Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Political Lie

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  • Kracklite,

    Still more random observations…

    “If circumstances change so that a promise must be broken, does that make a lie of the original promise?”

    Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

    Burke would agree that intention or objective takes precedence over words: “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

    As would Disraeli: “We have no permanent friend. We have no permanent enemies. We just have permanent interests.”

    Now repeat after me: We have always been at war with Eastasia…

    (I'm actually very surprised that the discussion has got this far without any mention of Orwell, who wrote copiously on the political abuse of language.)

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Sacha,

    That’s what gets my goat.

    Yep.

    Loved the episode...

    I thank you for justifying my procrastination.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I’m actually very surprised that the discussion has got this far without any mention of Orwell

    Or Jonathan Swift?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Or John Pilger

    This is not to say parliamentary politics is meaningless. It has one meaning now: the replacement of democracy with a business plan for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope, every child born.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Yay, a quote-a-thon.

    I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.

    Neitzsche.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to recordari,

    Yay, a quote-a-thon

    That's all I've got

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Creon Upton,

    The tribal lie thing is interesting and to the point.

    Equally, the pursuit of the lie can just as much be tribally driven: ie, the fact of the lie is relished and exploited for tribal reasons, regardless of how innocuous or irrelevant it may be.

    It may be naive in these times to preface an idealistic hope with "Journalists should...", but nonetheless, I think that an important step would be to bear these things in mind and limit ourselves to the pursuit of the really heinous lies, to tear from them their tribal adornments, and to allow passionate repudiation, based on extremely sound principles and facts, to be heard -- perhaps by concomitantly toning down the passion when it comes to the innocuous or irrelevant lies.

    For the most part, political lies per se are not much different in my book from rhetorically expedient statements that cannot stand up to half a minute's intelligent review. These are effectively lies too: the speaker is willfully deaf to perfectly cogent criticisms of the position they maintain.

    But that's all politics.

    The interesting question is whether a given lie is worth pursuing seriously.

    And where it is worth pursuing, a strong, non-tribal articulation of why it's worth pursuing is also required (to shake us out of our tribalism for a rational moment or two).

    So, Afghanistan detainees? Worth pursuing? If so, why?
    Signed painting?
    Fundamentalist talk about the need for growth when you still haven't solved the energy problem?
    Climate change denials?
    Catching up with Australia?

    The problem I guess is that everyone can make a case for the seriousness of anything -- again, a tribally inflected judgement, more than likely.

    Oh Lordy.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 68 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.

    - Hitler.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    So I go away for a few hours and you guys are all quoting Nietzsche and Keynes to each other ...

    Lolz.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Page five, and no Mac attack?

    ETA:

    So I go away for a few hours and you guys are all quoting Nietzsche and Keynes to each other ...

    Umm, yeah, so there goes that positive ethos we had going.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to recordari,

    And made knowing nothing almost feasible.

    Only a day late, XKCD nails it.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman, in reply to recordari,

    Page five, and no Mac attack?

    Never mind the mac:

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    One more. I just thought it was too apposite to pass up.

    At least two-thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religous or political ideas.

    Aldous Huxley.

    Only a day late, XKCD nails it.

    As always.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    So I go away for a few hours and you guys are all quoting Nietzsche and Keynes to each other ...

    That's it, lower the tone of the neighbourhood... ;-)
    Meanwhile in quotesville...

    The main parliamentary parties are now devoted to the same economic policies - socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor - and the same foreign policy of servility to endless war.

    This is not democracy. It is to politics what McDonalds is to food.

    Pilger again.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    So I go away for a few hours and you guys are all quoting Nietzsche and Keynes to each other.

    I'm going to use that.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    So I go away for a few hours and you guys are all quoting Nietzsche and Keynes to each other.

    You should be so lucky,
    I am trying to chat online, solve sky decoder problems for the olds on the landline, send pixts of rearranged furniture to the north on the mobile,cook morocan soup for dinner, email seller of coffee machine which I won on Trade me, get hold of courier on his lanline voicemail and learn about the value of antiques on TV all the while hearing about t'other half blaring Spongle in the bush and he is suggesting listening to a bit of music! Meanwhile here I am writing away between the ads
    As you were....

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    And.... my TV show finished.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Courage good person!
    And, can I offer these perfectly beautiful& fully functional tentacles (at a modest price?)

    They make life sooo much easier!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Islander,

    I was just commenting today of your ability to make me smile :))

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Robert Harvey,

    Good point - That is the thing and if it goes unchecked it is a rapid spiral to state of perpetual dishonesty – which is why the “thang” needs to be challenged vigorously.

    The Singh/Papatoetoe vote factory will be interesting when it goes to court.

    Labour’s personal attacks on Key’s integrity/ honesty are flawed me thinks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kracklite,

    I'm going to use that.

    quote it, you mean :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    O cool!
    It's nice to feel useful!
    (Tentacle sizes come in Pacific octopus right up to gargantuan squid- livliness is your hands, no responsibility taken if ...anything...escapes...)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Sacha,

    It will be an exemplary case of "I wish I'd said that." "You will, Oscar, you will."

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to DexterX,

    Labour’s personal attacks on Key’s integrity/ honesty are flawed me thinks.

    Nahah
    How would you ever know.? You are but little fish.Who you gonna call? (ghostbusters quote) How deep are you pockets?.Mr Key happily states he doesn't know what happens to his own money.Do you think he will get his peoples to call your people?
    Nahah.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

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