Why emperors should wear clothes

Glenn Greenwald aptly points out that Trump’s embrace of Egyptian tyrant el-Sisi is not a departure from but an unmasking of US policy that was perpetuated even by Obama. But I take issue with his equation of Trump and Obama on this issue. La Rochefoucauld said “hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue,” and this tribute should not be under-valued: hypocrisy cedes the moral high ground, which leaves open the possibility of persuading or shaming the hypocrite (or those influenced by the surrounding discourse) to change ways. The great danger of Trump’s naked embrace of power is the delegitimatizing of any values with which to argue against power.


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