An Ideology Of Lying

It is not news to anybody that Bush followers lie repeatedly and aggressively. But what does continues to amaze is that there is literally no limit on

It is not news to anybody that Bush followers lie repeatedly and aggressively. But what does continues to amaze is that there is literally no limit on their willingness to do so even when -- especially when -- it requires them to ignore and contradict even the most glaring facts which everyone can see, as clear as day, right in front of our faces.

In this superb post, Digby uses two examples from this past week -- the John Kerry "controversy" and the publication by the Bush administration of how-to nuclear documents -- to describe precisely how this process works.

And the Editors provides the illustrated cartoon version of what Digby is describing -- a cartoon which would be hilarious if it didn't so accurately convey the process which has destroyed our nation's political dialogue and enabled the most radical and destructive policies imaginable.

This is why I spent the last couple of days focused so heavily on Michael Ledeen's weekend lie in National Review that he "opposed the military invasion of Iraq before it took place" even though he repeatedly wrote and said the exact opposite. It's not because Ledeen himself matters per se, but because this straightforward incident illustrates the dynamic so perfectly.

Ledeen has no compunction at all about blatantly lying even in the face of a literal wave of conclusive evidence showing that he is lying -- and his National Review editors such as Rich Lowry are content to remain silent about it because it's not news to them that their magazine is printing demonstrable falsehoods. It doesn't even warrant a response, let alone a correction, retraction or apology. That's because lying has become not only a perfectly acceptable tactic, but one that is central to their movement. Lying is not something they do sometimes It is who they are. Lying is a central and consciously adopted part of their ideology.

The grandfather of neoconservatism, Irving Kristol, long ago explained the "justification" for lying in an interview with Reason's Ronald Bailey (h/t Mona):

There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people . . . There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work.


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It is from that rotted Stalinist root that the right-wing Ideology of Lying emerged, as embodied by the now-infamous warning issued to Ron Suskind by a Bush "senior advisor" after Suskind wrote an article about Karen Hughes which displeased the Leader: ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out."

The authoritarian Bush movement is so Wise (in the case of neoconservatives) and so Good (in the case of the religious fundamentalists who are their loyal comrades) that everything, including the most blatant lies, is not only justifiable, but necessary. Reality can and must be fundamentally distorted for our own good. As Mona put it -- and as the two posts linked above illustrate -- "for neoconservatives [which has subsumed the so-called "conservative" movement itself], falsehood is a feature, not a bug."

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