Sunday, April 15, 2007

My Response to the Question of Why Politicians Lie

Politicians lie because we as a country have lost our way morally. Sadly, this lost direction includes the so-called Christian Right along with every other self-identified group in the country.
In a society bereft of moral clarity, the driving motivation for political activism becomes "me-centric". Certainly it is the natural tendency for each member of mankind to look out for his or her own self-interests. That is part of the self-preservative mechanism that we all possess. However, that self-preservation quickly expands to include factors beyond self that impact self -- sometimes indirectly. When that self-interest is bound by clear moral boundaries, society organizes itself in a manner which embraces those values. When there are multiple, but limited moral paradigms, society will organize around commonality within those multiple paradigms. When there are no clear moral boundaries, society will slowly devolve into chaos until moral clarity, or majority is achieved, typically because some clearly defined group steps into that vacuum. Our country currently lack a common definition of morality.
In such an environment bereft of moral clarity, there will arise individuals whose primary motivating factor is the quest for power or influence. With few exceptions, this describes our current political slate of candidates. In that environment, most of the political candidates who rise to prominence will do so because of their ability to convince the greatest number of voters that they will adequately, if not perfectly, represent their self-interests. Since these politicians typically possess little moral clarity themselves, they will adjust their positions to fit their current audience in an attempt to sway their vote. This closely represents a moral-relativistic worldview. Such a worldview espouses that there is no ultimate truth, therefore, I cannot lie. Political positioning suited to a specific audience is merely that, it has no real meaning. What is said is done only to garner votes and therefore ultimately, power.
If the politician is bound by clear moral boundaries that include the Judeo-Christian prohibitions against lying, there will be a greater likelihood of clear positioning in spite of the specific audience. If the politician were Muslim, there would be prohibition against lying to Islamic believers, but no prohibition against lying to "infidels".
Lying is a part of the basic character of some individuals. Lying should reveal to the informed voter at least some facet of the basic moral character of the politician in question. Part of the difficulty though involves the ability to discern whether a statement is truly a lie. This is due in large part to the media which covers the politicians and often distorts their statements. The distortion is due to the moral-relativistic worldview of many within the media. In this scenario you may have a lie (by the media) distorting a lie (by the politician). It is totally manipulative on the part of each entity in an effort to sway the voters according to the individual self-interest.
Ultimately, lying is the result of the morally relativistic nature of our society. That nature, unless checked, will lead ultimately to a chaotic vacuum into which will step a morally absolute-centered group such as the radical Islamic sects that are rising all across Europe and in some areas of this country.


Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

The world has always been pretty immoral and there have always been lying politicians but I think the USA got worse in the 1930s when Democrats started lying about what the real agenda is - socialism. Since that Big Lie, they have set the rules of engagement and we are trying to compete with them in the atmosphere of total deceit that they have created.

Incognito said...

Most people, not just politicians, find it way too easy to lie. The Hindus have it right with their belief in Karma. We have "as you sow", but it doesn't direct our lives quite as forcefully as belief in Karma. If we all realized that everything we do, say etc. has a consequence, perhaps we would be less likely to lie etc.