“Truth will out is a phrase that is routinely recited to keep Americans paying and obeying. Politicians and editorial writers toss this phrase out to simmer down any fears that the government might be conspiring against the people. Actually, “truth will out” is the biggest fairy tale in Washington. When it comes to politics, “truth will out” should be confined to sarcasm and satire, not to serious pontificating.” James Bovard
The idea that politicians lie isn’t new. It is a known fact that all politicians lie, some just lie more than others.
Doug Mataconis, in his article Why Do We Let Politicians Get Away With Lying?, writes that it’s an accusation tossed around by political opponents since the nation’s first truly contested Presidential election in 1800 and, by the time we got to the era of people like Mark Twin and Will Rogers, the mendacity of politicians was such a common belief that it became the subject for humor and satire. Politicians lie because they have a powerful incentive to do so and over time some level of mendacity became an expected part of the political process.
They get away with lying because some people don’t want to know the truth. They would rather stick their head in the sand than be confronted with the national debt or how painful it will be to fix it or how much it truly cost them to allow unlimited illegals and low-skilled immigrants into this country. They would rather believe that disarming law-abiding citizens will make everyone safer, or that free government run healthcare is better than the free market, or that by stealing from the wealthy individuals who create jobs will make the economy better, or that their candidate of choice can give their children a free education, eliminate student debts, ad nauseam.
And while some voters may call for our politicians to be more open and honest, we all understand the necessity of those little white lies writes Matthew McGlone, associate professor Communications at the University of Texas, Austin. We know that our children shouldn’t tell Grandpa how they really feel about the savings bond he gave them for Christmas. We expect an obituary writer to highlight an actor’s two top movies, not his 17 flops. When someone asks us how they look in a particular outfit, we certainly wouldn’t want to deliberately hurt their feelings. And please never ask me if you look fat!
We don’t always see horns and a tail on the teller of little white lies. When we do our decision to call attention to them is more often dependent on who we think is getting forked and how badly. As Alfred North Whitehead observed, “all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.”
In D.C., the truth is replaced by power according to Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation. Credibility depends on titles, not veracity. Blind deference to authority might be expected from semi-literate peasants in some mountain hollow but, it is more of a problem coming from the academic elite and establishment heavyweights. As Daniel Ellsberg stated in 1970, the Pentagon Papers provided thousands of pages documenting “twenty years of crime under four presidents. And every one of those presidents had a Harvard professor at his side, telling him how to do it and how to get away with it.”
Lies subvert democracy by crippling citizens’ ability to rein in government. Citizens are left clueless about perils until it is too late for the nation to pull back.
Political lies are far more dangerous than most people realize. Big government requires Big Lies. The more powerful centralized administration becomes the more abuses it commits and the more lies it must tell. The government becomes addicted to the growth of its own revenue and power, and this growth cannot be maintained without denying or suppressing the adverse effects of Leviathan’s growth.
Ironically, despite the government’s long record of deceits, distrust of government is often portrayed as more dangerous than government power itself. Private doubts are supposedly a greater threat to America than official lies. Trust in government becomes mass Prozac, keeping people docile and compliant.
Mitt Romney once told a reporter who was dissatisfied with his evasive answer that “you get to ask the questions you like. I get to give the answers I like.” Politicians have elevated dodging questions to an art form. It has become an effective means to hoodwink voters without technically