Merchant of Venice, on Pretension of Goodness, Act 2, sc.2

Actual Quote:     “There is no vice so simple but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts”

In Current Language:
Almost every vice may be made to present an outward appearance of goodness.

Suggestions For Use:
When your political adversary tries to cover up or apply a good spin to something particularly bad.
What Happens in the Actual Play:
Among her suitors, the fair Portia will marry him who will solve a riddle. Before attempting to do so, Bassanio meditates on some important truths, including the truth contained in the quote for this episode of the ‘Limeys’ [a London-base Internet-Radio program where these quotes and comments are broadcast.] Bassanio will be eventually the one who solves the riddle and marries Portia.
The quote well describes the “modus operandi” of various government organizations and/or individuals. At least on the basis of what most of us have occasion to see or deduce through simple personal logic, rather than coarse belief in the information provided by the controlled media.
And the closer certain organizations and individuals are to the core of state-power, the more likely is the destructive effect that they have on the welfare of the citizens at large.
Of course, all generalizations may be disputed and many cases may be cited where the sense of the quote in this episode may not apply – namely when actions were undertaken for good rather than evil purposes. But a substantial part is not, or at least it is questionable.
It would actually be possible to compile a dictionary of evil masquerading for good, undertaken by various governments and their minions.
I will quote two examples for demonstration. The current upheaval in Palestine has allowed some stations (certainly not the corporate media) to bring out or resurrect a probably forgotten episode associated with the first war against Iraq, launched by the United States.
I have followed the major happening concerning this nation – Iraq – because, during my first employment, I was sent to Iraq to establish a representation and an office on behalf of my employer.  Therefore, I had the opportunity of reasonably familiarizing myself with the country at large, its habits and the general spirit and tone of the population.
From what I could see, and accepting all limitations inherent on the observations and conclusions of a foreigner, I found Iraq by far the most developed Middle East country, at least in those areas directly visible and measurable. For example, universal education to the university level (for men and women), health care, etc. There was no visible crime and I could walk without concern at night in Baghdad and periphery.
There had been disputes between Iraq and neighboring Kuwait as to the jurisdiction on water and oil exploration rights. Iraq maintained that Kuwait was consistently encroaching on Iraq’s territory. And to refresh the audience’s memory, this was the official trigger for the first Iraq war.
A war during which the tale of Iraqi soldiers killing babies in Kuwaiti hospitals was broadly spread across all tv networks worldwide. Only to discover that the young girl crying at the atrocious event was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador in Washington, that the ‘episode’ was staged in Washington and that the bill from the production company was for  several millions of dollars.
One more recent and macroscopic example has to do with the Covid ‘vaccine’. What better opportunity to display a ‘mark of virtue’ in wanting to save lives with the vaccine, whereas it was a colossal fraud – or a ‘vice’ to be consistent with the words of the Shakespearean quote. A fraud of which it would be redundant to name or list the consequences.
But a noteworthy associated consequence is that so many doctors were forced to proclaim and carry out a lie. A fact that, in turn, brings to mind another quotation, not Shakespearean but no less applicable. The author is American writer Upton Sinclair who, in one of his books wrote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
And to finish these comments with yet another quote, equally applicable to some recent events and developments, here it is. The author is 19th century French sociologist-economist, Frederic Bastiat, who said, “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
I like to think that even Shakespeare would appreciate the pronouncement by Mr. Bastiat.

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