Machiavelli advised princes to be both lion and fox and we are all too aware that to judge a book by its cover is naive at best if not dangerous. But is it fair to demand that we wear our hearts on our moral sleeves? If a man be brave on the day who cares if he’s a knave by night? Do we really have to say only what we mean and mean what we say? Can’t we lead private lives very different from how we appear in public? And shouldn’t that privacy be respected? If so, what place for public condemnation of immoral individuals? Is what you think right or should you think what is right?
Introduced by Dolan Cummings, associate fellow, Academy of Ideas; editor, Culture Wars; editor, Debating Humanism; co-founder, Manifesto Club
Born this way?
"The rules of the game at The Battle of Ideas makes beating about the bush impossible. When you are given 5 minutes to make your point, you either say something essential, or you reveal that you have nothing really to say. This eliminates 'the unbearable lightness' of speculation that haunts public debate."
Albena Azmanova, social philosopher, political commentator and activist