It feels like there should be a word to describe, for example, politicians who proclaim government doesn’t work, then act to ensure that’s true.

I know there’s a political read in this example, that’s not what I’m actually interested in.

What do you call this behavior, where a person is the cause of, or a part of the problem they themselves are proclaiming is a problem? (And therefore a solution they propose should be applied to remedy the situation)

Hypocrite describes part of this, but it feels like there should be a more all-encompassing word or phrase to explain this kind of bad-faith argumentation.

  • ' ... act to ensure that it's true' strongly connotes (at least) intent. Is ' ... act in a way that exacerbates the problem' or ' ... act in a way that actually gives rise to the problem' more accurate? Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 11:45

1 Answer 1


This is called a self-fulfilling prophecy. Wikipedia describes it as

A self-fulfilling prophecy is the psychological phenomenon of someone "predicting" or expecting something, and this "prediction" or expectation coming true simply because the person believes or anticipates it will and the person's resulting behaviors align to fulfill the belief

  • I don't think this captures the bad-faith aspect of the OP.
    – user888379
    Commented Mar 8, 2022 at 0:19
  • I agree, this would be sufficient if not for the bad faith argumentation part. Commented Mar 8, 2022 at 23:50
  • 1
    I'm not sure there's a more specific word that includes the bad faith part.
    – Barmar
    Commented Mar 9, 2022 at 0:03

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