Schwarz: Pray to God They’re Lying

Inaugurating a new, leftward tilt in my official blogroll, Jonathon Scwarz of A Tiny Revolution offers one of the more-apt metaphors I’ve seen lately: We’ve Got To Pray To God They’re Lying.

Life in the United States now is like being trapped on a jet piloted by people who keep claiming there’s a huge secret tunnel through the Rockies — and they’re going to use it to fly us all through to the other side. You just have to pray to god they know they’re lying.

Note, by the way, that if they actually believe there’s a secret tunnel through the Rockies, then, just like Craig likes to point out about Bush’s pre-war Iraq WMD claims, they’re not really lying. They’re merely mistaken.

Very, very badly mistaken.

Which, as Schwarz is saying, would actually be much, much worse for us passengers.

3 Responses to “Schwarz: Pray to God They’re Lying”

  1. Anonymous Mark Says:

    “They’re merely mistaken”

    Well, er, they might just be full of shit, in other words “Bullshitting”

    Everyone should read Frankfurt’s book “On Bullshit” (it’s short, sweet and on the NYT best sellers list – I even found a copy in my local Barnes and Noble).:

    There’s a review of it here:

    In essence, one can be merely “mistaken” or just be “True to one self” (i.e., sincere). To borrow a couple of quotes

    β€œIt is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth – this indifference to how things really are – that I regard as bullshit.

    …has been a retreat from the discipline required by dedication to the ideal of correctness to a quite different sort of discipline, which is imposed by pursuit of an alternative ideal of sincerity. Rather than seeking primarily to arrive at accurate representations of a common world, the individual turns toward trying to provide honest representations of himself.

    Convinced that reality has no inherent nature, which he might hope to identify as the truth about things, he devotes himself to being true to his own nature. It is as though he decides that since it makes no sense to try to be true to the facts, he must therefore try instead to be true to himself.

    And insofar as this is the case, sincerity itself is bullshit”

    So they might be merely mistaken, or they might be too lazy to examine the facts and are merely being “sincere” to what they believe. But regardless, it’s all a form of bullshit.

    Of course, I could be full of it too.

  2. jbc Says:

    Oh, hey, thanks for reminding me that I meant to read that book (the review of which in Slate I previously linked to in this item: Noah calls bullshit). I’ve ordered it, and look forward to checking it out.

    My personal take on this is that there’s a continuum of behaviors, running from outright “lying” (in which you definitely know what you’re saying is untrue, and you say it anyway in an attempt to mislead), through “bullshitting” (in which you’re maybe not completely sure that what you’re saying is untrue, but you’ve been at least somewhat negligent, and maybe grossly or even wilfully negligent. in terms of not testing it beforehand), to being honestly “mistaken” (in which you actually did take reasonable care, but were misled by others’ dishonestly, or somehow just got the facts wrong). And since different people can have very different standards for what constitutes “negligence” and “reasonable care” in this context, where to place a particular person in these various categories is going to be subject to a fair amount of dispute.

    But at the end of the day, there either is or isn’t a huge secret tunnel through the Rockies, and in some ways the bullshitter and/or the sincere-to-himself disregarder of objective reality is a much more dangerous person to have at the controls than an outright liar who is aware that he’s lying. Which again, was the point of the original quotation. Not that all this fine-grained analysis isn’t interesting, at least until we slam into the mountain.

  3. CyberChas Says:

    What about those who knowingly use lies as a political strategy? Those who believe that “lies in the service of a moral goal are not immoral?”

    Clearly the Republican Administration (with the complicit cooperation of almost 95% of the print and broadcast media) are living the strategy of the BIG LIE, in which you simply repeat whatever you WANT to be the truth as often as possible so that it is heard so many times in so many venues coming from so many different people that those without sufficient critical thinking skills come to believe that the BIG LIE is actually TRUTH.

    How else can we explain a majority of the American People holding a point of view regarding Iraq & 9/11 for which there is ZERO evidence and which was only propagated by this Republican administration repeating through dozens of different voices (echoed through the Right Wing Media Spin Machine) the same lies over and over and over again.

    They are not just flying planes into the Rockies, they are convincing OTHERS to fly their own planes into the Rockies without having to get on board. In fact, now that I look at NorthWesten’s flight maps, it almost looks like there IS a tunnel. Hmm. Maybe I was wrong all along about this gravity and mass thing.

    Personally, I think bullshit is way too NICE a word to describe the vile lies that the Republican cabal is spewing day in and day out.

    But, that’s just me. And like Anon Mark says, I might be bs’ing.

    Charlie L
    Portland, Oregon

    The Days of Decision are coming: We are frogs begin slow-cooked, and by the time we realize the water is boiling, we won’t have the strength to jump out of the pot. Keep an eye out for your “jumping moment” and we’ll all jump together. FROG FREEDOM!!!

    The Republicans in power have lied and innocent people died.
    The Republicans in power have stolen and given to their rich friends, leaving just an IOU for our kids to pay off.
    The Republicans in power have cheated and claim they are the “moral” ones.
    We must flush all Republicans out of power in ’06 and ’08.
    Take back American Democracy. Don’t vote Republican.

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