Our Mendacious Nation
When leaders lie, people die.
Imagine a Liar-in-Chief as Commander-in-Chief. When leaders lie, people die! And if you don’t believe that, just look at the wars of Viet Nam and Iraq; both wars were based on lies. It is highly likely that we will put liars in the White House this November, along with a Liar-in-Chief, with the assistance of all of us. It doesn’t matter whether we vote; we are complicit in their election, placement, etc. Apathy and complacency are alive and well among us. We say little or nothing about liars running for political or national office. We the people have “lamed out” on our civic responsibilities. We should occupy, challenge them, especially Romney and his lot. Very few news analyst or reporters will mention it, or confront the person uttering the lie. Thomas Jefferson chimed in about this pathology: “He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time till at length it becomes habitual.” Jefferson’s quote is consistent with Mitt Romney’s behavior.
We have diminished the value of truth; truth has become just another point of view. And the opposite of right is not wrong; the opposite of right is lying. We have begun to create a culture of lying; that means it will be “the way we do things around here.” That’s one of Edgar Schein’s definition of culture—“the way we do things around here”—we lie. I say “we” because we’re all in this together, despite what our feckless, plantation style leaders and their concurrent row-walkers say. McConnell, Boehner, Cantor, and their followers: all tend to distort the facts, a code phrase for lying. Nietzsche said it best: “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
I often wonder about the psychology of lying. Why do men lie? Men lie more than women. According to psychologist, Feldman, we tell lies when our self-esteem is threatened; that’s one of the main culprits, causing us to lie at higher levels. One study (sample size 2,000) claims that women average three lies daily; men lie six times daily. “Men are liars. We’ll lie about lying if we have to. I’m an algebra liar. I figure two good lies make a positive,” says Tim Allen. How’s that for rationalizing this pathology. Two lies make a truth? Really?
Many of our national leaders lie for success; they lie for personal and political gain. Abraham Lincoln chimed in: “No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.” This is consistent with Mark Twain who said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Leaders who lie constantly, have “…entered the territory of lies without a passport for return,” said Graham Greene. Do we want a Liar-in-Chief in the White House? Solzhenitsyn too, chimed in: “In our country the lie has become not just another moral category but a pillar of the State.” Is that what we want as a pillar of our State?
Finally, the consequences of leaders lying are severe and costly. Their lying have led to wars; theirs lying has cost human suffering, death, and destruction. Their lying has a deleterious effect on the administration of economic justice, distributive justice, and social justice.
What does lying portend for the survival of this nation?