Is it unethical to pretend to be ethical when you are not? Wouldn’t it be better to act in your true nature, even if said nature is inherently unethical?
I dig what you’re trying to do here. You’re trying to create an equation wherein the conclusion contradicts the premise: “If we agree that the ethical man is honest, the man must act in a manner that reflects that honesty, even if his honest reaction is to act unethically.” (This is a little like asking if an all-powerful God could create a rock he couldn’t lift.) Unfortunately, your logic is off. Ethical behavior is not an inherent human quality. There is nothing natural about internalizing a collective framework for how people should operate within a culture. It’s learned behavior.
If you walk into a bakery, your natural impulse might be to gobble every cookie in the store and walk out without paying a penny. If you choose instead to purchase only one cookie and thank the girl behind the counter when she gives you your change, you could argue that you w1ere merely pretending to act like a civilized person and that your actions contradict your motives. The outside world, however, is not necessarily interested in the authenticity of your motives. Behaving ethically is the process of separating yourself from whatever your “true nature” desires and accepting that the world involves people who are not you.
- Chuck Klosterman