Unbridled evil can be intoxicating—just look at the television shows that captivate us. The unapologetic confessions of Walter White, Don Draper, and Frank Underwood force an addictive complicity that compels us to overlook all manner of sin: deceit, infidelity, murder. The vicarious thrill of simulated evil is disconcertingly enjoyable.
Whenever army chiefs don gaudy epaulettes and oversized shades, democracy’s death is sure to follow. Perhaps there is only one autocratic accessorizer for those with dictatorial designs.
It’s been a great year for the papacy. Pope Francis—the Christ-like Catholic leader recently christened as TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year—awes the world and reinvigorates the hopes of a flagging flock.
Suddenly, Catholicism is not seen with the same vitriol that it has usually prompted. Francis, the first Jesuit to serve as the Holy Father, took as his namesake Saint Francis of Assisi, the ascetic who adopted a life of poverty and penitence in accordance with Jesus’ message. As much as the life of the original Francis might be obscured in hagiographies, the current Francis’ zealous commitment to asceticism is apparent to us all.
How fun that members of a Senate that recently required a nuclear option to resuscitate itself are the chiders-in-chief of the breakthrough deal with Iran. Or that the only country to engage in nuclear warfare and that kept its nuclear launch codes set to “00000000" for 20 years leads world discussions on nuclear responsibility.
But hypocrisy in international relations is a field as fertile as any Afghan pomegranate orchard (with just as many land mines).