I read this all the time, even out of election season.
Most of the time, the person yelling about this is hot under the collar because they despise (or even hate, dangerous for them) the politician or candidate Because They Lied.
First off, there is a legal definition of a lie, and it is a lot less expansive than some people think. A lie is a falsehood uttered by somebody
who knows that it is a falsehood at the time that they utter it
. Note the last part of the sentence.
That makes a lot of difference. If I guess that the stock price for a corporation is $10, and say so, and it turns out to be $15, that is not me lying. It is me being mistaken. If I know in advance that the stock price is $15, but I state that it is $10, then I just told a lie.
So, a lot of people’s claimed lies are nothing of the sort.
But moving on, you just discovered that politicians lie.
Well, No Shit Sherlock.
The sky is blue.
The Sun rises in the East.
Those three statements are always going to be true.
Politicians are salesmen. They want to sell Them and Their Program to You. So, like all salesmen, they talk up their product, denigrate the opposing product, and shade the truth in their favor.
When I read people ranting about politicians lying, I laugh inwardly. I laugh because politicians, like all salespeople, are acutely aware of what works when selling stuff.
They lie because it works. If lying and being found out resulted in their never winning another election, they would become honest. Very very quickly.
So, when people complain that politicians lie, that is not really what they are saying.
What they are really saying is “We The People let politicians lie to us”.
When I see electors buying propositions from political candidates, I often alternate between worry, amusement and outright amazement. One thing I realized a long time ago is that many electors will cheerfully accept total bullshit from political candidates that they would never accept from anybody actually trying to sell them something for use in their household. If a salesperson spent their entire time slamming rival products without talking about their own product, most people would be wary and rightfully so. However, electors let politicians do that all the time. It is as if all normal critical thinking facilities get suspended when it comes to making electoral judgments.
Effectively, We The People have proven that we just do not take electoral politics seriously. If we did, we would have a better class of politician.
We have choices. Big choices. We can vote for people who in a number of cases have proved that they are liars, or where independent scrutiny has proven that they are liars. If we do that, we really have no right to complain about the outcomes. We are enablers.
Or we can stop voting for people who have no credibility. Credibility is more than not lying by the way. The subject of another post for another time.
Here’s the bottom line. You don’t have to buy what they are selling. Voting is not compulsory. You can pass, or you can vote for some other political salesperson.
So, as you can tell, complaining that politicians lie is, for me, like hearing somebody acting surprised that water flows downhill. ’twas ever thus, and the only way you stop it is to stop voting for liars. Voting for Your Party’s Liar doesn’t cut it either. That simply makes you a partisan follower, an apologist for the continuing role of lying in the political process. And no, rationalizing it on the grounds that Your Guy tells fewer lies than the Other Guy doesn’t make the issue go away. You’re still enabling the pathology.