All sin is a kind of lying.
— St. Augustine
Would that some of those ranters who have been casting “liar” charges all over the political landscape lately pause to consider the real meaning of the word. My dictionary defines “liar” simply as someone who tells a lie, which is in turn defined as a false statement purposefully put forward as truth. The key word here is “purposefully.” When either left or right wing purists put forward false statements as truth, do they do it purposefully, or do they believe that their “lies” are the truth?
I see idealogues as true believers who truly believe what they’ve been led to believe. If so, the average “amateur” true believers aren’t liars when they say what they say (as opposed to “professional” true believers who not only believe, but have no qualms about, shall we charitably say, stretching the truth for their cause).
If we reflect on the literal meaning of “liar”, we may be more careful about putting that label on those who say things we find obnoxious. Chances are they not only believe those things, but they have been pathetically misled by their “professional” soulmates.
As journalist and writer Walter Lippman pointed out over 80 years ago (and which is still true today), public opinion is easily manipulated and “the mass of the reading public is not interested in learning….the results of accurate investigation.” Thus, once an ideologue is manipulated by half truths and untruths, (s)he is usually manipulated for good (or should I say, for bad).
Have a good (or should I say, bad) day.