Grand Old Prevaricators

No effort will be made to offer a compilation of Republican lies for the purposes of this fair missive, such a compilation suitable for a doorstop volume not a blog post. I’m going to rely on a well informed readership aware that Republican lies are emitted in the ecosystem with a regularity that approximates plant photosynthesis guaranteeing oxygen.

But there are those with an inquisitive or a metaphysical nature who may occasionally wonder why or how Republicans lie so pervasively and with such apparent effortlessness, unencumbered by burdens of conscience or even basic propriety. Some may ponder the prevailing Republican moral system, one in which there is a great deal of system and not a lot of anything recognizable as moral.

It should first be stipulated as a matter of fairness that a genuine segment of Republicanism soaking in the ambient effluvia from talk radio and Fox News honestly embraces a classic oeuvre of the non factual, the American right that rare societal subculture in which the ignorant are the cream of the crop. So in attempting to understand chronic Republican prevarication it is reasonable to accept that one explanation is that a fair proportion of them simply are that misinformed.

For example, many on the Dark Side hold with theological conviction the belief that reducing taxes will increase revenue. It is true that lowering taxes sometimes will stimulate revenues, though as a percentage of GDP there will be a great deal less, and of course the government will collect anywhere from 90% to 100% less than it would were there not a cut. Faith of course is no substitute for the quest for knowledge, though for many Republicans it will have to do.

Two other reasons though can be offered as explanatory of this Republican culture of dissimulation. The first is that a lie is perceived as making liberals a great deal madder than a garden variety counter argument might, simply because both know what is said is not true, the Republican willingness to say it anyhow exponentially increasing the anger on the other side. Or at least that is the motivating belief. Anyone who has debated with a range of Republicans on a regular basis, in other words, beyond brief televised segments on a studio set stocked with hired mouths understands this.

I would suggest in fact that it would be impossible to overestimate the degree to which angering the opposition is an animating force in the Republican physiological and psychological makeup, an acute emotional need for no small number indeed.  And while liberals more often than not take the lie as another opportunity to ridicule the haphazard relationship of Republicans to factuality or truth, there are among liberals the more delicate or shall we say sophisticated who will go livid.

One can see this acute emotional need fully on display in the behavior of for instance, Ann Coulter. If satisfying that emotional need is paramount, it is clearly more efficacious to lie, as long as you don’t mind becoming Ann Coulter.

The other principal explanation of this Republican vocation for lying would be the pervasive Republican equating of politics with war, and not simply war, but total war. And there are no rules in war of course. The presumption necessary in this attitude naturally is the utter certainty one almost by genetic predetermination resides among the angels, that one embodies the good and true, and that in the battle with evil not only is all permissible but fidelity to the cause demands it.

Not exactly, technically, literally, precisely true? Beside the point. One utilizes tactics reliably successful when in the midst of conflict over the nation’s fate, no second thought to be given or ever considered. Misgivings is just another word for surrender. And Republicans do have a truly remarkable and demonstrated talent for compartmentalization, contextualizing aggressive or downright dishonest practices as “just business” or “part of business,” or as the case may be, “politics” or “only politics”.

While some may point out that a political faction regularly taking more opportunities to congratulate itself than the entertainment fold, in this case for its loud championing of conventional morality, conveniently does not find said conventional morality pertinent to a vast expanse of human experience on a daily basis, inhabiting morality-free zones an extraordinary amount of the time. This alone is and always will be a source of grand amusement to the rest of us, an unintentional gift to liberals, and to all proud peoples of the reality-based community. It is something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and every other.


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