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

 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail