AMMONNEWS - By Abdulillah - We are seeing the straying from truth is common amongst nations and leaders today. Itseems to roll off the tongue with little or no consequence to being offended or even aroused when caught and faced with the facts.
The fact of the matter is that being called a liar seems to roll off their backs as if they were ducks in water. This unabashed arrogance seems to be what we are going to face in the future.
A few years back during the Bush Administration, when faced with the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and when the version of history being peddled as fact by the neo-conservative cabal,who werecalling to arms and nation building imperialism, an anonymous Bush official stated, with much arrogance, when questioned by academics, journalists and others about their positions; "That’s not the way the world really works anymore…. 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. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
What’s compelling about this statement, is the opening “That’s not the way the world really works anymore”; fast forward to today, where lying seems to be part of the repertoire of today’s policy makers. Forget about the truth… lie, in fact its incumbent upon you to lie or fabricate “alternative facts” or untruths to uphold a wrong position, many of which have little or no consequence to national security.
Many will argue this was common before as well, and I would argue it may have been used however there was some serious consequences to being caught, where-as today it is celebrated both by the person telling it and those who believe it.
Why is this of concern you may state? Well it is of concern because such actions will result into complete lack of trust in the institutions of the state and those that run it. The ordinary citizen will eventually develop an immunity and not be offended by the lying, while the ignorant will believe it and the entire government will be looked upon as a joke led by jokers; where nothing will be believed, and the institutions will wither away where everyone will be following his own truths and chaos ensues.
We are told and in many cases we later find out that Governments lie, they have done so before and will do so again. Many intellectuals will state as times governments need to lie when it is morally right to do so. Some academics will state that citizens need not judge their leaders by the “truthfulness of what is being said and more on the outcomes of their policies”. This argument stems originally from Machiavelli who stated:
…a prudent ruler cannot, and must not, honor his word when it places him at a disadvantage and when the reasons for which he made his promise no longer exist. If all men were good, this precept would not be good; but because men are wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you, you need not keep your word to them (Machiavelli (1981) pp.99-100).He further states "But one must know how to colour one’s actions and to be a great liar and deceiver" Machiavelli does not see the political leader who lies as a bad person or even against the interests of the people. He continues to state in the same sentence above "Men are so simple, and so much as creatures of circumstance, that the deceiver will always find someone ready to be deceived" (p.100).
It is further argued by some academics, that in politics absolute truth does not exist. That’s it’s a healthier policy to have half-truths/les, spins, rhetoric, or take positions that hide the truth then having one (1) Big Fat Lie or One Single Truth. The argument for this is that there can never be ONE CORRECT LIE or SINGLE TRUTH and none can exist, “where one person or party has a monopoly on one single truth or claim that with them or him lies the one authentic truth”. This they find scarier than say a bunch of ½ truths or lies. That governments are not set up like courts of law” where we swear to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. That politics “is not the arena in which absolute truth is the goal…but is made up of promises about the future, and we don’t know what truth of the future is going to be”.
They further argue that if politicians were to always tell the truth to the public then in cases where the withholding the truth is more necessary, say as when defending a nation at time of war or when citizens lives are at stake, it may be necessary to withhold or even tell a lie.
Listen, I understand the nuances of rhetoric, I also understand the nuances of semi-truths when it comes to national security and life and death. But I do not understand outright lying now or ever or that no braking system needs to exist as say in Machiavellian world. I find it defeatist to believe that lying is ever right. It is as easy to state in matters of security that this question or concern is a matter of national security and will be handled as such, until such time that it can be revealed to the public in its entirety.
It is also wise NOT to be the only one withholding the truth or the consequences of the truth. That in all national policies or matters of security, the people’s representatives, and the judiciary must have a roll in its adherence or justification thereby creating a braking system for outright lying that maybe very detrimental in the long run.
Lying begets more lying, eventually leading to deterioration of government rule, and in more serious cases, vast harm can be inflicted upon a society, such as in Nazi Germany and the old USSR where the one big fat lie was told and told again until it was believed, and when questioned the questioners were hunted down, thrown into jails to rot or murdered.
I pray that we do not follow this warped logic that lying in the political arena is justified, especially when they are not done to avert some graver evil, and where the good consequences outweigh the bad consequences …that “the end justified the means”. I cannot believe that morality in politics can be ignored. That State secrets or public security should be used to cover up lies committed. That in every case one needs not to lie and in every case when it comes to national security it must be justified by not only the administrative branch, but the legislative and judicial branches of government as a braking system, to limit the amount of damage that could occur to the public, and even then, silence is better than half-truths or lying.
God Bless Jordan and its People