William Bennett is a Hypocrite
On the other hand, hypocrisy is the virtue that makes it possible for moral ideals to surpass current practice. For example, from The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson:
“Because they were hypocrites,” Finkle-McGraw said, after igniting his calabash and shooting a few tremendous fountains of smoke into the air, “the Victorians were despised in the late twentieth century. Many of the persons who held such opinions were, of course, guilty of the most nefarious 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…” Major Napier said, still a bit snowed under.
“…even though—in fact, because—they had no morals at all.” There was a moment of silent, bewildered head-shaking around the copper table.
“We take a somewhat different view of hypocrisy,” Finkle-McGraw continued. “In the late-twentieth-century Weltanschauung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception—he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course, most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it's a spirit-is-willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing.”
“That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code,” Major Napier said, working it through, “does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code.”
“Of course not,” Finkle-McGraw said. “It's perfectly obvious, really. No one ever said that it was easy to hew to a strict code of conduct. Really, the difficulties involved—the missteps we make along the way—are what make it interesting. The internal, and eternal struggle, between our base impulses and the rigorous demands of our own moral system is quintessentially human. It is how we conduct ourselves in that struggle that determines how we may in time be judged by a higher power.”
Another way of looking at this is to recall that hypocrisy made it possible for Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence.