A gentleman values his privacy and prefers private life over public life. This is in large part because the more public an act becomes, the more it becomes theatre, and governed by the laws of political correctness, group mediocrity, and conformity. The best venue for the gentleman to be his best self is among individuals, or smaller groups, where he can be sincere, honest, straightforward, and, when appropriate, funny.
To understand the virtues of privacy all that is necessary is to look at the kind of people who succeed on the public stage; politicians and entertainers. To be a politician is to say whatever is popular at the moment, among the group to which one happens to be speaking. True personal conviction among politicians is a very rare trait. And the most popular entertainers seem to be forever reaching for the lowest common denominator in their work and in their private lives. The need to appeal to large numbers of people, the ability to change from role to role, or speech to speech, is what defines the public figure. And they are forever doing something quite different in their own lives from what they are preaching to the public. Public figures need the approval of the masses; not only to succeed in their work, but at a more basic level; they have a psychological need for popularity. And it is in this last regard that they are most different from the gentleman, who enjoys public acclaim – to pretend otherwise is false and pretentious – but who, when in conflict between his own personal standards and the standards of the public, chooses his own.
Public figures constantly draw attention to themselves. A gentleman constantly avoids attention. When in public, the gentleman is content to be lost among the many, knowing this his true reward – love, or work, or the affection of his children – is to be found in private life. The more debased the public figure; the more he loves the public spotlight; such as a man has no private life, his entire life is devoted to his pursuit of public glory.
This is not to say that the gentleman does not value the things that come with public acclaim – power, wealth, prestige; these are excellent things, well worth obtaining if they can be gotten in the right way. But more often than not a man must debase himself to obtain these things; the politician must pander to competing and conflicting interest groups, the entertainer must amuse a bored and lazy public. The gentleman settles, perhaps reluctantly and with regret, for the good things that can be obtained while remaining true to himself, without lies or hypocrisy, without pretending to care for those he despises.