Saturday, September 6, 2008

A special class of liars

When we were growing up we were taught that honesty was the best policy. And telling the truth was a big part of that policy. Yeah, there were exceptions that were allowed like when Grandma asked how you liked her raison cookies. But overall you were expected to be truthful. Later on you found that indeed this honesty policy served you well in both your personal life and professional career; it is much easier to keep stuff straight and your memory accurate with the truth.

There are people who live their lives with obvious exceptions to this truth rule. Crooks, con artists, most lawyers, many home mortgage agents or brokers, some CEOs, many bloggers, and a few preachers come to mind. As for the crooks, con-artists and lawyers we don’t usually pile their instances of lying onto our already poor opinion of them as we know in the case of the crooks that they mainly lie to protect themselves; and with the con-artists and lawyers the lies are simply tools of their professions. We are not so forgiving when it comes to the home mortgage agents, CEOs and preachers. The lying mortgage agents who lied homeowners out of their homes and put our economy into a tailspin are now seen as just one step above child molesters; just ask any family that lost their home to a sub prime loan. Many of the lying CEOs would be looked on as pariahs, except that we never seem to come into contact with them to offer that scorn. We see the lying preachers as being hypocritical and especially disappointing. No one much cares about the lies of the blogger as we know they can’t be trusted anyway.

You have probably already noticed that I have excluded politicians from the list above. I didn’t forget them but feel that they deserve a category of their own. Why do they deserve such special treatment? Yes it is true that they use their lies as tools of their trade; but classifying them with the con-artists and lawyers seems to fall short of the mark. And indeed their lies are many times hypocritical and disappointing, but they still don’t seem to fit in with the lying home mortgage agents, lying CEOs and lying preachers.

You may have guessed that the answer is that they fit into both categories; and I agree that they do, but there is still a better reason.

How many times have you heard Barack Obama say that Mr. McCain had defined the middle-class as anyone making fewer than five million dollars a year? In reality Mr. McCain was making a joke, got a laugh and followed up by saying, "But seriously ..."

And how many times has John McCain claimed that Mr. Obama’s health care plan would force small businesses to cut jobs and put a bureaucrat between you and your doctor. But in fact, the plan actually exempts small businesses and allows those who have health insurance to keep their private coverage.

Incidentally, if you don’t like these two examples go to where you can find your own.

How many times? Even the crook will invent new lies when he learns that the old ones are disproved, unless of course he is a psychopath or is mentally challenged. The con-artist knows that he must frequently change up his lies or he will soon be out of business. Many of the lying home mortgage agents are now indeed out of business. Lying CEOs are forced out with their golden parachutes and the lying preachers offer up their mea culpas and usually keep on preaching although a few do end up in jail.

Why are politicians in a class of liars by themselves? Who else could offer up the same disproved lies day after day and still look us straight in the eye?

Wayne Nolen