Lies, Damn Lies and Politicians

It's the Truth Because We Say It Is

Ever since Senator John McCain indulged himself in last Thursday’s Senate floor rant mocking the Tea Party constituency, there has been continuing criticism of Congressional members who refuse to compromise.

McCain was challenged publicly for his disparaging remarks, and in an apparent move to pacify Tea Party supporters, attenuated his Congressional statements by saying he only meant to convey his disagreement with the obstinacy of this caucus.

On Sunday, Senator Jon Kyl sort of agreed. He thought it was a shame that a few senators “standing on principle” could not be budged from their position when most everyone else thought differently.

There it is: the “might-is-right” argument. This is what politicians mean by the democratic process. The majority has the correct answer because they physically outnumber you.

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) had another term for it: “lies”.

In contemporary terminology, Tolstoy argued that from the first time people got together in groups and placed authority in the group rather than in their own reason and conscience, they produced lies leading to the destruction of human life. Moreover, he added that the miserable practice of these damn lies continues unchecked to the present.

For Tolstoy, the present was over a century ago. Today a lie is still a lie. And, a politician is still a politician.

©Copyright 2011 Edward Podritske

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