ambivalent imbroglio home

« Liars | Main | Big Media Trouble »

May 13, 2003

Living With Lies

Speaking of lies, a few weeks ago Robert Scheer penned a good meditation on the question I mentioned a while back: What should we think of the fact that our government no longer even pretends to be telling the truth? Scheer argues that there's probably no more frightening development in recent times; further, he calls Yubbledew Inc., a propaganda machine, and denounces Thomas Friedman's idea that we can shrug off as "hype" the lie that Iraq was an imminent threat to the U.S. and world because of its massive stocks of WMDs:

Hype? Is that how we are now to rationalize the ever more obvious truth that the American people and their elected representatives in Congress were deliberately deceived by the president as to the imminent threat that Iraq posed to our security? Is this popular acceptance of such massive deceit exemplary of the representative democracy we are so aggressively exporting -- nay, imposing -- on the world?

It is expected that despots can force the blind allegiance of their people to falsehoods. But it is frightening in the extreme when lying matters not at all to a free people. The only plausible explanation is that the tragedy of 9/11 so traumatized us that we are no longer capable of the outrage expected of a patently deceived citizenry. The case for connecting Saddam Hussein with that tragedy is increasingly revealed as false, but it seems to matter not to a populace numbed by incessant government propaganda.

Is Scheer right? Have we lost the ability to be outraged? Are we so jaded we just can't force ourselves to care anymore? It's easier not to care, easier to believe Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass (see last post) are "bad apples," easier to believe the President was really trying not to lie, or never would have done so knowingly. To confront these lies is to admit the serious degree to which our vaunted "democracy" is broken. It's easier to do the Scarlett O'Hara and just say "I'll think about it tomorrow." As Cipher says:

You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.

Posted May 13, 2003 09:33 AM | general politics

about   ∞     ∞   archives   ∞   links   ∞   rss
This template highly modified from The Style Monkey.