Politicians Lie. Why don’t we care?

Keith pointed out that Trump has 16 lies in his economic speech.  Deliberate lies more than likely.

There are studies that show that humans will believe things that are familiar. So repeating a lie makes it feel familiar and therefore believable.
Politicians know that.

We also have a bias toward believing people whose beliefs align with our own.
Politicians know that.

We also are also more likely to believe a statement that we can connect with a personal bias. If I think I pay too much in taxes and Trump says we pay more taxes than any other country, then I will probably think that must be true.
Politicians know that.

If a statement is made of which I have no prior knowledge, referencing any sort of specific data or number will make it more believable. Politicians know that.

They have no reason to tell the truth and every reason to lie. We don’t hold them accountable for their lies. At all. We expect them to do it and think it’s just the nature of the process.

The reality is that we should have some legal sanctions for deliberately misleading the public. But any perusal of a fact checking site shows why that would be a very hard thing to implement.

Most of them have to put things in a spectrum. From Truth to Pants on Fire. Where is the cut off? How would anyone decide what causes sanction? Do we put the sanctions on a graded system so they can be adjusted for the spectrum how untrue something is? Or is based on its impact? How do we define the impact. From denying you had sex with an intern to invading Iraq is a really big difference.

Are lies free speech?  I would argue we have a right to lie.  But should politicians and government officials be exempted from that right?

It all seems straight forward until you think about it.

Ideally, our outrage and voting would be the ultimate guide.  But as I already mentioned, that won’t ever work.

7 thoughts on “Politicians Lie. Why don’t we care?

  1. You might like Fareed Zakaria’s commentary in the Washington Post today. In a nutshell, he argues that Trump is not a liar but a bullshitter. In order to lie, you need to know what the truth is first. Trump just makes stuff up as he goes along.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For fraud I believe you need to prove you received a benefit by deliberate misrepresentation, getting a job is receiving a benefit. It would also help if the media wasn’t bought and paid for so journalists were allowed to investigate things people actually care about.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What you call lies they would call persuasion and it extreme cases a means to a good end . I suppose we all make excuses for ourselves and believe what we prefer to believe. Trump is convinced he would make a good president and it’s worth telling lies to get there. Lies are part of our culture and the media is awash with them . The new internet culture is no better . I often fall for them especially when they sound true.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right. Lies are a part of our culture. We have a sort of unspoken code for when a lie is acceptable or unacceptable, with a grey area in the middle for good intentions vs bad consequences.

      However, I’m not sure we should leave the politicians to that unspoken cultural acceptance. Particularly when a good portion of their lies are dangerous.

      Politicians are the masters of the “half truth”, where they say something that has factual basis but imply a misleading conclusion from it. I think those are the most damaging things they do.

      Integrity should be one of the primary characteristics of our President or any government official.


      1. Yes but politicians have no real choice to tell the truth would be a disaster for them . When I lie to boost my ego or sell my car it’s not my livelihood at stake . Once in power they can settle down and largely ignore the electorate until the next vote comes around. More at stake more reason to lie.


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