David Runciman has written a clever book. He seeks to show that hypocrisy is an essential part of political life. The main part of his work is an analysis of the views about political hypocrisy held by a range of thinkers running from Hobbes and Mandeville through Bentham and Trollope to Orwell. He also seeks to draw lessons for modern politics and politicians from the insights and philosophical approaches of these chosen thinkers.
Runciman suggests that Trollope, the novelist with the least philosophical background, has the most penetrating insights into the nature of political hypocrisy. He also shows considerable sympathy for the amusing views of Mandeville, who shocked his contemporaries and successive generations, while he argues rather more over what Hobbes and Bentham