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Oct 10, 2018

Trump says he opposed the war in Iraq, but in fact said he supported it in an obscure interview in 2004. McCain was for the tax cuts before he was against them. Republicans say they’re Christians, yet support a philandering liar. Hypocrisy takedowns – which reached peak popularity during the heyday of The Daily Show – have been the bread and butter of liberal discourse for years.

Gawker founder Nick Denton famously said that “Hypocrisy was the only modern sin”––doctrine-driven ideologies had been replaced by the nihilistic ersatz ideology of not contradicting oneself. Consistency, even in the service of nothing and in defense of power, was the highest moral achievement.

But as outright lying and contradiction were not only ignored but embraced by Trumpism, this worldview began to lose any remaining purchase. And as the emptiness of this approach grew more stark, a new generation of politically engaged people sought out traditional ideologies based on first principles, on the left this broadly manifested as a resurgence of socialism, which offered an alternative to the self-contained cult of self-satisfaction.

On today's episode, we discuss the limits of hypocrisy-as-critique, when it can still be useful and why never contradicting oneself is often evidence more of cowardice than principle.

Our guest is Roqayah Chamseddine.