Casual with the truth

On the ‘everybody does it‘ front, the Coyote provides a good example. The topic is ‘every politician lies’ and the error is the underlying assumption that all misstatements of fact are the same from the trivial typo to the propaganda meme. The latter is noted at the Coyote Blog (in confusion with the former).

I really don’t like the meme that Bush lied about Iraq (on WMD’s, possession of yellow cake uranium, whatever). Here is why: the implication is that if we just had smarter, more honest politicians, all of our interventionist foreign policy would work great. But beyond the fact that we never have smarter and more honest politicians, this meme prevents us from learning the right lesson from the Iraq war.

This is indeed the cost of the propaganda meme type lie and one that separates it from other types and should also serve as a reminder that just casually tossing around the ‘everybody lies’ accusation is an evasion and not a proper truth. Consider this:

The lesson from the Iraq War is that we are never going to have a sensible foreign policy until we adopt some humility — a lot of humility — about our ability to understand other countries and manipulate them by force.

Humility. That starts within. It is a personal characteristic. It is, perhaps, in taking the view that each of us ‘lies’ and we need humility to accept that we may even be lying to ourselves. That means we should be a bit reserved in casting stones and making gross assumptions about others. Sometimes we reveal our own issues in subtle ways.

I grew up in a Texas conservative Republican family, though I shed a lot of the social conservative baggage, as well as any team allegiance to the Republicans, decades ago.

Humility? This not only blasts an entire ideology but sets one as above those heathens. That is called hubris, not humility. He notes that “They say that a converted Christian is more passionate that those who have been Christian all their lives”. Yes, well, Christians are Christians because they accept the fact that they are sinners (i.e. liars) and must atone. That aspect is missing in those who see faults in others but not themselves.

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