category for domestically purchased "water and blankets." There were some foreign tansfers noted, again because tax implications, and not as an "effectiveness total."

The tax form does not compute an effectiveness ratio, which is why Charity Watch has a job.

From the Charity Watch rating of the Clinton Foundation:

"Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation's rating is based on CharityWatch's in-depth analysis of the following documents for the fiscal year represented:
Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation Audited Consolidated Financial Statements
Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation IRS Form 990
Clinton Health Access Initiative IRS Form 990
Clinton Health Access Initiative & Subsidiaries Audited Consolidated Financial Statements"

In other words, Charity Watch merely "analyses" the financial reporting documents.

The real question is, how much of the Clinton Foundation spending...salaries, employee benefits and perks, overhead and subcontractor payments (e.g., fundraising, promotional and event management activities)...goes to further the political ambitions of its principals?

The financial reports and tax returns contribute very little to answering that question.

In other words, Charity Watch merely “analyses” the financial reporting documents.

As opposed to what? Should Charity Watch send thousands of undercover agents in to infiltrate charities and sneak out all their internal documents Snowden style? Are you saying Charity Watch is incapable of analyzing charities based on the documents they use? After reporting about thousands of charities, no one has noticed until today Charity Watch is unreliable?

The Clintons do direct charity, which means that they report paying employees to do x, when those employees may in fact do y, and even if they do x, they must swear allegiance to their paymaster. For instance Huma was paid by the foundation for something, but she is a full time political operative. Some "charity".

It appears that most of the foundation's direct costs are related to putting on events to influence political decisions. How is that different from what a lobbyist does?

I suspect Hilligula did believe in something ca. 1972, but has been predominantly self serving for about 40 years, since some point in time between that letter of dismissal from Jerry Zeifman and that commodities caper. It's difficult to imagine a bride for Bilge who wasn't an ingenue or a consummate cynic.

Man, one would have thought that Snopes was really easy to use with a basic level of reading comprehension, but based on some of the commenters here, apparently not -

'A pair of articles published during Hillary Clinton's run for the presidency in 2008, one by Northstar Writers Group founder Dan Calabrese and one by Jerry Zeifman himself, asserted that Zeifman was Hillary's supervisor during the Watergate investigation and that he eventually fired her from the investigation for "unethical, dishonest" conduct. However, whatever Zeifman may have thought of Hillary and her work during the investigation, he was not her supervisor, neither he nor anyone else fired her from her position on the Impeachment Inquiry staff (Zeifman in fact didn't have the power to fire her, even had he wanted to do so), his description of her conduct as "unethical" and "dishonest" is his personal, highly subjective characterization, and the "facts" on which he based that characterization were ones that he contradicted himself about on multiple occasions.'

Another indicator of the decline of Snopes. Mr. Zeifman was chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee.

'Mr. Zeifman was chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee.'

And never Hillary Rodham's boss, as noted in the Snopes article that is still apparently too difficult for you to read - 'At that time, the Judiciary Committee comprised 37 members of the House of Representatives and was chaired by Representative Peter Rodino, Jr., of New Jersey. The Judiciary Committee was assisted by a permanent staff, on which attorney Jerry Zeifman served as Chief Counsel, and (for this occasion) by a separate Impeachment Inquiry staff assembled to determine whether President Nixon had committed impeachable offenses. That inquiry staff was headed by former U.S. Justice Department lawyer John Doar, and one of his hires was a 26-year-old Yale Law School graduate then known by her maiden name of Hillary Rodham (who a few years later would marry future Arkansas governor and U.S. president Bill Clinton).'

Would the Post be better than Snopes for you, seeing how the Post was first mystified by this more than two decades ago - 'After our colleague Amy Goldstein took a detailed look at Hillary Clinton’s failed effort to enact a health-care law when her husband was president, Washington Post editors were puzzled by the fact that many readers, in the comment section, cited her alleged firing during the Watergate years. Then ace researcher Alice Crites suggested a good way to finally disprove this claim once and for all.'

The article continues - 'More than 20 years later, in 1995, Zeifman published a book titled “Without Honor: Crimes of Camelot and the Impeachment of President Nixon.” Clinton is mainly a bit player in the book. Zeifman was mostly concerned with settling scores with John Doar, a lawyer who essentially displaced Zeifman when he was tapped to head the committee’s impeachment inquiry. Doar was a lifelong Republican who as a Justice Department lawyer in the 1960s had achieved fame for battling segregation in the South.

Zeifman also was not fond of Rep. Peter Rodino (D-N.J.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, whom he described in the book as too tied to the Mafia, too subservient to his increasingly African American constituency and too controlled by his top female aide.

Doar, as the chief lawyer for the impeachment probe, actually hired Clinton, and she reported to him. Zeifman, who passed away in 2010, in his book appeared to be a frustrated bystander to many of Doar’s decisions. He had no control over her hiring — and would not have been in a position to fire her.'

One hopes that the ever so astute commenters here recognize that the Republicans used to be proud of their work in desegregating the then Democratic Party controlled Jim Crow South back in the 1960s, allowing African-Americans to vote without any fear of being called a RINO, while many Democrats of the time, much like Jerry Zeifman seemingly, remained loyal to the idea that African-Americans should not have any undue influence on their elected representatives.

Thank you, Paul. Well said!

Note that hypocrites will sometime tell a story that advances US interests, and that domestic opponents will shout "liar," usually without comprehension of the damage to US interests.

Many moments of this as the US grappled with an Arab Spring response.

There are reverse cases, of course. The Iraq invasion would be a hypocrisy which was both a lie and itself damaging.

"Not in front of the children, dear" is the central guiding principle of the governing class across the West in our time. Lies, hypocrisy ... these are just the observable phenomena, shadows of what goes on off stage.

What we now call the hypocrisy has been there throughout human history. I think there are some serious questions but what really is hypocrisy in the deceitful sense and what is diplomacy.

Or is it truly hypocrisy when the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak?

reporters take Trump literally and not seriously. We take Trump seriously but not literally.

That's funny because my impression is much of the "Clinton is a liar" rant often begins by taking anything said hyper-literally. When discussing the other side, literal is the only game in town.

That plus 'seriously but not literally' seems to be the essence of unfalsifiable. Exactly how would one demonstrate that, say, the US is not getting millions of problem causing Mexican illegal immigrants under this rubric? We aren't allowed to actually count whether or not more are coming in this year than last, we aren't allowed to count if there's more deportations this year than actual fact shall be allowed in the discussion but random anecdotes may be allowed (this illegal drove drunk and killed someone's son, that illegal saved a baby and puppy from a burning building).

Should we take this line of thinking seriously?

I think a sympathetic reading of Deplorable Me's aphorism would be: Trump says "I will build a wall, and the Mexican government will pay for it." Reporters say, "Of course, the Mexican government won't pay for it, and you probably can't build that big and long a wall anyway." That's all true but they stop there. Trump supporters know the Mexican government won't pay, and a complete wall may well not be built, but they know (or at least think they know) that, unlike respectable politicians, Trump cares about "securing the border" and thinks that unrestricted immigration is a big problem. They think he, alone among prominent Democrats or Republicans, will actually do something to bring illegal immigration levels down and keep them from going up.

So is it hypocrisy when the same supporters make the reverse argument on torture and war crimes, that "they will do it, believe me" is this time empty and meaningless?

that, unlike respectable politicians, Trump cares about “securing the border” and thinks that unrestricted immigration is a big problem.

Except if this is something a person honesty cares about they would already know:

1. We already have built multiple walls.
2. We already have stepped up border enforcement to a huge degree.
3. We already are deporting more people than ever before.

All this brought to you by 'respectable politicians'. If seeing these policies enacted is something you (hypothetical Deplorable) care so much about, why are you so ignorant? If I was a farmer who cared about protecting farm subsidies, I'd be well versed in what subsidies are already out there and how much they pay. More so than a typical urban dweller who probably has at best a high level summary knowledge of what farm programs the country currently has. Trump supporters seem to combine both a niche issue and ignorance together.

There's a fence, not a wall. And it's mostly gaps.

Ahhh yes, the group that lives by "we take Trump seriously but not literally" now suddenly becomes very literal.

Fact is the US-Mexico border is nothing like it was ten, twenty or thirty years ago. You can hang your hat on nit picking semantics (yes the 'wall' does not make an absolute closed circuit from one side to the other but does cover the areas almost all crossings happen making the un-walled areas remote and very difficult to cross, you can quibble that it's a 'fence' but it's a very tall fence and not so easy to climb over without being detected as it was in the past...assuming it even existed in the past) but if a tighter border crossing is really an issue you claim to care deeply about you cannot be ignorant of the fact that it is much more secure than it ever was.

Boonton, I think Trump supporters feel something like, "If there are so many illegals being deported, why are there so many illegals here? It's like draining the ocean with a paper cup. Obama has specifically promised lots of illegals that he will make no attempt to get rid of them [e.g., DACA and DAPA]. No attempt is made to stop "sanctuary cities" or states that declare as policy that they will not report illegals. All respectable politicians seem to support 'comprehensive immigration reform' which just means amnesty now and then another amnesty down the road after more illegals come.

Or to put it differently, faced with such facts, Trump supporters would think, "Okay, respectable politicians have gone from 5% serious about enforcing the immigration laws and securing the border to 20% serious. But only my guy will get anywhere close to 100%."

This sounds like a callout to the NYT on their new policy regarding Trump.

Also the dichotomy doesn't always hold up. Many habitual liars believe their own lies.

Sad to see a thinker of such depth couch his opinion in such cryptic, pseudo-intellectual twaddle in a vane attempt to appear "deep" yet objective. Frankly, it's insulting to the reader. It's also deeply flawed in that it posits a choice between liars and hypocrites, when life experience demonstrates that it's rare to find the one without the other inhabiting the same body. Certainly not in the present circumstance, notwithstanding Mr. Cowen's attempt to create a choice where there is none.

I've never heard anyone who isn't an idiot use the term "Hayekian".

Well when you are a leftist who thinks his aesthetic should be enforced by regulation or gulag...

La Rochefoucauld famously defined hypocrisy as "...the tribute that vice pays to virtue." In other words, it is the way we paper over our high aspirations and our flawed outcomes. As such, hypocrisy is a recognition of what used to be a fairly normative view: that our reach should exceed our grasp.

Theodore Roosevelt has something to tell us on that subject:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Perhaps that is the gravamen of the issue: in the absence of standards, goals, or aspirations, hypocrisy might well be mere self-serving, special pleading.

As for me, I would rather have high aspirations that I cannot always (or even ever) meet and be convicted of hypocrisy, than to have none and be acquitted.

Tribal psychology leads people to want their tribe to rule over others -- to enforce rules favoring their own tribe at costs to others. Religious fundamentalists, cultists, and those who are driven by identity-politics are often tribal in their psychology. Seek hypocrisy in those places and you will generally find it. A lot. Cults attract hypocrites.

The corruption problem in a nutshell: "good" people exhort us to accept lies and hypocricy for the good of the current international order. *sigh*

When you tell different lies to different audiences, severe pandering, how is that really different than hypocrisy? The part where Cowen quotes someone saying a liar knows he is lying is laughable. Many chronic liars start believing their own lies.


We all lie. Hypocrisy amounts to deceiving oneself. It is frightening to see someone do that, because then they may plausibly be thought of as being capable of doing anything whatsoever. We tolerate straight-forward lying as it is able to be calibrated and understood. Straight-forward lying can be thought of as a kind of hopeful optimism. Self-deceit is by it's very nature nihilistic. I am Donald Trump and I approved this message.

Poor Tyler, your comment section is so partisan and people even are disdainful that you are talking about philosophy and systems rather than recent events. I thought this was an interesting intellectual area to think about.

Overall, I'm not so sure of the approach you've taken. To me, lies are simple to deal with while hypocrisy, specifically this defensive, righteous type hypocrisy ("a mix of altruism and self-interest and greed and defensiveness"), is a major unsolved problem. It's easy enough to challenge both of these, but what do you do as the backup plan? Against lies you can choose to disassociate against someone who doubles down on a blatant, repeated lie and just wants to dig in deeper. With righteous hypocrisy, that option is very unappealing because their self-delusion and defensiveness. You don't want walk away because that leaves such a person feeling completely secure and they'll view you just as wrong as ever. Against a hypocrite you might need an unbounded amount of patience and protests to merely avoid being de-legitimized. It can be even worse when there is a fear of speaking up.

Some specific questions about your post:

Is there a reason why you have to approach these two concepts (lies and hypocrisy) as almost a False dilemma, with one elevated above another? Ranking your moral judgements makes sense when you have to make a tough choice. (Classic example: do I lie to my friend or do I hurt their feelings?) It doesn't make sense to me here. First, it doesn't seem possible for an individual to intentionally choose between lying or engaging in hypocrisy, and second as an onlooker you are allowed to advocate against both of them.

This sentence:
"Allies and enemies, especially from other cultures, don’t know how to process the lies the way you can process the blatant lies of your children, friends, and spouse."
seems like it is referring to specific ideas and examples, care to explain?

> I do not see enough people trying to understand lies vs. hypocrisy. In fact it
> is tough for many people to make this leap, because doing so requires a
> Hayekian stress on the distinction between the personal and the abstract
> political and rules-based order. That distinction does not always come easily
> to the non-Hayekians who comprise most of my Twitter feed. They are very quick
> to invoke their own personal morality to attempt to settle political
> disputes.

Somewhere around here I get very confused. I feel like either there is a bait and switch or else my interpretations have gone far off track. My understanding is that you (more than most) appreciate how the current "international equilibrium" involves the world's politicians engaging in hypocrisy by default with each other, because they have to make deals and agreements across different cultures. Lots of signals are exchanged, there are strong opposing self-interests, there is chance for open conflict or other unhappiness if things go bad, et cetera.

The switch comes when you refer to your Twitter feed and Twitter followers and how they try to "settle political disputes". I view this as signifying the broader political discourse between everyday Americans (maybe I'm wrong, but in my defense no examples were given of what was being debated). Fellow citizens aren't so unfriendly or from such distant cultures and self-interests that they would need to be comfortable with wearing some sort of coat of hypocrisy to talk to each other.

Again, I've probably just wandered into the mental weeds somewhere along the way.

You have always wondered out loud why people aren't truth seekers and assumed if they were they would become more Hayekian. but the issue is the amount of time it takes to wrap ur mind around the abstract thought (took me 2+ years). If anything the political silly season is too short.

Yet more tribalized politics, both in the article and in the comments here. Yawn. MY tribe good-- even if they are hypocritical or even if they are constantly lying. YOUR tribe bad, because they are hypocritical and/or constantly lying-- at least according to MY tribe's point of view and the corresponding narrative, they are doing this. What my tribe does is great or good, or at the very least forgivable. What your tribe does is horrendous in every way.

Even when both tribes are doing exactly the same things, somehow MINE is great and YOURS is horrendous.

Do they both do exactly the same things?

Not often. But even when they both do the same things, each tribe interprets what their tribe does as fine and what the other tribe does as awful.

To a very casual observer things might seem same as always, but it doesn't take much to dig up differences.

In the last election 30% of Fortune 100 CEOs supported Romney. This year zero support Trump.

Or, if you trust newspapers:

I think you are exhibiting another 'tribal trait'. The tribe of the imaginary moderate. You imagine that you alone are fair and all sides do the exact same things. Trump lies but Hillary lies just like Trump. Trump has horrible policies but Hillary does too. If only one of the parties could find someone who is exactly in the middle of these two silly extremes, like you are, we could have a rational and sensible election. Since that hasn't happened, though, you are content to pretend all options are bad and you are too high above the fray to actually deem one side or the other worthy of taking.

Of course this tribe's religion is probably the most fantastical faith of all. For example, what are the odds that the political system could produce candidates that are the absolute mirror images of each other? What are the odds that one candidate wouldn't lie more than the other but they both lie at exactly the same rate? Unless there's some deeper system pushing things towards such an equilibrium, the odds of pure chance producing that outcome is nill. Yet the tribe not only believes that has happened in this election but happens in nearly all elections!

I'm not moderate myself, actually. But I do see many tribal moderates. Fair and balanced false equivalent folks.

Boonton is your typical tribal leftist. HRC repudiates everything he cares about, but here he is debating against johnson voters/non-voters about how his plan to elect a corrupt, criminal, dynastic billionaire will do anything about what he pretends to care about. The truth is that Boon only cares about status. He lords over the libertarians here because they lose politics by virtue of the politics that pay, aka Krugman et al. supporting any government expansion because it comes with power, prestige, and wealth.

There is no free market politiciab this election, so he does his next "serious person" schtick, which is pretend that the average good hearted American, aka Trump and his supporters, will nuke someone.

If I am for Trump, I need someone to invent some reason why constant compulsive lying is no problem at all, and is even highly preferable to what the other candidate does. This article serves that purpose very well. Trump supporters must feel very indebted to Tyler Cowen.

Learn to read! The whole point is that the hypocrite is better (for public life) than the liar.

I can read. It's you who doesn't write clearly. I mean, you usually do, in most articles you write. But in this one here, I couldn't figure out for the life of me what it was you were trying to say-- if indeed, you had a main point at all.

Here, for example "Talking about the lies of the lying agent may help that agent win popularity, by turning voter attention to the “lies vs. hypocrisy” framing rather than “experience vs. incompetence.” The lying agent has at least some chance in the former battle, but not much in the latter."

Even if you do think hypocrites are better for public life, the above statement seems calculated to get people to stop talking about Trump's non-stop lying. However, if people realized Trump was lying, then maybe they'd be less worshiping of him and maybe they'd no longer support him. Trump supporters also see lack of experience as a wonderful thing, which is the reason many of his supporters have for supporting him. If people followed that advice of yours, I think it would help Trump, not hurt him as you claim.

Perhaps your assistance to the Trump campaign is not hypocritical, but is naive and unintentional. Just because you don't realize you are giving advice that would help the Trump campaign, doesn't mean you aren't doing so.

I think I've lost the mental bandwidth for this election. As numerous others have pointed out above, there is no equivalence between the two candidates, and any attempt to equate them rings hollow. Donald Trump is the manifestation of a society that is proud of its ignorance and not of America. If I didn't have to live here, I'd say good riddance, let us have the strongman so many clearly want and that we probably deserve.

Insight from The 26th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony:

Being a clinical psychologist, I really like the US presidential elections. I mean, both Clinton and Trump have been called pathological liars. But what does that mean? When does one become a pathological liar? In order to define lying as pathological, you first need to know the normal rate of lying. And so we asked a thousand people to honestly tell us how often they lie; people lie on average 2.2 times a day. Old people are the most honest of all, and I'm glad to see so many honest people here on the stage tonight. So our study tells that if Clinton and Trump lie one to five times a day, they're just average liars like all of us.

Trump certainly lies more than 5X per day.

I have to take issue with the idea that liars know they are lying and hypocrites don't. If this idea is taken seriously, then I don't know what to say other than you are probably an idiot and can simply be dismissed that way. Simply stated, all hypocrites are liars (the lie is often inferred through proclamation of the virtue), but not all liars are hypocrites. Some few liars start to believe their lies, but the vast majority don't ever believe their own lies, and I seriously doubt there is any difference between hypocrites and other classes of liars.

Most hypocrisies are harmless outside the political realm, and you can divide all hypocrisies between those where the virtue/s proclaimed are beneficial to society and where they aren't (mostly those where it is still open to debate). To give an example, a priest who preaches the evils pedophilia while being an active pedophile is a hypocrite, but the hypocrisy itself is largely harmless to society since the virtue is thought worthy of proclamation by a vast majority of the population- the harm comes from the pedophile's action, not the false virtue he advances.

To give another example of hypocrisy to use as a counter, consider Clinton's proclamation for equal gender pay, but that it has been shown her own campaign is paying men more than the women on her staff for similar positions- definitely hypocritical, but in this case it is still debatable whether or not this is a virtue worth adhering to in first place. A similar example is a global warming activist jetting around the globe, or living in a 25,000 square foot mansion attached to the grid- it is still debatable whether or not the proclaimed virtue is beneficial, so the act of jetting and residence choice may or may not be harmful- a skeptic in both cases would only have issue with the hypocrisy itself, the proclaimed virtue, not the personal living choices.

Which are better- general liars or hypocritical liars? To me, it depends on the underlying actions of both. Where Clinton has been pretty objectively caught lying, it is almost always a lie told for her own personal benefit and career advancement, and almost always to cover up something she knows is wrong, both ethically and legally. Most of the lies Trump has been caught in promoting are also of this category. Subjectively, I find Clinton's lies more troubling, her hypocrisies, too. Many of them occurred when she had political power- and power she used to directly harm innocent people (see travelgate for the best example), and I have no reason to expect that they will not only continue with her as president, but will grow in scope and harm. To me Trump is more of an unknown, and worth the risk- far fewer of his actions harmed people and their reputations and livelihoods.

And to clarify that last part- Trump seems to target his lies to people who are in his peer group of businessmen and politicians now. Definitely unsavory, but almost to be expected in political mudslinging.

'far fewer of his actions harmed people and their reputations and livelihoods'

Well, the number is likely lower, but Trump does like a good feud - 'Trump went to court in early 2006, claiming that he had been libeled in the book “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald,” by Timothy L. O’Brien, then a business reporter at the New York Times. The book briefly addressed Trump’s claims about his net worth, which was then, as it is now, the subject of a great deal of bluster, speculation and opacity.

O’Brien concluded that Trump was worth substantially less than what Trump publicly claimed, an assertion that prompted the business mogul to sue O’Brien and his publisher, Warner Books. He claimed harm to his business and sought $5 billion in damages.

The lawsuit is one of many that Trump has leveled at adversaries and former business partners over the years. But this one may have gone straight to the heart of Trump’s “brand.” Trump pursued it for five years, spending more than $1 million in legal fees, apparently to protect a fundamental aspect of his identity and mythos: That he is not merely very rich but clearly, most sincerely, super rich.

More than a decade later, the issue still clearly stings Trump. O’Brien, he said in an interview Tuesday, “is a whack job, a total nut job . . . one of the sleaziest people I’ve ever done business with. He wrote a book knowing it was totally false. He didn’t know what the assets were, and he disregarded their value. He really did set out with the intent to harm.”

To Trump’s great exasperation, O’Brien showed that there are good reasons to doubt Trump’s assertion that he was worth “five to six billion” dollars in 2005. (In a campaign-disclosure form filed in July, Trump claimed he is now worth more than $10 billion.) Based on documents and interviews with Trump and his associates, O’Brien estimated that Trump had inflated his bankroll as much as 20 times over. Subtracting debts and other liabilities, O’Brien says, Trump’s net worth was pegged at $150 million to $250 million, based on estimates by people with direct knowledge of Trump’s finances.'

And here is Trump explaining why he filed suit against an author - 'Trump said in an interview that he knew he couldn’t win the suit but brought it anyway to make a point. “I spent a couple of bucks on legal fees, and they spent a whole lot more. I did it to make his life miserable, which I’m happy about.”

To give another example of hypocrisy to use as a counter, consider Clinton’s proclamation for equal gender pay, but that it has been shown her own campaign is paying men more than the women on her staff for similar positions- definitely hypocritical, but in this case it is still debatable whether or not this is a virtue worth adhering to in first place. A similar example is a global warming activist jetting around the globe, or living in a 25,000 square foot mansion attached to the grid- it is still debatable whether or not the proclaimed virtue is beneficial, so the act of jetting and residence choice may or may not be harmful- a skeptic in both cases would only have issue with the hypocrisy itself, the proclaimed virtue, not the personal living choices.

Doesn't quite work for me as a good definition. Consider the Civil Rights movement in the 60's. It argued for an end to discrimination and advancement for African-Americans. Sounds good but what if I told you their records show they paid high end lawyers and lobbyists big bucks and almost all of those people were white men? Hypocritical? Perhaps but if you were a Civil Rights group in the 60's you probably needed the help of some great lawyers and powerful lobbyists and the fact simply was that was a population almost entirely made up of white men. Ditto for the 'jet setting' global warming activist. Would it release less carbon if he sailed to international speeches instead of flying? Sure but the effect of that is he would give maybe one speech per year while anti-warming activists would be free to jet off to twenty events every month.

On the more personal level, Executives all the time tell their employees the company must find ways to cut costs, but they they fly off to meetings which cost thousands of dollars compared to an email or phone call. Hypocritical? I don't think so, the Executive is simply recognizing that while cost cutting is a good thing for the company, sometimes money has to be spent. If that means flying to meet clients around the country then it isn't hypocritical to do that while at the same time the employees may get fewer free lunches at the home office.

Wow, Boonton, amazing what you can do. White people supporting the civil rights movement by paying mostly other white people to take the cases to court is probably hypocrisy. Well done! That is surely identical to Clinton advocating equal pay for equal work, and doing differently in her own campaign. That you can't seem to divine the difference isn't shocking given most of your other arguments I see here.

Like Tyler wrote, at least pretend to think about it.

What exactly is your case for Clinton not paying equal pay for equal work? Are you talking about basic jobs like people working phone banks or are you talking about upper crust campaign managers and advisors?

I wonder why the author does not come outright and say that he prefers Trump to Hillary rather than going through all these convoluted arguments to only implicitly declare his preference in order to retain his credentials as an impartial intellectual who judges on the basis of reason alone.

You should read some of the comments above- they claim Cowen is trying to hide his preference for Hillary.

On balance, though- I find Trump to be more of a hypocrite (why a lot of Republicans dislike him- they think he advocates positions he doesn't really believe in) and less of a general liar, and Clinton the reverse. And on the general lying, I find Trump's probable lies more along the lines of the white variety (probably self-serving, but not covering up illegalities), and Clinton's more venal, and in the cover-up variety.

Cowen's recent post that dug up the cattle futures case signals his preference very clearly.

Of course no one knows what's in his head, and you could be right. I doubt it though.

Tabarrok's signature is hostility to the police. Cowen, Tabarrok, Caplan, and Sumner are all advocates of open borders. Sumner was in a state of apoplexy over Brexit. For all their self-advertised libertarianism, neither Cowen nor Tabarrok ever offer a critique of employment discrimination law and Sumner seems baffled by the notion you might critique it on libertarian grounds.(Instead it's masses of text on occupational licensure, FDA procedures, and monetary policy nostrums) Neither Cowen nor Tabarrok have anything to say about the corruptions and stupidities of contemporary academe or the judiciary and Sumner's remarks on the former are brief and pro forma and on the latter non-existent. Cowen is on the record as saying he'll 'miss' the current incumbent. Cowen's favorite Republican opinion journalist is Bruce Bartlett and Corey Robin can count on links and pointers and kudos.

Why would you think these characters are not in Hlligula's corner?

The principle difference is intent. A liar knowingly states falsehoods, a hypocrite claims to hold positions or beliefs s/he does not agree with. If the hypocrite does so knowingly, then s/he is also a liar. If we allow "knowingly" to include "what a reasonable, intelligent person SHOULD have known (how do we determine that??)", then most hypocrites are liars. They say everyone lies when they feel the need to protect themselves, their family, or friends. Clinton clearly is no exception. Trump appears to be a pathological liar; that is, he lies not just defensively, but offensively (and much much worse, blatantly). I expect Trump to lose by a landslide (when you get right down to it, I'm a romantic optimist), but if he wins, I expect little good to come of it, while the chances for ill will have increased by one or two orders of magnitude.

Weird to contextualize bullshitting about building a wall and forcing a perceived submissive nation to pay for it as a "lie" people in the know can see through as opposed to a more menacing and toxic message. People are not opposing Trump because he is a simply a bullshit artist. They see something more sinister in his message. I don't think the election is about a liar vs a hypocrite.

Agree, it's not about liar vs. hypocrite. It's about Trump using the same strategy that every president who has been successfully elected for the last 30 years has used: claim to be some kind of outsider who is going to come in and shake things up, and change things, and solve problems in some radically new way. Of course, those are promises used to win elections-- not what presidents actually do when elected. And it's about Trump using the same strategy the GOP is currently using to dominate everything except the presidency-- both Houses of Congress, most state legislatures, most governorships, and SCOTUS until Scalia died-- bashing government, especially Democrats in government, and then claiming to be the outsider riding in on a white horse to rescue the people from the Evil Government. Riding in on a very white horse, LOL.

"Millennials have a special dislike of hypocrisy."

Of course they do. They're young and naive and think that hypocrites are rare and unusually awful.

I developed this earlier but let me try to refine it to directly address Tyler's post:

Hypocrisy is a type of double taxation. The hypocrite wants to impose some principle undesirable on someone else while at the same time demanding respect/praise/honor for abiding by that principle when he in fact does not.

The known drug addict who tells people "don't mess around with drugs, they will ruin your life" does not feel very offensive as a hypocrite. He is speaking from experience and even if we want to use drugs we don't feel annoyed as much by his warning. But what if our high school DARE officer whose been lecturing us all year about drugs is himself caught smoking crack? This makes us angry. The officer had demanded we listen to his preaching, which we didn't want, AND at the same time symbolically bow down to him as a drug free individual. It may be one thing to ask for the first but asking for both is too much.

In international relations and some political back and forth, hypocrisy is tolerated mostly because we are not the victims of it. We may tell the EU to drop their trade barriers and stop protecting their farmers from international competition. The EU may turn around and note that we have plenty of protectionist policies ourselves but this doesn't create the same type of anger. The second part of the equation isn't really present. Even though the US may preach free trade to the EU, it isn't really asking the EU to reward America for being non-protectionist. There is no international reward for the most non-protectionist nation that we are trying to strong arm the EU for their vote. In fact the transaction may be doubly beneficial. The US can say to its interests "see how we fight to open markets for you" while the EU says to their protected interests "see the heat we take on your behalf". Since EU farmers don't vote in US elections and vice versa there's no 'double taxation' at play.

Almost 200 comments and no one has mentioned Harry Frankfurt's canonical text on this election - "On Bullshit"

Trump portrays the idea that he will lie for you.He will lie to China and the world for you. He is the dishonest lawyer who offers to represent you.

On Iraq the voters really want a tough talkin republican who was against invading from the beginning, Trump said I can play that role even if I was not against Iraq.

In my mind, the defining character attribute that disqualifies him for the office that he seeks is his incessant bullying of others. Lying is just a part of his being a bully.

We do not need saints as Presidents, but we do not need bullies in the What House either.

Don't worry, soon the bully of others will leave the White House.

Most liars try for consistency, but when everything is a lie and every lie is contradicted, who knows what to believe? Only that they don't believe in anything other than themselves and what's best for them. .

I wrote a book about this many years ago!

Also - chapters on hypocrisy and cruelty in Judith Shklar's Ordinary Vices v good on this topic. I like Sissela Bok's Lying even while completely disagreeing with it on almost every count!

I believe Trump, like Obama, deceived no one. None of their positions were plausible to anyone with even half a brain. Trump will build a wall - if you believe that, you probably also believe that Obama can change the entire health care system, for everybody, without changing it for anybody. You probably also believe Trump can lower the wages - to help businesses - and at the same time increase wages - to help workers.

These are not promises - we should interpret them as venting. Obama is pissed off at the health insurance companies. Trump is angry at something - likely, the latest thing he saw on Twitter, or watched on TV, or read in the Enquirer. I will say this for Obama - at least we knew what he was angry at, and he stayed that way for the duration of his two terms - the Jews, Republicans, anyone who makes a profit, anyone who works but is not in the union, cops, southerner Christians, etc. With Trump - God knows who he will be angry tomorrow. I will say this for Trump, though - whoever he is angry at, he will write a twit about it, then likely do nothing.

I believe Trump, like Obama, deceived no one. None of their positions were plausible to anyone with even half a brain. Trump will build a wall – if you believe that, you probably also believe that Obama can change the entire health care system, for everybody, without changing it for anybody

These seem like apples and oranges here. Say what you want about Obamacare but it was well designed to meet the goals of increasing coverage without dramatically changing things for people who already have coverage. Given how complicated our health system is in the US, it is probably one of the best designs to accomplish those two goals. And objectively we see an increase in coverage without an increase in cost (anecdotes about premium increases and cancelled plans aside, big picture is that many of those things happened year in year out anyway). Now you can say those goals aren't so important, perhaps it would be more efficient to uproot the system for all of us in order to lay down a better design or maybe just leave everything as is...but if you think those two goals are good things then Obamacare is a plausible policy that works and it would probably be very difficult to come up with anything better if you think those two goals are paramount.

Now contrast that to Trump's assertion that the Iraq War was a mistake AND we should 'take their oil'. Oil isn't sitting on the surface of the ground but underground and to take Iraq's oil would mean our troops would have to be manning oil wells for maybe another 100 years while at the same time fending off suicide bombers and terrorists hyped up on rhetoric about Christians stealing Muslim's oil. This doesn't even make sense at a grade school level.

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