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Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Hey Liberals, Let’s Have a Teach-In on Lying
In case you haven't noticed, liberals are all a-quiver over Trump's "lies." It´s got to the point that the kids at the Murdoch blog have had to weigh in with a ponderous piece by Gerard Baker on "Trump, 'Lies,' and Honest Journalism."
I have a better idea! Let's have a teach-in about lying. Only in this teach-in you jammie-clad lefties get to zip your lips, while I get to rant.
Of course, Trump lies! He is a politician, and the way you can tell a politician is lying is that his lips move. All politicians lie, liberals, including Bernie and Hillary and Barack. All the time. Why do they lie? Because we the voters insist on it.
Trump lied about immigration and about bringing back manufacturing. So what? That is what the white working class and legal immigrants and the citizens wanted to hear. But will Trump pay the price for his lies? Probably not, because his supporters want to believe the lies he told them.
In his thumb-sucker, Gerard Baker mentioned Trump's lies about 9/11 and President Obama's birthplace. Those are lies that I would call tactical. They are lies that, in the words of The Mikado's politician Pooh Bah, are "merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative."
Notice how Trump's tactical lies have prompted liberals to get all a-quiver about "fake news." After salting the world with their own lies for decades, now, all of a sudden, they are horrified that other people are doing it too!
Trump's lies about immigration and manufacturing are what I call strategiclies. They are necessary to sell the heart of his program. They are in the same class as President Obama's lies about bending the cost curve down, that if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Unless Obama lied about ObamaCare, he would never have got it passed. Average Americans already have health insurance; they don't need ObamaCare. So Obama had to lie.
This is all still pretty harmless lying. Anyone with half a brain knows that the strategic lie is a lie. It is when we get beyond the strategic lie that the fun really begins. The next level, I would say, is the Goebbels Big Lie, which is equivalent to what we now call "gaslighting." It is designed to get you to doubt the evidence of your own eyes. Not everyone can pull the Big Lie off -- you need to have control of the media to make it work, and this means that in America today only liberals can do it. Examples are the climate change movement, the notion of "white privilege," and the vile liberal accusation of racism, sexism, or homophobia.
The Big Lie is still at the street level, the arrow in the quiver of the Ivy League community organizer. The real fun begins when you start to create false worldviews. Let us call this the world-building lie, in honor of world-building video games like Minecraft. The most important world-building lie is the Marxist lie that there is an existential conflict between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie which can only be decided by a Hegelian Fight to the Death. Lie! The proletariat has flourished under the hegemony of the capitalist, like never before in history; the worker and the master should be friends.
The latest example of the world-building lie is the cultural Marxist lie that there is a fundamental conflict between the races, between men and women, and between gay and straight. It's a lie, tirelessly promoted by liberals and lefties. You have to be carefully taught to hate and to fear your fellow humans courtesy of the lies of the cultural Marxists, and our schools and universities and mainstream media are doing their lefty bureaucratic best to make it so.
There is another lie, the Cosmic Lie. This is the notion that we can know God's purposes and that our mortal coil will end in eternal life. In fact, we humans don't have a clue about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, but we never stop trying, because we all want to bend the arc of reality towards our favorite happy ending.
And that is what lying is all about, from the cosmos to politics to the little white lie about your wife being as pretty as ever. I suspect that lying is as central to human flourishing as meat and potatoes. But more research is needed.
And there is this, from Jonathan Haidt's Righteous Mind. People make judgements about things they experience. Then they rationalize their judgements to justify them. I wonder what kind of lie we should call that?