Don't raise your voice here. This is a sacred place. Now, you may not believe it and I may not believe it, but my God it's a useful hypocrisy.
— Linton Barwick, on the Mediation Room of the United Nations, In the Loop
Leaders, especially ones for ideologically motivated organizations, are expected to have the ultimate dedication to this cause. Be they a Well-Intentioned Extremist, Knight Templar, or even Dark Messiah, this leader dedicates themselves to a cause and is willing to die for it, and at times suggests that the end justifies the means.
Then there's the Straw Hypocrite. This villain (and it usually is a villain) will exhibit their dastardly plot and expose their "good" cause as a smokescreen to some hidden agenda that the villain has. If this happens, then it may be part of revealing the Evil Plan or the hero discovering it on his own, but often it is to show just how flawed their painted-on ideology is. Any Gullible Lemmings or Black Shirts who worship or follow them will quickly disperse or switch sides.
Unlike a regular Hypocrite, whose behavior fails to square with his or her publicly expressed (and sincerely held) moral standards due to ordinary human weakness, the Straw Hypocrite does not actually believe in their cause in the slightest and merely uses it as a cover to another end. An Author On Board might even use the straw hypocrite to discredit the cause they're championing as nothing more than a boat for the evil to commandeer. In this case, they are a Straw hypocrite in the sense that they are not true believers and sometimes used as a Strawman Political for an author. Unfortunately, by exposing the character as disloyal to their cause, the author fails to properly address the cause itself.
The Straw Hypocrite is not always a tool for an Author Tract, though: well written, a Straw Hypocrite can make a great Magnificent Bastard. Sometimes, his existence will be a used by an author who does not want to take sides in an argument; in this case, the ideology, philosophy, religion, or cause the Straw Hypocrite seems to embrace is not in itself "evil" or worthless, and the author may even allow a more idealistic/honest character to take over the political/religious/philosophical organization after the demise of the straw hypocrite to show that they just needed a leader who actually believes what he says. Finally, if the Straw Hypocrite is in an organization that is unquestionably evil (such as the Nazi Party) it can be shown that Even Evil Has Standards or set up a Conspiracy Redemption.
Depending on one's level of cynicism, of course, this may be regarded as Truth in Television.
Compare Straw Traitor. May be used as part of a Debate and Switch. An important leadership position in the Path of Inspiration or Scam Religion. Very common with Knight Templar types, to argue that the high standard they set is impossible (though ordinary Hypocrites are arguably even more common).
Ali Al-Saachez of Gundam 00 created an army of child soldiers and convinced them to kill their families and overthrow the government in the name of God. Here's the kicker—Ali's an atheist mercenary who doesn't believe in God. Having been paid to create an army for one of Krugis' rebel factions, he turned to religion because it was the easiest way of controlling the kids.
His son Lelouch co-opts the goal of the Japanese resistance of self-liberation against Britannia as a means of revenge against hisfather and create a gentler world for his sister, Nunnally. Subverted in that he finds that he really wants to liberate the world from Britannia's tyrannical and expansionist policy.
In Digimon Frontier :Island of the Lost Digimon. The human and beast digimon are at war with each other, and both sides have a leader of their respective side, who are in fact the same digimon who can slide digivolve into human and beast form. His ultimate plan is to have both sides kill each other so he can collect as many digi-eggs to revive an ancient digimon to conquer the digital world.
In in the second Naruto movie, has the main antagonist Haido. At first glance he seems like a humble man whose main goal is to gather the Gelel stones in order to create a utopia devoid of war. But he's really just a power hungry warlord who wants to rule the world and use the stones to wipe out anyone who gets in his way.
Maria: How befitting of a holy man such as yourself. How can we possibly lift up the name of Elianto when his own Archbishop is so morally corrupt.
Vaticus: No…don't tell me…you actually think I believe in all that rubbish! This position, Archbishop; this was only a stepping stone on my way to the top. Everything I said, every charity I funded; I didn't mean any of it. I didn't care for any of it. I simply needed the people on my side.
Families: Olive Branch stirs up the general populace's fear and doubt in Celestia's leadership following the changeling invasion (as well as taking advantage of the Fantastic Racism aimed at her "pet dragon" Spike), claiming that she's no longer fit to rule, just so that he and his lieutenants can take over. Going even further, what even his closest minions don't know is that even that isn't his true goal — he just wants Celestia to make him immortal. Once his various hypocrisies are exposed, his conspiracy falls apart.
The leaders of Libria in Equilibrium preach that Prozium, an emotion-inhibiting drug, would save humanity from having another World War. They aren't on it, however. The head of the government is revealed to indulge in art and literature that would get regular citizens executed.
Ultraviolet had the Evil Surgeon General who hunted all vampires to near extinction with active genocide, be not just a vampire... but the first one! He manipulated public fear and hysteria to rise to power. However, he was too effective; with most of the vampires killed off, he needed something to keep people in-line. So he was working on an anti-human virus that would require constant treatment that only he could provide.
Witch Hunt, a TV movie set in the 1950s (a sequel to Cast a Deadly Spell), with the caveat that magic was real and wide spread, had as the orchestrating villain a politician who planned to use a Super Registration Act and later more fascist means to control the "magic problem" for the non-magical. Once he double crosses a magician accomplice, the magician casts a spell that makes him vomit his dark side out, which happily and angrily details his disgust for the non-magical voters being so easily swayed by fear, and how he'd slowly shift his fearmongering to other groups to keep and gain political power. In front of a live campaign speech audience. Both he and his evil vomit twin are arrested.
American History X: The Aryan Brotherhood in prison is shown to make use of racist imagery, while not actually believing in it themselves. It's left a bit ambiguous whether the alliance their leader makes with Mexican gangs is a case of Pragmatic Villainy or hypocrisy, but it's shown either way that he doesn't care about the hateful ideology he pretends to speak for.
In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka is accused of this (by Mike Teevee, no less) after Violet's "accident". He calls chewing gum "disgusting" and implied that Violet had it coming because of the bad habit, which prompts Teevee to ask why his factory produces gum if he feels that way about it. (As you might expect, Wonka quickly changes the subject, but you have to admit, Teevee's point was a valid one.)
In Andrew Vachss' Dead and Gone, the lead villain pretends to be a Nazi/White Supremacist in order to enlist the aid of a White Supremacist group to help him carry out his revenge on the anti-hero Burke, who had him sent to prison for being a pedophile. While giving his Big Villain Speech he reveals that he has been manipulating the skinheads and that he really thinks they are all retards for believing in Nazi ideology. He is unaware that Burke is broadcasting this back to his henchmen.
Lord Voldemort, of Harry Potter fame, champions the cause of pure-blooded wizards over "Mudbloods" and Muggles. By all appearances, though, he's just a sociopath trying to stave off his own death. And he himself is only a half-blood—his father was a Muggle.
He seems to have been genuinely hateful towards those groups, whether it made sense or not. Voldemort being a half-blood was probably a reference to the similar rumours about Hitler being part-Jewish.
Played for Laughs with Arthur Weasley, who works in a department of the Ministry of Magic called "Misuse of Muggle Artifacts", where they regulate the use of magic on things that muggles use. The thing is, Arthur is so obsessed with muggle stuff that he breaks the rules of his own department repeatedly; taking muggle stuff home, taking them apart, putting spells on them, putting them back together, etc. Fred and George even jokingly commented that if he ever had to raid his own house, he would have to arrest himself.
Played beautifully in Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn. Sirius makes a colony on Titan, claiming it is completely within their rights, despite the fact Earth is within the same system (there is no clear precedent). Unfortunately for them, they had trouble explaining by what right they removed an Earth colonist from another moon of Saturn, so an interstellar conference ordered them to get out.
Radio Free Albemuth's distant, unseen antagonist, president Ferris F. Fremont, uses a Joe McCarthy-esque Communist hunt to distract America from the fact that he is - in fact - a secret member of the Russian Communist party, and is selling U.S.-produced food and goods to the USSR dirt cheap.
Happens in the recent Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Outcast (no, not Jedi Outcast). The leader of the Baran Do underground movement turns out to have a few hidden elevators that can be used to get back up to the surface at any time. But what if there really were a bunch of people who liked living underground? Would Luke and Ben be justified in changing that?
In Edmond Hamilton's Star Kings, when the heroes are brought to the villain, he tells the one who brought them about how they will soon crush their oppressive enemies... Blah blah blah. After the guy leaves, he asks the hero "how did you like my little speech?", and at his amazement, explains that he's no idiot, and such speeches are only useful for mindless fanatics. But since that's the main driving force of his conquest... Well, he has no choice.
There's a pages-long speech in The Diamond Age about contrasting Straw Hypocrites with the regular Hypocrites described above (those who sincerely believe in a principle and are just too weak to live up to it.) It's partly Author Tract but entirely justified by the plot, since it's a subtle way for the Chess Master to let Hackworth know that a: his crime has been found out, and b: he can be forgiven... at a price.
In Dan Simmon's Endymion and The Rise of Endymion, the Catholic church is run by a bunch of Straw Hypocrites, until a Messianic Archetype topples them and puts some genuine believers in charge.
Live Action TV
In Battlestar Galactica, a particular scene between Cavil and Tyrol is a heaven for subtext when rewatching the series from the beginning.
Brother Cavil is posing as a human priest in the human fleet (and in the Caprica resistance), but he's actually a Cylon abusing his position to orchestrate destructive acts.
He's talking to Chief Tyrol to give him counseling and talk him down from his fear that he, like his girlfriend, is a Cylon sleeper agent. Cavil assures him he hasn't seen him in any of their super secret meetings... because Cavil reprogrammed Tyrol to forget his life as one of the five creators of Cavil and the bio-Cylon race.
Among the Cylons, Cavil advocated the destruction of humanity for its sins in enslaving the robotic Centurions, while he did just the same, and memory wiped his creators and put them in the colonies, while lying like a dog to his siblings. The war being a genocidal temper tantrum in an attempt to become the "favorite son."
On Glee Quinn is president of the celibacy club and an extreme Christian. She ends up getting pregnant by cheating on her boyfriend with his best friend.
House versus Vogler was lined with this from the start. Vogler wanted to eliminate House's department because it's by far the most expensive one in the hospital, but only treats one patient a week. House catches on to this game very quickly, and spends time exposing Volger for someone who may have noble desires but is still just a businessman looking for a new market to venture into.
House's patients sometimes espouse a cause or adopt an attitude to mask a secret, eg. an AIDS sufferer who embraces a life of hedonism to mask guilt over his part in his mother's death, an environmentalist who hides his waning enthusiasm for the cause, and, in a rare example of noble straw hypocrisy, a patient's late father who allowed his son and his black wife to believe he was a racist in order to hide a horrible secret.
On Justified Boyd is the leader of a White Supremacist group even though he really has nothing against black people. He likes to rob banks and blow things up and his position gives him access to weapons and fanatical accomplices who will not testify against him if caught. After he gets shot and his gang sent to jail, he claims to have found God and starts his own church among the low level criminals and drug addicts of the county. Both the cops and his criminal family believe that he is using this to build another criminal gang. The cops try to figure what his 'master plan' is and his family wants in on the 'action'. In the first season finale we learn that he really believed what he preached and was simply applying the same methods he used as a criminal to try to do some good in the community
Ethan Zobelle from Sons of Anarchy is initially presented as a white supremacist who is trying to run the Sons Of Anarchy out of town. His white supremacist right hand man thinks this is because they are selling guns to latino and black groups. However Zobel has no issue with dealing with said gangs - he is seen buying guns from the Mayans, a latino gang. In fact, Zobel is an FBI informant who is trying to kill the gun trade in the town altogether.
Used continually on True Blood, most often by Reverend Steve Newlin, but also a host of minor politicians and the religious faithful. In fact, nearly every character outside the immediate main cast is one kind of hypocrite or another, but most are not used as Straw Hypocrites.
Jesus He Knows Me by Genesis is about an unscrupulous televangelist:
I believe in the family with my ever loving wife beside me
but she don't know about my girlfriend or the man I met last night
Won't find me practising what I'm preaching, won't find me making no sacrifice
But I can get you a pocketful of miracles, if you promise to be good, try to be nice
God will take good care of you, just do as I say, don't do as I do
In The Adventures of Superman serial "The Clan of the Fiery Cross", the Grand Scorpion is shown, near the end of the serial, to be one of these. In his own words, "Don't tell me you actually believe that 'pure American' hogwash! Riggs, I thought you were smarter than that."
Either Averted or Subverted, but definitely twisted almost beyond recognition in Genius The Transgression: The Phenomenologists believe that whatever you believe is true, and from this principle they created a very flexible philosophy. If it's in their interests a Phenomenologist will be an extremely devout Catholic and believe every word of the Christian dogma they preach, then the next day they might be an agnostic Zen Buddhist who thinks Catholicism is mostly nice but wrong. At no time are they actually "lying". They seem to be actually incapable of comprehending why most people find this odd.
Why yes, if you have suspected, they are all completely insane.
The Directors can be like this but for them it's played straight.
One of the scenarios in the Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook Elder Evils involves the Hulks of Zoretha, five evil elemental beings from another world who have been in a dormant state resembling statues for eons. If they ever awoke, they'd attempt to "purge" the world of all other sentient beings to repopulate it with their brood. Several Apocalypse Cults among savage humanoids have formed around the Hulks, and recently, these cults have united under the leadership of a charismatic frost giant named Janwulf the Soulbiter, who claims to have the same goal as the other cultists, waking the Hulks and bringing about The End of the World as We Know It. Is this because Janwulf is an Omnicidal Maniac? No. He actually has no desire or reason to destroy the world, and has no divine powers at all, or any idea how to waken them. What he really wants is more power, and by keeping what he sees as a false religion alive under his leadership, he has gained more followers and influence than any other giant in recent history. (If the scenario plays out as suggested in the book, the Player Characters will suspect something suspicious about their patron when they defeat Janwulf, and with good reason; she's a more dangerous villain who really wants to awaken the Hulks, and set Janwulf up so they could kill him.)
Caesar in Shaw's Androcles and the Lion admits that the practices of the religion he nominally leads are meaningless.
In Moličre's Tartuffe, the title character is one of these. He claims to be a devout Christian, but the play is pretty clear that it's all an act. When he reveals his hypocrisy, there is a stage direction that reads: "Speaking as a villain" (Moliere added that particular stage direction so the Jesuits couldn't claim that he was specifically accusing them of hypocrisy, but even so, lots of devout Christians were outraged at the play.)
In William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, Angelo stands for chastity and virtue, and therefore, wants to execute Claudio for accidentally getting Juliet (no relation) knocked up. Angelo then proceeds to attempt the Scarpia Ultimatum on Claudio's sister, Isabella, who is a nun in training, and it also turns out that he has an ex-girlfriend somewhere. Still, he is pretty distraught to find himself unable to live up to his own ideals, and continues to apply the same rigid standard of morality and justice to his own transgression.
Isabella is also an example: she is generally viewed disfavourably by the audience, as she values her chastity more than her brother's life and tells him that he deserves to die for his sin. Then once the Duke of Vienna proposes marriage to her, she does not protest in the least (although this can be interpreted different ways by different directors). There are theories that Measure is an attack specifically on the Catholic Church, which, as you probably know, emphasizes chastity in its clergy.
The leaders of the Corrupt Church in Final Fantasy X say that all machina (machines) are bad, while at the same time using machina in their own temples. Earlier, the maesters also give their blessing to an operation that uses machines of war to try and stop Sin (though there, they know it's not going to work, and are trying to send a message).
This is also zig-zagged with using the teachings of Yevon to stop Sin. While the summoners and their pilgrimages do stop Sin, the church lies about the idea that Sin can be stopped permanently. The maesters say that there is nothing futile about the summoners' struggles, since it means people can take it easy, knowing Sin is gone, even if it's for a little while. But, the maesters say that when mankind atones for its "sins," then Sin will be gone. They know that Sin will always come back, and even know why, but don't say anything. When Yuna and her guardians find out, the church actively tries to have them killed until Yuna becomes their only option.
In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Tommy is tasked in one mission to covertly photograph a fundamentalist politician in the act with a porn star, because said politician is trying to have pornography outlawed (or restricted, at least).
In Grand Theft Auto IV; Bryce Dawkins, the fiercely anti-gay and "family values" oriented deputy mayor of Liberty City, cheats on his wife with Niko's Camp Gay war buddy Bernie Crane.
AVALANCHE co-leader and scientist Fuhito in Before Crisis supports AVALANCHE's fight against Shinra. Why are they fighting Shinra? To stop the company from draining mako out of the planet, which is the planet's life force. What do they do? They use materia (which is made out of mako) and they also use captured soldier turned Ravens (who have mako injected into their bodies). Fuhito hardly cares about Shinra and he even idolizes Mad Scientist Hojo, who works for Shinra. Fuhito eventually takes over AVALANCHE and aims to destroy the world so that there's nothing left to harm the planet, thus "saving" it. Elfe and Shears see just how powerful and mad Fuhito was becoming, so they leave AVALANCHE and ditch their fight against Shinra.
Mass Effect has shades of this, both of which come one of the second game's DLCs, Lair of the Shadow Broker. It's revealed that the annoying reporter that you have the option to punch in both interviews, despite having anti-alien views, is in a relationship with an asari.
Cerberus's goal is to find a means to control the Reapers themselves, and they were fine with using human refugees as test subject by indoctrinating them, those who fail their expectations are used for target practice.
Team Plasma of Pokémon Black and White have this. They claim that humans are abusing Pokemon by putting them through battles. They not only have Pokemon of their own that they battle with, they also repeatedly kick a Munna in order to make it produce Dream Mist, all the while yelling about how they'll free Pokemon from the abuses of humans. In fact, the team's leader, Ghestis, only wants to "liberate" Pokemon from their trainers so that he will ultimately be the only one with any Pokemon. The only significant member of Team Plasma who actually seems to genuinely believe in the Team's alleged purpose is N, who apparently actually does free his Pokemon between battles, and typically only uses Pokemon found in the wild near each battle location.
There's no confirmation that everyone in Team Plasma fits this category, however - some of those who don't free their Pokemon like N may simply be taking a more pragmatic approach, but there's no denying a fair few definitely count.
It's later confirmed in Black 2 and White 2 that this is the case. Team Plasma has developed a massive schism between the ones who follow "King N" and genuinely believed in his cause (they wear the old uniform, but now try to act as The Atoner, taking care of Pokémon and trying to help stolen ones find their way home) and the hypocrites from before that now follow Ghestis, who wear black uniforms and don't even try to hide that they are abusive, thieving scumbags just in it for the power.
Pokémon Platinum/Diamond/Pearl: Cyrus is the embodiment of this, as he tells everyone he's going to create a world for Team Galactic, but it's only for himself. And the fact that he claims that emotions is bad, but he throws a hissy fit in the end of Platinum
YMMV With Cyrus in regards to emotions since what he really seems bitter about once being defeated isn't just being defeated, but that he is himself bitter and there is nothing he can do about it.
Lord Shojo in The Order of the Stick is a non-villainous example. He's the leader of an order of paladins, but is himself ignoring most of their rules behind the scenes; this is because he feels the oath they took is driving them into Lawful Stupid territory, and only by doing the Dirty Business that the rest of the Sapphire Guard won't will anything good get done.
The "Liberal College Student" meme is the internet parodying this trope.
Also "Social Justice Sally", who tends to use social justice issues as a smokescreen that lets her get away with bullying her chosen targets and/or justifying her own personal bigotries and closed-mindedness rather than any desire for meaningful positive change.
Hayley Smith of American Dad! has occasional shades of this, a lot of her liberal views seem to be put on solely to outrage her republican Control Freak father, often when she is made to go fully through with her communities' views and actions, she immediately attempts to bail out. "Camp Refoogee" is a fine example.
Roger in particular loves exploiting this trope from her. When she joins art class as a nude model for example, he joins and paints her, repeating her self righteous rant to her father concerning her job when she objects.
In Codename: Kids Next Door the Vespinaccians who's goal is to spread the glory of spinach. But not one of them even like spinach, and their king only did all that just so he doesn't have to eat it.
A possible example in Danny Phantom: On one hand, the teachers impose Sam's "Vegan Week" idea on the students, but they themselves keep eating meat in secret. On the other hand, it is implied that the teachers only did this in the first place because Sam just wouldn't leave them alone about it.
Ted Wassanasong from King of the Hill possesses great wealth and a large manor, including an Olympic-size pool. When he sees it, Khan has a smaller version of the pool built in his backyard, in an attempt to imitate Ted's success. Yet when Ted finds out, he labels Khan a banana who has lost touch with his Laotian roots, deaf to the fact that he is far more wealthy than Khan ("Sure, I own all these.... things, but they don't own me"). He convinces Khan to give up his material possessions and participate in a local Laotian militia, claiming it is the only way he can be a real Laotian. In reality, Ted only wants the militia so he can make them parade down mainstreet on a "Laotian Pride Week" he's trying to get the city to start. He only wants the holiday so he, as a Laotian, would gain a sizable boost in social status. Khan eventually wises up on this and calls him out at the end of the episode.
In another episode, Ted, in an attempt to improve the social status of Arlen, and his own by association, has the sale and cooking of all trans-fat food banned in the city, claiming it will make the population thinner. Hank and Buck wind up illegally selling the food around town, and Hank is shocked to find Ted is an eager customer. When Hank calls him out on this, noting how the food ban was his idea in the first place, he smugly replies how he, unlike the common masses of Arlen, has the self-control needed to not overindulge and can therefore eat as much as he wants. It later comes to light that all the members of the city counsel side-step the ban they themselves put in place, and Hank is able to repeal it by blackmailing them.
According to Word of God, an Aborted Arc in Moral Orel would have revealed that the Evangelical Christian Miss Censordoll had used voodoo to make Clay shoot Orel.
Half the cast of that show.
Most Vodou adherents are also practicing Catholics, seeing the loa and the saints as one in the same, and Bondye and God the Father as the same being. There's a saying in Haiti that the nation is 90% Catholic and 100% Vodou.
And the fact that the whole town is very anti-Catholic in the first place (to a point where using the Necronomicon to raise the dead is viewed better than reading form a Catholic Bible).
Even disregarding the voodoo aspect, Censordoll was already a Straw Hypocrite. When Oral campaigned to get eggs boycotted, she went along with it because she felt it would help her image, even though she loved eggs to the point of obsession (and also because she figured she could secretly keep the mayor from ever banning them). When Oral succeeded, she was forced to buy them illegally.
Possibly Amon from The Legend of Korra, who leads a crusade against bending—but is a waterbender himself. In fact, his method of "removing people's bending" involves bending their body fluids. It's not known if he truly believed in the cause, even if he used bending to achieve it, or whether he was just exploiting the cause for his own personal gain.
It's also revealed that his blood-bending father routinely abused him and his little brother Tarrlok, forcing them to fight each other at one point. Given how he still treats his little brother like a child, and spouts platitudes rather than facing up to his problems, he may be overcompensating for his father's legacy. The man also had no shame about faking a facial scar or letting loose a massive geyser of water once his cover was blown. He sees himself as a Dark Messiahdoing what needs to be done.
The Equalists as a whole may count as one too, since they have no qualms on attacking other non-benders for not holding anti-bender hatred. I'm looking at you Mr. Sato.
In general, like the Team Plasma example above, the Equalists appear to be made up of people who are just prejudiced and angry (like Mr. Sato), and those who truly believe in the message and want freedom for non-benders via extreme measures (Like Amon's Lieutenant).
Unalaq from the second season. In the first episodes he acts as a self righteous asshole, accusing the Southern Water Tribe's secular ways of provoking the spirits and causing chaos, when in reality not only is he behind the spirits, but he seeksto release Vaatu, the spirit of chaos himself. What makes him truly disgustingly hypocritical is that by all accounts he genuinely believed in his rhetoric, seeking to construct a new world order by uniting the human and spirit realms.
In the Powerpuff Girls episode "Equal Fights", Straw Feminist villain Femme Fatale who only steals Susan B. Anthony coins, and repeatedly mentions Susan B. Anthony, and it is later revealed she doesn't even know who she is.
She also claims that women "should look out for each other". Then it's revealed that she's completely fine with physically attacking other women.
Reverend Lovejoy of The Simpsons leans this way Depending on the Writer. He often conveys a "fire and brimstone" view of religion to churchgoers and frequently warns them of keeping Christian faith and morals. In reality, he lost passion for Christianity long ago and believes the Bible is nonsensical ("technically it says you're not allowed to go to the bathroom"). Emphasized well when he condemns Bart as a hellion for supposedly stealing from the collection plate. When Lisa argues with the Bible quote "judge not lest ye be judged" he gives an apathetic "I believe it's somewhere around the back".