Opinion: When lying doesn't work anymore, maybe try the truth

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  Trump’s claim that FBI “stole” his three passports turns out to be “nothing like what Trump said” DOJ discovered the passports and returned them before Trump even made his claim to attack law enforcement Donald Trump Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  When lying doesn't work anymore, maybe try the truth © Provided by Washington Examiner

An ambassador is an honest gentleman, sent abroad to lie abroad for the good of his country,” Sir Henry Wotton wrote in 1604. Just as the United States is so large that its citizens can experience every kind of climate without using a passport, so America’s politicians don’t have to leave the country to lie in the national interest. This, naturally, is their interest, writ large and lucrative.

We are told that in the Republic, Plato has Socrates argue for the “noble lie” that will convince both rulers and citizens to care for the city. As another great chin-stroker said, “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.” We might be mistranslating Plato’s original. Desmond Lee, in his Penguin translation, uses “magnificent myth”: Socrates justifies the necessary founding fiction as a one-off, rather than a license, as pondered by Leo Strauss in The City and Man, that daily politics is necessarily a series of noble lies. “Read my lips. No new taxes.”

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I would be lying, too, if I omitted to mention that I lifted this insight from the erudite paper on the translation issue that Dr. Christopher S. Morrissey read at the classical studies conference at the University of British Columbia in 2004. To tell the truth, I wasn’t there. I haven’t read it all, either. It might not be erudite all the way through, but the bit I read was so smart it gave me a headache.

This tends to confirm Machiavelli’s oft-cited observation: “When the other guy is lying his face off, don’t get on your high horse.” Actually, the fibber from Florence didn’t say that, so no one cites it, but I’m pretty sure he did say something like that, because we call political lying a Machiavellian art. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

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Translations of Machiavelli have him talking about "virtue" in politics. That just goes to show what a tricky guy he was. The Romans used "virtus" to mean being a stand-up guy, even if it meant getting stabbed in the Senate. Machiavelli presented his Renaissance republic as the heir to the Roman one, but what he meant by "virtu" is being an incorrigible snake who will say anything to stay in power. There is no recession, and if there is, it’s because of white supremacy, climate change, the National Rifle Association, and “Putin’s price hike.”

Honestly, I don’t think lying is more prevalent in American politics than in the politics of any other democracy. But there was a time when American politicians led the free world in lying to their public. Only the Soviets lied more, and they didn’t have the handicap of a free press. The Democrats had an extraordinary streak in the '60s. First, the Kennedy administration claimed that Russia started the Cuban Missile Crisis, when Nikita Khrushchev was, in fact, retaliating for the U.S. positioning nukes in Turkey on the Soviet Union’s doorstep. Then the administration claimed victory in the standoff without telling the public that it had secretly agreed to withdraw its nukes from Turkey.

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After Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon B. Johnson rose to the challenge by lying his face off about the Gulf of Tonkin incident. But it was a lie too far to claim that the U.S. was winning in Vietnam. By 1969, the combined effect of the Tet Offensive, the Warren Commission, and too much LSD meant that large numbers of Americans believed that the moon landings were faked in a Hollywood studio. It didn’t help that the president, Richard Nixon, looked like a wizened Pinocchio.

It is a sad reflection of America’s relative decline that although President Joe Biden tries to lie with the vigor of a younger man, no one believes him. The problem isn’t just that Biden can’t remember which lie to tell. It’s that the informational regime of the old media, the press conference and what Daniel Bell called the “pseudo-event,” has collapsed. The new digital regime is cohering, but not yet complete, and it cannot yet force us to listen.

You cannot lie convincingly if less than half the country is listening. But you will expose yourself as a liar to the majority of the country, should they tune in. In this split-screen interregnum between dispensations of reality, lying is so obvious that politicians might as well tell the truth. As we transition from one informational regime to the next, only one presidential candidate has told the truth about the lies that make politics under both regimes. That was one of the reasons he won the presidency in 2016. The more the Biden administration lies to us about the mess we’re in, the more it helps him to do it again in 2024. Ain’t that the truth.

Corden Mocks Vendor Stiffed by Trump's Truth Social for More Than $1 Million: 'You Knew What Was Gonna Happen' (Video)

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Tags: Opinion, White House, Joe Biden, History, Philosophy, Media, Beltway Confidential

Original Author: Dominic Green

Original Location: When lying doesn't work anymore, maybe try the truth

Trump's QAnon posts highlight Truth Social's extremist presence .
Donald Trump promised his Truth Social platform would offer a home for free speech, an unfiltered way to reach people. "Truth Social has become a refuge of sorts for people and content that have been banned from other platforms," Orr Bueno said.Six months later, the former US president's amplification of conspiratorial memes and messages after the FBI searched his Mar-a-Lago estate indicates that extremist content has flourished.

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