Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Hypocrisy

"There is a false modesty, which is vanity; a false glory which is levity; a false grandeur, which is meanness; a false virtue, which is hypocrisy, and a false wisdom, which is prudery." - Jean de La Bruyère

"No task is more difficult than systematic hypocrisy." -

"Hypocrisy is folly. It is much easier, safer, and pleasanter to be the thing which a man aims to appear, than to keep up the appearance of what he is not." - Richard Cecil

"Ostentation is the signal flag of hypocrisy. The charlatan is verbose and assumptive; the Pharisee is ostentatious, because he is a hypocrite. Pride is the master sin of the Devil; and the Devil is the father of lies." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"Affectation proceeds from one of these two causes - vanity or hypocrisy; for as vanity puts us on affecting false characters, in order to purchase applause; so hypocrisy sets us on an endeavor to avoid censure, by concealing our vices under an appearance of their opposite virtues." - Henry Fielding

"The first virtue of all really great men is that they are sincere. They eradicate hypocrisy from their hearts. They bravely unveil their weaknesses, their doubts, their defects. They are courageous. They boldly ride a-tilt against prejudices. They love their fellow-men profoundly. They are generous. They allow their hearts to expand. They have compassion for all forms of suffering. Pity is the very foundation-stone of Genius." - Anatole France, pen name of Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault

"Servility is to devotion what hypocrisy is to virtue." - Madame Émile de Girardin, Delphine de Girardin, née Gay

"Courage and modesty are the most unequivocal of virtues, for they are of a kind that hypocrisy cannot imitate; they too have this quality in common, that they are expressed by the same color." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Hypocrisy is the necessary burden of villainy." -

"Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practice; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions, without having yet obtained the victory; as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others those attempts which he neglects himself." -

"Never to talk of oneself is a form of hypocrisy." -

"The hypocrite's crime is that he bears false witness against himself. What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all vices except this one." - Lionel Trilling

"If it were not for the intellectual snobs who pay - in solid cash - the tribute which philistinism owes to culture, the arts would perish with their starving practitioners. Let us thank heaven for hypocrisy." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Prudery is the hypocrisy of modesty." -

"It is very noble hypocrisy not to talk of one's self." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"It is not just negative inertia and caution which lie behind racial discrimination, but the positive counterfaiths which produce them. The “conflicting valuations” turn out to be a warfare of the gods in the soul of man. Ultimately the racial problem is not one of hypocrisy but idolatry." - Waldo Beach, fully William Waldo Beach

"A great many people do many things that seem to be inspired more by a spirit of ostentation than by heartfelt kindness… Such a pose is nearer akin to hypocrisy than to generosity or moral goodness." -

"The historical Jesus has a different category of sins from that of the Old Testament or of Paul or of ecclesiastical writers after him. The sins which occupied the attention of Jesus were hypocrisy, wordliness, intolerance, and selfishness. The sins which occupy the principal attention of the Church… are impurity, murder, the drinking of alcohol, swearing, the neglect of the Church’s services and ordinances." - Robert Keable

"Who can tell where sincerity merges with humility, and where it folds itself over and becomes hypocrisy, and where it touches self-righteousness." -

"Children who are closer to their birth, and thus to the experience of oneness, rightly reject hypocrisy." - Vimalia McClure

"Democracy without education is hypocrisy without limitation." - Iskander Mirza, fully Major-General Sahibzada Sayyid Iskander Ali Mirza

"All is pure hypocrisy, which does not come from the heart, and so accustom the people to cultivate love to God and to their neighbors and to act from it as a motive." - P. J. Spener, fully Philipp Jakob Spener

"Politeness. The most acceptable hypocrisy." - Ambrose Gwinett Bierce

"A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy." - Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield

"Human life is thus only a perpetual illusion; men deceive and flatter each other. No one speaks of us in our presence as he does of us in our absence. Human society is founded on mutual deceit; few friendships would endure if each knew what his friend said of him in his absence, although he then spoke in sincerity and without passion. Man is, then, only disguise, falsehood, and hypocrisy, both in himself and in regard to others. He does not wish any one to tell him the truth; he avoids telling it to others, and all these dispositions, so removed from justice and reason, have a natural root in his heart. I set it down as a fact that if all men know what each said to the other, there would not be four friends in the world." - Blaise Pascal

"Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises; for never intending to go beyond promises; it costs nothing." - Edmund Burke

"Our laws make law impossible; our liberties destroy all freedom; our property is organized robbery; our morality an impudent hypocrisy; our wisdom is administered by inexperienced or mal-experienced dupes; our power wielded by cowards and weaklings; and our honor false in all its points. I am an enemy of the existing order for good reasons." - George Bernard Shaw

"The best brought-up children are those who have seen their parents as they are. Hypocrisy is not the parents first duty." - George Bernard Shaw

"Cant is the twin sister of hypocrisy." - Henry Ward Beecher

"In politics, religion is now a name; in art, a hypocrisy or affectation." - John Ruskin

"To be modest in speaking truth is hypocrisy." - Kahlil Gibran

"The greatest superstition now entertained by public men is that hypocrisy is the royal road to success." - Robert Ingersoll, fully Robert Green "Bob" Ingersoll

"Hypocrisy is a Sort of Homage, that Vice pays to Virtue." - Thomas Fuller

"As hypocrisy is said to be the highest compliment to virtue, the art of lying is the strongest acknowledgment of the force of truth." - William Hazlitt

"The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy." - William Hazlitt

"There is one virtue in almost every vice except hypocrisy; and even that, while it is a mockery of virtue, is, at the same time, a compliment to it." - William Hazlitt

"Want of principle is power. Truth and honesty set a limit to our efforts, which impudence and hypocrisy easily overleap." - William Hazlitt

"Cant is the voluntary overcharging or prolongation of a real sentiment; hypocrisy is the setting up a pretension to a feeling you never had an have no wish for." - William Hazlitt

"A great many people do many things that seem to be inspired more by a spirit of ostentation than by heartfelt kindness… Such a pose is nearer akin to hypocrisy than to generosity or moral goodness. " - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"Absolute honesty is essential in one's search for God (Truth). The subtleties of the Path are finer than a hair. The least hypocrisy becomes a wave that washes one off the Path. It is your false self that keeps you away from your true Self by every trick it knows. In the guise of honesty this self even deceives itself. For instance your self claims, I love Baba. The fact is, if you really loved Baba you would not be your false self making the self-asserting statement!" - Meher Baba, born Merwan Sheriar Irani

"An ounce of hypocrisy is worth a pound of ambition." - Michael Korda

"Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"In each human heart terror survives The ravin it has gorged: the loftiest fear All that they would disdain to think were true: Hypocrisy and custom make their minds The fanes of many a worship, now outworn. They dare not devise good for man’s estate, And yet they know not that they do not dare." - Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Is it my fault if belief in Divinity has become a suspected opinion; if the bare suspicion of a Supreme Being is already noted as evidence of a weak mind; and if, of all philosophical Utopias, this is the only one which the world no longer tolerates? Is it my fault if hypocrisy and imbecility everywhere hide behind this holy formula?" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

"Hate begets hate, violence engenders violence, hypocrisy is answered by hypocrisy, war generates war, and love creates love." - Pitirim A. Sorokin, fully Pitirim Alexandrovich (Alexander) Sorokin

"Because hypocrisy stinks in the nostrils one is likely to rate it as a more powerful agent for destruction" - Rebecca West, pen name of Mrs. Cicily Maxwell Andrews, born Fairfield, aka Dame Rebecca West

"The inevitable hypocrisy, which is associated with the all the collective activities of the human race, springs chiefly from this source: that individuals have a moral code which makes the actions of collective man an outrage to their conscience. They therefore invent romantic and moral interpretations of the real facts, preferring to obscure rather than reveal the true character of their collective behavior. Sometimes they are as anxious to offer moral justifications for the brutalities from which they suffer as for those which they commit. The fact that the hypocrisy of man's group behavior... expresses itself not only in terms of self-justification but in terms of moral justification of human behavior in general, symbolizes one of the tragedies of the human spirit: its inability to conform its collective life to its individual ideals. As individuals, men believe they ought to love and serve each other and establish justice between each other. As racial, economic and national groups they take for themselves, whatever their power can command." - Reinhold Niebuhr, fully Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr

"This insinuation of the interests of the self into even the most ideal enterprises and most universal objectives, envisaged in moments of highest rationality, makes hypocrisy an inevitable by product of all virtuous endeavor." - Reinhold Niebuhr, fully Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr

"As a man loves gold, in that proportion he hates to be imposed upon by counterfeits; and in proportion as a man has regard for that which is above price and better than gold, he abhors that hypocrisy which is but its counterfeit." - Richard Cecil