From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Self-righteousness, also called sanctimoniousness, sententiousness and holier-than-thou attitudes[1][2] is a feeling or display of (usually smug) moral superiority[3] derived from a sense that one's beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person. Self-righteous individuals are often intolerant of the opinions and behaviors of others.[4] A self-righteous person might also be described as being uninterested in seeking an unselfish or objective standard of right and wrong, independently of how they interact with other people.

The term "self-righteous" is often considered derogatory (see, for example, journalist and essayist James Fallows' description of self-righteousness in regard to Nobel Peace Prize winners)[5] particularly because self-righteous individuals are often thought to exhibit hypocrisy due to the belief that humans are imperfect and can therefore never be infallible, an idea similar to that of the Freudian defense mechanism of reaction formation. The connection between self-righteousness and hypocrisy predates Freud's views, however, as evidenced by the 1899 book Good Mrs. Hypocrite by the pseudonymous author "Rita".

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  1. ^ "holier-than-thou - definition of holier-than-thou by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2013-03-11.
  2. ^ "Holier than thou" originates from the King James Bible, Isaiah 65:5, in which such an attitude is condemned
  3. ^ "the definition of self-righteous". Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  4. ^ "the definition of self-righteous". Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  5. ^ Fallows, James About self-righteousness and Al Gore The Atlantic, Oct 13 2007