Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Why poliiticans lie.

How do you tell when a politician is lying?  His lips are moving.  How do you tell when a politician is telling the truth?  When he's confessing.

All politicians lie - on both sides.   Republicans can point at Hillary and Obama etc, Democrats can point at all the Bushs, Cheney, Trump, etc.

If they lie so much, why do we keep electing them?   Because we DEMAND they do.  It's our own damn fault. Some of the more honest ones try to avoid lying simply by changing the subject.

Why do we demand they lie? Three very specific reasons.
  1.  We give them no win situations, often set it up with contradictory goals.
  2.  We punish them more for admitting they were wrong than we do for being wrong.  The worst example of this is when we punish them for changing their mind.  Lying goes unpunished, while admitting an error gets you thrown under the bus.
  3.  We demand certainty and the use of hyperbole to prove sincerity.
No win situations are a common situation, often intentionally set up as traps - that's how we get the contradictory goals in the first place.   A good example of this was the Cash for Clunkers program.  in 2009, the US set up a program to give large incentives for people to trade old older cars (25 years+) in for newer vehicles.    It was originally designed to help fight pollution and to limit oil use, as the fuel requirements were for a vehicle of >22 mph for the newer cars and <18 mph for the older ones.  That's basically a 22% improvement.  The cars were disabled to prevent them being resold/re used.

But it was sold to congress and to the American people in part as an economic boost for the car industry.  That would be the secondary goal.  Guess what - it was a lie to convince republicans (pro business, anti-pollution prevention) to vote for it.  And as it was a lie, it had no real economic benefit.   If you check the wiki page, the first thing they talk about is the economic effect - basically null.  But the environmental effect was real - average mph per clunker was 15.8, new cares averaged 25.4, a 61% improvement.  This was a clear win from the point of view of environmentalists, but from a political viewpoint it was a guaranteed no win situation.  Goal posts were ignored, and people attacked the issue on the 'goals' declared by the opponents of the bill, rather than the goals of the proponents.

Politician being punished for admitting they were wrong is very common - they get accused of being a flip-flopper.    George Bush made that wonderful, humble quality into an insult they used to great effect against Kerry.   But we never punished George Bush at all for begin wrong about weapons of Mass Destruction, for being wrong about torture, etc. etc.  The weird thing is the goal of an argument is to CONVINCE someone to change their minds.  Changing their minds is the DESIRED end result, not a bad thing.  Losing an argument does not make you a worse politician, it means you are not perfect and are not an arrogant asshole that refuses to admit you are not perfect (talking to you Trump).

Certainty is practically a requirement.  We never accept "I don't want to raise taxes, and won't do so unless the circumstances warrant it".  Instead we demand "READ MY LIPS, NO NEW TAXES".  Then we slam the honest man for admitting that a recession hit as soon as G. H.  W.  Bush took over after Reagan, so he had to raise taxes.   He never should have had to say say that lie, we made him do it.

We get the politicians we deserve, not the ones we want.   Given our future - Hillary or Donald, that means we deserve to go to bed without dinner.   Hillary was pushed into making extreme statements about her innocence  - all of which she clearly believed, even if she was also clearly wrong.  Donald has discovered the simplest way to get votes is to ignore the truth and instead speak to what people WANT to hear in the most extreme way possible, thereby guaranteeing he will lie.   He can never admit he was wrong, whether it is about a judge or a Jewish star.

Hopefully we at least deserve someone that knows what is possible, even if she doesn't know how to get there, rather than someone that knows what he wants, and doesn't care if it is possible or not.

No comments:

Post a Comment