FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Moment of Truth

by ELAINE CASSEL

The media is filled with Republican pundits, right-wring Christians, and arrogant politicians lambasting Patrick Fitzgerald for prosecuting Scooter Libby for lying to the FBI and the grand jury. Not a “real” crime, sniffs Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who, surely, being from Texas, must know a lot about lies. Big lies, and how to tell them.

Why is it that these Republicans choose not to embrace the truth, and telling the truth, as a revered “family value” or American “virtue”?

It’s because lying is part and parcel of their overarching policy–a policy that is to its core, aggressive, yet weak, self-serving and subversive, manipulative, and antisocial.

Though much research has been devoted to detecting deception, almost no one has studied the psychology of lying. Patrick Fitzgerald eloquently stated that lying is antithetical to the workings of the civil or criminal justice system. As a lawyer, nothing is more odious to me than a lying client, judge, cop, juror, or witness. They mock the entire legal system. They attack it, they subvert it. They derail justice.

So, too, do our lying leaders mock, subvert, and derail the very foundation upon which democratic institutions are built–the truth.

Lying is an act of aggression–against the recipient of the lie. Lies hurt people, they hurt companies and shareholders (have you forgotten Enron?), and they hurt relationships. But the liars does not care who or what they hurt.

Lying is also an act of weakness. The liar is unwilling to bear the responsibility of the truth-telling. Lying is the lazy way, the selfish way.

Lying is an antisocial act, injuring the person lied to and any relationships binding liar and victim. In the Libby matter, media stars Tim Russert, Matt Cooper, and Judith Miller were lied about. They don’t seem to mind, perhaps because they are liars’ enablers who call themselves journalists. Not once has Russert exclaimed against Libby crediting Russert as being his source for the Wilson-Plame connection.

But Patrick Fitzgerald didn’t like being lied to. Fitzgerald knows that lying is self-serving. The liars put their his self-interest above that of government they work for, the people they are supposed to serve.

Lying subverts relationships. Once lied to–and we have been lied to over and over and over again by Bush and all who pass on his lies–we put no trust in the liar or the relationship. If we trust our government today, if we believe a word Bush or his cronies (including his media cronies) say, we are the bigger fools.

Lying is manipulative. The damage done by Bush and company’s lying to manipulate the economy, the war, public opinion, and its own people, is unimaginable. We can’t begin to estimates how much we and the rest of the world have been harmed by their lies.

In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find much of anything Bush has told the truth about in the past five years. I could fill an encyclopedia with the lies told day in and day out. Lies which are repeated to us as the truth by the lying press.

Lying is cruel. To the men and women headed for war–you are saving the US from imminent destruction. To Hurricane Katrina victims–help is on the way.

There is a reason why the religious right does not embrace truth-telling as one of the “values” and “virtues” of good Christians: it is because that version of Christianity, their politics, is aggressive, antisocial self-serving, manipulative, subversive, and cruel.

Think of the lies they have told senior citizens about the so-called Medicare prescription drug “benefit;” the lies about the terrorist “plots” they have disrupted; the lies about emergency preparedness; the lies that Bush is “spreading freedom” across the world. Lying is antithetical to freedom.

Jesus, Bush’s favorite philosopher, said “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” This part of Jesus Bush does not embrace. And with good reason.

The Bush administration, and its loyal followers who fill the airwaves with their venal lies, know that as long as we accept the lies we are in chains. We cannot be free.

And chained we are. As good as Bush and company are at lying to us, we are better at lying to ourselves. Sigmund Freud’s word for that was “denial” Americans are in denial in order to spare themselves the painful truth that we have a liar at the helm of the world’s superpower. The liar not only hires liars, he lauds them, as Bush did Libby, as a great American.

The American people seem content to turn a blind eye to their government’s subversion of our Constitution and laws, dismissal of its obligations to us, and manipulation of and aggression against us. And turn a deaf ear to its lies.

So we lie to ourselves, because we can’t bear the truth.

ELAINE CASSEL practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia and teaches law and psychology. She doesn’t like being lied to. Her new book The War on Civil Liberties: How Bush and Ashcroft Have Dismantled the Bill of Rights, is published by Lawrence Hill. She can be reached at: ecassel1@cox.net

 

 

May 05, 2016
David L. Glotzer
Welcome to Fortified Europe: the Militarization of Europe’s Borders
Adam Szetela
Beyoncé’s “Formation” and the Boutique Activism of the Left
Bruce Lerro
Lost at Sea: Left Liberals Have No Party
Paul Cochrane
Hot Air in the Saudi Desert: a Kingdom in Descent?
Brian Terrell
My Visit to a Las Vegas Jail
Judith Deutsch
The Military’s “Securitization” of Climate Change
Phyllis Bennis
Kunduz Bombing: Proof the Pentagon Should Not Be Allowed to Investigate Itself for War Crimes
Chad Nelson
When Compassion is Terrorism: Animal Rights in a Post-911 World
Dan Arel
Making Sanders’ Dream a Reality Through Political Activism
Kent Paterson
Ten Years Later: Reflections on the Legacies of Immigrant Spring
Serge Halimi
Why Firefighters are Against Free Trade
Andrew Stewart
Green Bernie or Green Party Machine?
Binoy Kampmark
Yuri Gagarin in Space: the Politics of Cosmic Discovery
Hayes Rowan
This Naming of Things
May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s China-Bashing
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail