How Lies Work – More Reflections on the Cummings Situation

May 30, 2020 by

by David Robertson, theweeflea:

You’re a blatant liar”.  It’s not an accusation one hears every day.  At least not since I stopped reading Secular Scotland’s or Richard Dawkin’s FB page where I was often accused of ‘lying for Jesus”.   In a post-modern society it should be encouraging that people are so concerned about truth but I’m afraid ‘truth’ tends to mean ‘what I like and agree with’.  It’s a bit like one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.  Truth becomes what we believe.

The Importance of Truth

I also find it fascinating that the Bible lays such stress upon truth.  The devil is ‘the father of lies’, ‘the accuser’, whereas Jesus is ‘the truth’, the judge.  To tell lies is to do the devil’s work.   The tongue is a deadly poison.  And the keyboard.  No Christian ever wants to be accused of telling lies – but if we know our bibles and our own hearts and if we are being honest – then all of us lie.  We want to avoid it but sometimes it seems almost second nature.

No More Politicians?

That’s what makes it more than a little bizarre that if a politician is caught lying, then they are no longer fit to be a politician.   In that case we would have no politicians.  I’m not being disparaging to politicians – I believe that all humans lie.   I also accept that if a politician continually lies then they are not fit for office.  But the notion that if, after trawling through someone’s social media for years you come across some plagiarism, or lie, then they must immediately resign, is ridiculous.  In practice of course that is not what happens.  Usually if it is the politician, I don’t like then they must resign because they lied and have no ‘integrity’ but if the politician is ‘my guy’ then he/she is excused.

Mea Culpa

So back to this week.  I was accused of blatantly lying because I complained about Ian Blackford going to a radio show in Portree in the midst of lockdown.  He didn’t.  I was wrong.  For which I apologise.  It would have been a blatant lie if I had made it up, or if I knew it to be false.  But I reported it after checking with two different sources – and we were all wrong.  There is a fundamental difference between being wrong and telling a lie.  But not in the modern world.

It’s interesting also to see how quickly the charge of liar is thrown at our politicians.  Nicola is a liar.  Boris is a liar.  Keir is a liar. In the words of the old Psalm – all men (and women) liars be!  Except of course the person who is accusing others of being liars!  But this cheapening of the concept of lying does real harm.  Because when people do tell blatant lies (like Donald Trump) then they can get away with it.

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