The National Psychosis of Political Lying
I have long held and written that the United States is in the grip of severe cultural psychosis regarding political lying. However it happened, it’s just accepted that lying in politics is an inherent human character element—one could not participate in politics without lying.
That’s just really sick, really stupid, and very, very unique among human endeavors. Again—want to keep a lover? Don’t lie to her. Want to keep a job? Don’t lie to your boss. Hello? Want to be a basely functioning member of society? Don’t be a liar. Only in politics do we somehow—psychotically—accept it on the fly as okay. It’s not, it’s sick.
Duncan Black displayed the psychosis today when discussing the rules of psycho American punditry:
I'm no purist. There's always been a place for dishonesty in politics. Politicians and political operatives lie. It's part of it.
Duncan is merely being the realist in surveying the political landscape, but it also perpetuates the disease of American political lying.
It is true that bombastic, dramatic, exaggerated rhetoric that can charitably be called “mendacious” has always been a part of American politics. It is also very true that our current atmosphere of lying, its severity, has almost instantly flipped--sometime in the early 1990’s--from not-very-healthy right into the psycho zone.
Our political lying has gone completely out of control in the United States. There has been, in fact, never been a place for it, and what we hurt ourselves with in the past has now bloomed into a raging potentially terminal illness. One need only look at the nightmare fiasco of Iraq, the gross inequality of income, the raging deficit, and terrible environmental degradation the United States inflicts upon itself in its psychosis of red-alert lying to starkly see how ill we truly are.