Hypocrisy is Normal

NY Review of Books – Jefferson’s Concubine

Thomas Jefferson was a hypocrite – no getting around that. But hypocrisy is part of normal human behavior.

Growing up in a religious family, my childhood was saturated with it. And I flattered myself by thinking I was above that sort of thing.

But when I was sixty, for heavens sake – I indulged in some deceptive behavior myself. I found myself in a relationship with an ugly woman – and not once did I ask myself “Why are you with this woman?” Delores was thrilled that an attractive, successful man was interested in her – and assumed this interest was sexual. To her surprise, and mine – we discovered I was not interested in sex – not at all. You may not classify this as deception, or hypocrisy – but it was something close to it.

To return to our American friend Jefferson. In his time, he was seen for what he was – a complicated, self-contradictory person – nothing unusual.

But as the American mind got simpler – it could not cope with him.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s