Friday, July 14, 2006

Another Inconvenient Truth

From Greg Harris at The Talent Show:

I hate to think that it's come to this, but it really does feel like the notion of making a ...cogent argument using logic and unquestionable facts seems...naive.

If you wanted to remind the world that 2+2=4, these days you might have to deal with the Arithmetic Study Society who insists that there's growing evidence among mathematicians that 2+2=5. We don't know for sure yet, they'll tell us, so until we've got all the facts, the brainless media will do their best to play the centrist role and think that saying 2+2=4½ is a responsible position. After all, they can't uphold their journalistic duty to avoid objectivity if they choose sides in political battles.

Of course, this just enables the biggest problem of them all : the intellectual laziness of the American public.

Finally. A metaphor that puts all this into context. Harris wrote this after reviewing Billmon's review of An Inconvenient Truth.

Which got me thinking about a post I wrote over on Burned Out Paranoid Democrat back in May of '05. The reason people keep disbelieving Inconvenient Truths is because someone else is always out there spewing Comfortable Lies:

...many people's vision of America is the one they learned from their sixth grade teacher. The one where we were always the good guys. The one where Pilgrims brought civilization to the savage Indians. The one where the cavalry always rode to the rescue. The one where Henry Ford modernized mass production of cars, making them affordable for everyone. The one where hard work will get you ahead, no matter who you are.

And there's truth in all those statements. But not the whole truth. They don't want to know about the America where we were sometimes the greedy, awful bastards. The one where the Pilgrims actively sought to destroy native cultures. The one where the cavalry knowingly sold smallpox-infested blankets to the Indians. The one where Henry Ford was a vicious union-buster and rabid anti-Semite. The one where no matter how hard some people work, they will find it nearly impossible to earn a living wage.

Painful truths. Ones that make people ask questions about their country. Difficult questions. And many don't want to do that.

So, with the help of spinmeisters, revisionist historians, and other nameless, faceless people, comfortable lies are created, and circulated. The internet gives them lives of their own. Fat, drug-addled radio personalities throw them out. They sound plausible, reasonable. And, they sound like the America their sixth-grade teacher told them about.



There really were WMD's in Iraq: Comfortable lie. The judges who ruled in favor of Michael Schaivo were activist judges: Comfortable lie. We're one nation under God, and that God is the traditional Judeo-Christian God: Comfortable lie. Homosexuality is a choice: Comfortable lie.

Reading the post, and the ones around it, it's hard to believe how much bullshit we've let get past us. How many lies this administration's pulled over on us, got caught doing, and yet they're still in power. So many progressives, liberals and Democrats are looking forward to the November elections, and I'm sitting here wondering what 2+2=5 crap the Rovians will pull this time. Has America been beaten up enough by these guys to act yet?



Blogger indygirl said...


2:34 PM  
Blogger James said...

Sometimes I wonder if America is like those abused women who make up excuses for the bastards that beat them.

How do we as a people say, "I fell down the stairs. No, really."?

By voting Republican.

11:58 PM  
Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

We Americans do have an amazing ability to disbelieve the obvious truths laid out in front of us, like how the world is about to end in Lebanon as we speak .. Mr. Gore's movie has somehow finally made it to my little corner of the world this week . I'm going to see it today and really looking forward to it

6:51 AM  
Blogger Cranky Yankee said...

I think we have seen the start of it. Gay Marriage, Flag burning, Terra plots foilded, inflamed war everywhere, etc. I expect them to drag out the old classic threat level any time now.

Their plan can be best expressed in haiku.

Scary scary world
Our values under attack
Vote Republican

7:47 AM  
Blogger mal said...

lies are harmless in and of themselves. Unfortunately, folks have a tendency to take actions based on those lies (like vote) and the results can be disasterous

8:24 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

I could not disagree more, Mal. A lie is defined as an untrue statement intended to deceive.

There is an action involved. The action is designed to protect someone from the consequences of their actions, or to cause an action based on a false pretense.

By your reasoning, you could also say plutonium is harmless.


8:41 AM  
Blogger mal said...

BP- yup you could say plutonium is harmless and some one would make earring out of them. It is the action based on bad information that is damaging.

I suspect we may be in violent agreement here. Neither of us care for lies and I think we agree the consequences of lies are damaging.

For myself, I always found the truth easier to remember

8:30 PM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

The difference being, plutonium merely exists.

Lies have to be brought, consciously, into being.

The act of lying is in and of itself, malicious. Lies are designed to prevent the normal course of action from occurring.

When it's uttered by a three-year-old, we do our best to correct the bad behavior.

When it's done by a group of businessmen and politicians with the hope that millions are decieved into a course of action that will benefit the liars without concern for others, it is repugnant and immoral at best.

And you, Mal, are blaming the people who bought into the lie, not the liars themselves.

How can you do that?


9:17 PM  
Blogger mal said...

BP, I am not assigning responsibility to the people who bought into the lie for whatever reasons. My point was that the damage occurs when action is taken on information provided by the lie.

There is ZERO doubt in my mind that the evil occurs when the lie is promulgated.

8:13 AM  

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