This is not an ideological argument about the moral advantages of a smaller state: it is simple economic necessity. As the man said, there’s no money left. And the only ways that anybody can think of for the state to get more of it are either futile (taxing the “rich”) or destructive of any possibility of recovery (more borrowing). What began as a banking collapse has turned into a crisis of democratic politics. Is this what we have to look forward to? The process of campaigning and voting will be an irrelevance: all parties will tell pretty much the same lies. Whichever one is marginally more credible than the others will gain power (probably in coalition with another bunch of liars), and then have to do what needs to be done in whatever desperate, underhand ways it can devise. Nobody will feel that he got what he voted for, because what he voted for was impossible.
Are you more honest than a banker? Under what circumstances would you lie, or cheat, and what effect does your deception have on society at large? Dan Ariely, one of the world’s leading voices on human motivation and behaviour is the latest big thinker to get the RSA Animate treatment.
Politicians seem to lie with the drop of a hat…but is it really lying…or can it be better described as just being deceptive.
Paul Ryan’s speech to the Republican convention last week seems to have been some kind of watershed moment, at least for the media. Many of us watching the speech felt it was full of deceptive statements. That wasn’t a new development. But this time reporters from the big, mainstream outlets said they agreed. That wasa new development. Perhaps the most vivid and important instance was a story in the New York Times, by Michael Cooper, which told readers that several Ryan statements were “incorrect, incomplete or incompatible with his own record in Congress.”
But has the media overreacted? The usual suspects in the right wing press think so. But so do Ross Douthat, the conservative columnist on the Times op-ed page, and Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed. Neither are knee-jerk defenders of Romney, Ryan, and the Republicans. You should take them seriously. I certainly do.
And they raised some good points. The definition of “lie” is less specific than you might think, at least according to the dictionaries I consulted. It can mean any statement that is deceptive. But in politics we understand “lie” to mean a statement that is flatly, objectively untrue. Very few, if any, of Ryan’s statements would satisfy that narrow definition. Most of Ryan’s statements were deceptive because they left out critical context.
But the statements that deserve the most scrutiny in presidential campaigns aren’t necessarily the ones that misstate facts. They are the statements that, as Kevin Drum wrote at Mother Jonesover the weekend, represent “attempts to mislead.” They are the arguments that distort what a politician thinks, what a politician has done in the past, or what a politician would do in the future—in other words, statements that might cause us to vote one way or another based on false impressions of the choice we face.
Politicians lie…we all do, show me someone who says they don’t lie and i’ll show you a liar. Sometimes the lies are little…”yes dear, that was really good”, and then there are the whoppers…”no Dad, it wasn’t me that put that massive scratch down the side of your car by driving along the pillar”.
But somehow we allow politicians to lie to us…all the time. One of the best ever lies was the superannuation lie…that if you all put 1 and 6 aside then in your retirement the government will look after you…followed up with another lie that superannuation will be universal for all for ever.
Doug Mataconis examines political lying:
Lying in order to cover-up a potential crime, for example, is still political suicide, as are the kind of lies that John Edwards told about his personal life. Fourteen years ago, Bill Clinton learned that lying under oath could lead to an Impeachment proceeding, though most Americans came to believe that his particular form of lying should not be punished by removal from office. But when it comes to telling a “lie” about a piece of legislation, or misrepresenting the facts for political purposes, which we have come over the last two decades or so to refer to as “spin,” though, the American people do indeed seem to have just decided to accept the fact that politicians lie and there isn’t a whole lot they can do about it.
I am sure we all believe that Phillip Field and Clayton Cosgrove are guilty of nothing more than being helpful to their constituents…I eman Helen Clark and Grant Robertson have told us so.
And Winston Peters really did mean NO, when asked about receiving donations. But perhaps the movie line is right…we can;t handle the truth:
There’s another side to this, though, and I noted it above. Sometimes, Americans want their politicians to lie to them about certain things. Do voters really want to hear the truth about how painful its going to be to fix our fiscal and entitlements crises? Do they want to hear that there are some problems in the world that America can’t, or shouldn’t fix, or that the economy isn’t going to return to the boom days of the 90s any time soon? I’d argue that they most definitely don’t want to hear the truth about these and many other subjects, so we let our politicians lie to us about them all the time.
By all accounts the Governor-Gneral is a thouroughly decent bloke, nice chap and has a great sense of humour. I wish the same could be said of the rest of the country.
Clearly there a some flat earthers out there that will want to deny the truth. The simple truth for all with a good pair of eyes is that the Governor-General is both fat and someone of Indian descent.
How can you complain about someone telling the truth? Doesn’t there have to be a factual error or a lie or something slanderous before a complaint can be upheld? I mean the last time anyone looked our Governor-General fitted into both the following categories:
Fat (check out the buttons on the jacket)
From the photo (left) it is as plain as Michael Laws’ statement.
Hon Bill English: Can the Prime Minister tell the House whether her coalition partner New Zealand First has advised her whether Owen Glenn is the mystery anonymous donor who placed nearly $100,000 in the New Zealand First bank account last year, and if not, does she intend to ask New Zealand First in order to find out whether a donation may have affected Winston Peters’ consideration of who to appoint as consul to Monaco? Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: No, I cannot advise that, nor can I advise the House of any of the anonymous donors to the National Party
We now know that this answer in Hansard was demonstrably false.
Clark and therefore Cullen has known all along about Owen Glenn’s donation. It is simply not believable that Winston hasn’t known anything about this and not believable that Clark didn’t know anything either until today.
Clark is stuffed, she is a liar too.
This spin about due process in the privileges committee is pure spin. Lianne Dalziel and Panty Slut-boy got no such defense from Clark. She has NOT taken the word of those ministers, or Dover Samuels or any other minister she sacked but all of a sudden she must suddenly accept the word of Peters over anyone else including Owen Glenn. Her hypocrisy is huge. To watch Michael Cullen continue to obfuscate and defend both the Prime Minister and Winston Raymond Peters, 63, Member of Parliament of no fixed abode in the parliament is scandalous. Not only that Michael Cullen essentially called Owen Glenn a liar and confused as well today.
I hope and pray that Labour conrtinues to defend WRP, 63, MOPONFA to the hilt then this election election will be fought totally upon honesty, integrity in politics and the corruption of WRP, 63, MOPONFA and the corruption of Helen Clark in tacitly approving that corruption through the continued service of WRP, 63, MOPONFA in her ministry.