You Lie, Boy!
© 2009 by Bohdan O. Szuprowicz
That’s what my father used to shout at me whenever explanations of my activities did not meet his expectations. That’s also a standard scolding of a servant who tries to explain why what was expected of him was not done, or what happened to the missing silver or jewelry… Not to mention police interrogations of the usual suspects.
Of course if you’re a politician or a diplomat you have to learn how to lie to be able to convince a sufficient number of the “great unwashed” to support the causes and programs of those who manipulate you. After all you are just a salesman provided with an array of “lies, damned lies, and statistics” to make their case. Years ago British Prime Minister Disraeli came to that conclusion later popularized by Mark Twain. Too many of us delude ourselves that elected officials and politicians are public servants doing our bidding? When they do not we demand explanations. But are we getting the truth?
There is a book written by Darrell Huff back in 1954 with an engaging title “How to Lie with Statistics”. Why are we therefore surprised that when a politician snows us with massive data every day, and carries on campaigning long after he is elected, we start to doubt whether he will tell us the truth or knows what he is doing.
Did you notice that in classified sections of the newspapers you will never find any ads for politicians? There is no need because candidates who aspire to offer their incompetence for the “greater good” of the public are always in wait to depose those in power. If they are wealthy and ambitious they throw in their own treasure into publicity campaigns. Otherwise they look for rich sponsors whose agendas are such that they prefer not to expose themselves up front. Trial balloons are then floated and tested to select the most effective obfuscators who will toe the line of the financiers.
Then we learn what wonderful parents they are. How successful in business or criminal prosecution. How effective whistleblowers and money savers they may have been. But in fact they are all strangers who promote themselves and tell us only all the worthy and good things about them hiding or obfuscating any negatives. They are salesmen of programs and ideas we may not even want. As the Chinese say they are “running dogs” of those whose agenda they promote. Above all they know how to practice “lying by omission” in the extreme. “Truth in Advertising” may apply to consumer markets but in politics…?
After all this is the age of Avatars, Astroturf, and fake ID’s. Technology gives us a global reach through cyber scams, social networks, intelligence disinformation, and mass publicity on the media. And let’s keep in mind what the Nazis discovered in the early 19th century. If a lie is big enough, repeated often enough, the people eventually accept it as gospel truth. Continuous campaigning, little substance, and massive statistics are all symptoms of a cover up before the fact.
But the Internet and communications technology gives us new personal tools to get at the truth and stop the lying politicians in their tracks. It enhances what Lincoln told us years ago. “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can not fool all of the people all the time.” That time is here now.
Oh yes. If you want the truth. Pay attention to what they do NOT say. (Words 590)