All Politicians Lie — But All Lies Are Not Equal

by | Mar 1, 2021 | Politics & Corruption

All Politicians Lie — But All Lies Are Not Equal

by | Mar 1, 2021 | Politics & Corruption

Let’s grant for the sake of argument that politicians don’t always tell the truth. It’s still necessary to recognize that there are different kinds of lies.

Misinformation: All politicians lie. Donald Trump is no worse than the rest.

Information: Let’s grant for the sake of argument that politicians don’t always tell the truth. It’s still necessary to recognize that there are different kinds of lies.

There’s the lie that you don’t know is a lie—you believe it’s true when you say it, but you’re mistaken.

There’s the lie that you do know is a lie when you say it.

And there’s the lie that you believe is true because you’ve redefined the meaning of the word truth: something is right and true if it operates to your own advantage, and is wrong and not true if it operates to your own disadvantage. That’s the kind of liar that Donald Trump is.

A liar of the third type has the tactical advantage of completely believing that what he says is true, and therefore having no compunctions about claiming that anyone who disagrees is a liar and a purveyor of fake news. We’ve seen how that complete lack of shame, in himself and those who work for him, has played to great advantage for Donald Trump over the past 4 years. Some even call it courage. But an unwillingness to deal with actual truth is the opposite of courage.

We don’t need to enter the murky field of psychiatry to diagnose this condition. The inability to know the difference between right and wrong is legally defined as insanity.

When Johnson lied about the Vietnam War, when Reagan lied about Iran Contra, when Clinton lied about his affair with a White House intern, when George W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction, when Obama lied about keeping your own doctor under the Affordable Health Care Art, those were type 1 and 2 lies. I personally suspect that even Putin knows when he’s lying. Trump never does, and that puts him into a very small category of leaders, a category which includes some of the most destructive individuals of world history.

Trump will always be a liar, but thankfully he is no longer the nation’s leader. Let’s hope that we never see his like in that office again.


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