"You know, when I was a young man, hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices. ... It was all because of moral relativism. You see, in that sort of a climate, you are not allowed to criticize others--after all, if there is no absolute right and wrong, then what grounds are there for criticism? This led to a good deal of general frustration, for people are naturally censorious and love nothing better than to criticize one another's shortcomings. And so it was that they seized on hypocrisy and elevated it from a ubiquitous peccadillo into the monarch of all vices. For, you see, even if there is no right and wrong, you can find grounds to criticise another person by contrasting what he has espoused with what he has actually done. In this case, you are not making any judgment whatsoever as to the correctness of his views or the morality of his behaviour--you are merely pointing out that he has said one thing and done another.
"... Because they were hypocrites, the Victorians were despised in the late twentieth century. Many of the persons who held such opinions were, of course, guilty of outlandish conduct themselves, and yet saw no paradox in holding such views because they were not hypocrites themselves--they took no moral stances and lived by none. So they were morally superior to the Victorians even though--in fact, because--they had no moral standards at all."
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