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Blupete's Weekly Commentary


June 3rd, 2001.

"Cant & Hypocrisy."

"He is a hypocrite who professes what he does not believe; not he who does not practice all he wishes or approves. ... If any one really despised what he affected outwardly to admire, this would be hypocrisy. If he affected to admire it a great deal more than he really did, this would be cant. ... There is a cant about Shakespear. There is a cant about Political Economy just now. In short, there is and must be a cant about everything that excites a considerable degree of attention and interest, and that people would be thought to know and care rather more about them than they actually do. Cant is the voluntary overcharging or prolongation of a real sentiment; hypocrisy is the setting up a pretension to a feeling you never had and have no wish for. There are people who are made up of cant, that is of mawkish affectation and sensibility; but who have not sincerity enough to be hypocrites, that is, have not hearty dislike or contempt enough for anything, to give the lie to their puling professions of admiration and esteem for it."

(Hazlitt, "On Cant and Hypocrisy.")

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Peter Landry

June, 2001 (2011)