On Lying— A New Series, Reconnecting with Morality


No, this is not a primer of how to lie, it is a look-back to a time, just a couple of years ago before there was fake news when the public’s expectation was that the president was generally honest.  Yes, there have been numerous exceptions, Nixon and Watergate, Clinton and Monica, Johnson and Viet Nam, Reagan and Alzheimer’s, Roosevelt and polio and many more.  But we have never had a President who is pathological liar, whose every utterance is completely made up.  Nor have we ever experienced a fantasy world where White House sycophants aide, abet and support the wholesale abandonment of truth.  

Does it mean that these Oval Office staffers, most of the Congressional GOP, the cabinet and the Vice President feel compelled to support their Commander in Chief even if they must vacate their own morality?  I guess so, but then one must question their personal and professional ethics.  Further, that they claim to serve their country by lying for the liar only compounds their obscenity.   This massive cover-up by this collection of invertebrates, the constant dishonest rhetoric and diatribe they use to shore up this feeble, ignorant fraud is changing the collective memory of the public who recall when leadership had a moral component. 

There are surprising numbers of Americans who are not outraged that reality and veracity are no longer implicit in the President’s message.  It is as if they have been drinking from the same poisoned well.

 The following excerpt is from Lessons on Morals by Julia M. Dewey, 1899:

A person may be honest and, on account of his lack of knowledge, not truthful.  Truth is the perception of things just as they are; therefore to be truthful we must have knowledge.  According to this view it may seem a difficult matter to be truthful at all times.  From our own observations we can learn but a very small part of all that we need to know and we must depend mainly on the report of facts from others, and upon the great body of knowledge already accepted as truth. But we should be cautions in our statements, and when in doubt make a thorough investigation of a subject before we speak decidedly.  Truth is rarely on the surface of things.  We should not judge altogether from appearances, and when it is necessary for us to make definite declarations we should dig below the crust of appearances to the solid rock of facts on which truth rests.  There are no grades of truth.  “Truth,” says Ruskin, “is the one virtue of which there are no degrees.  Truth and falsehood are widely separated, with no connecting link.  Truth is reality.”

From time to time, I will recollect and write about the recent past in my singular effort to replace lies with truth and illusion with reality.  In dealing with dishonesty, whether in power or not, we the public have our own responsibilities to ourselves and to each other.  To look the other way and pretend that duplicity and corruption are a normal state, surrenders to the tyranny of a lie.