diumenge, 10 de gener del 2021

Unspoken agreement


The debacle of Buckley's and Wambaugh's testimony illustrates a truth that many of us learn as children: the invariable inefficacy of the "Don't blame me, everybody does it" defense. Society mediates between the extremes of, on the one hand, intolerably strict morality and, on the other, dangerously anarchic permissiveness through an unspoken agreement whereby we are given leave to bend the rules of the strictest morality, provided we do so quietly and discreetly. Hypocrisy is the grease that keeps society functioning in an agreeable way, by allowing for human fallibility and reconciling the seemingly irreconcilable human needs for order and pleasure. When Buckley and Wambaugh said bluntly that it’s all right to deceive subjects, they breached the contract whereby you never come right out and admit you have stretched the rules for your own benefit. You do it and shut up about it, and hope you don’t get caught, because if you are caught no one —or no one who has any sense— will come forward and say he has done the same thing himself.


Janet Malcolm, The journalist and the murderer.