Those Lying Liberals

Science proves it!

Modern sociologists use the methodology of polls to learn more about how people think.  They apparently have learned something very interesting: liberals are liars.

The National Cultural Values Survey asked a large sampling of Americans various questions about their personal morals and ethics, among other things.  First, they determined whether the subjects were "orthodox", "independents", or "progressives" - the modern politically-correct terms for "conservatives", "centrists", and "liberals".  Then they went on with the survey.  And they found:

74% of "orthodox" feel that lying is always wrong, whereas only 29% of "progressives" do.

This is a very interesting statistic.  One possible interpretation is that liberals are actually more honest than conservatives: they admitted their lying ways on the survey, whereas the conservatives claimed to be more honest than they actually are; and, indeed, this is the explanation being given in the media.

But it doesn't make sense.  The question wasn't, "Do you lie a lot?"  It was an abstract question about the respondent's feelings towards lying in general.  An honest man can say that lying is wrong; so can a dishonest one, as long as he recognizes that his dishonesty is wrong.

And here, perhaps, we find the great difference.  There's no doubt whatsoever that conservatives do lie; everybody does.  But isn't it better for someone to at least feel guilty about when they do?

The noted French author Francois de La Rochefoucauld said, "Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue."  In other words, it is better to do wrong and admit that it's wrong, than to do wrong and claim it is not wrong at all - which, according to the survey, is exactly what liberals do.

Why might this be?  The different lies in a simple phrase: "The end justifies the means."

Many religions and belief systems state that the only measure of morality is the final effects.  For example, Islam's Koran teaches the doctrine of taqiyya, which is the doctrine of lying for the sake of Allah.  Specifically, it applies to lying about your intentions to lull the enemy.

In a practical way, think of the questions US customs agents ask foreigners at the border: "Are you planning any violence against the United States?"  An Islamic terrorist, according to his holy book, would be perfectly justified in lying "No" - because, obviously, if he told the truth, he would fail in his mission of destruction because he wound up in Guantanamo instead.  For the terrorist, it is a moral imperative to wage jihad and kill infidels, and that command of Allah overrides any other moral considerations.

In much the same way, liberals believe that their goals are a moral imperative and other influences must defer to them, because they know best.

We see this clearly illustrated in Thomas Frank's book What's the Matter With Kansas?  Mr. Frank is a liberal, and the question he asks is: Since liberal socialism is so much better for poor and working-class folks than conservatism and capitalism, as all smart people like myself know, then how is it that poor and working-class folks in the Midwest are so stupid as to continue to vote for those evil Republicans, against their own interests?

Of sturdy patriots reciting the Pledge while they resolutely strangle their own life chances; of small farmers proudly voting themselves off the land; of devoted family men carefully seeing to it that their children will never be able to afford college or proper health care; of hardened blue-collar workers in midwestern burgs cheering as they deliver up a landslide for a candidate whose policies will end their way of life, will transform their region into a "rust belt," will strike people like them blows from which they will never recover.

As a corollary to this question, Mr. Frank asks, how can we con them into voting the right way?

There are so many things wrong with his thesis that we can't address them all here - not the least of which is, Kansas in particular is not at all a conservative state, having been governed by liberal Democrats and Massachusetts-style Republicans for decades. Be that as it may, the assumptions Mr. Frank makes are revealing: that most voters are too dumb to know where their real interests lie, and thus need to be lied to in turn so as to accomplish the Good Thing of a Right (that is, Left) Result.

Those poor fools petulantly "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment," as Obama famously pointed out?  Fine: lie to them.  Claim to support gun rights, oppose amnesty, love your church; then, once you're elected, vote with Nancy Pelosi's "brights" against all those things your voters wrongfully support and which you claimed to support with them.

In last year's immigration debate, it was pointed out that the working-class constituents of many Democrats were bitterly opposed to illegal immigration.  Some Democratic politicians actually admitted that they were voting against the desires of their electorate, because those voters didn't understand the big picture: the amnestied illegal immigrants would surely become Democratic voters, leading to more Democratic power, leading to more benefits for the working class.

In others words, liberal leaders believe they know better than you what you need.  Since, alas, we live in a republic and not an aristocracy, they cannot simply decree their policies by fiat; they have to get your permission.  And since you are too foolish to knowingly give it, they have to trick you - but that's OK, because their intentions are Good and Right.

Why don't conservatives feel this way?  It's always been a harder row to hoe for conservatives, because they generally aren't very good at dressing up their policies in pretty clothes.  Instead, they have the much tougher task of convincing people that conservative policies are better on their merits.

This requires a lot of economics, of numbers, of thinking - and you can't easily get that across in a 30-second soundbite.  A simple Democratic TV ad can promise "national healthcare for all" where the Government pays for your doctors and you don't have to worry about it.  That sounds great!  It takes much, much longer to explain why that won't actually work and will result in vastly higher taxes, rotten service, and waiting lists that hope you die before they get round to giving you that expensive procedure.

So why don't conservatives just do as liberals, and come up with an attractive lie?

Because, as the survey shows, far more conservatives are religious than are liberals.  In the United States that mostly means Christianity of some sort.  And unlike Islam in particular, Christianity does not support the concept of a moral imperative that overrides other moral influences.

It's important to achieve good ends, of course; but it's just important to achieve them in the right way.  Bob Jones, founder of the fundamentalist college of the same name, once said, "It is never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right."  Not all evangelicals would support him or his institution in general, but almost all would agree with the sentiment.

Liberals don't feel that way.  In fact, their thinkers argue specifically the opposite.  George Lakoff has long pointed out the advantage of "properly" framing issues.

Take gay marriage, which the right has made a rallying topic. Surveys have been done that say Americans are overwhelmingly against gay marriage. Well, the same surveys show that they also overwhelmingly object to discrimination against gays. These seem to be opposite facts, but they're not. "Marriage" is about sex. When you say "gay marriage," it becomes about gay sex, and approving of gay marriage becomes implicitly about approving of gay sex. And while a lot of Americans don't approve of gay sex, that doesn't mean they want to discriminate against gay people. Perfectly rational position. Framed in that way, the issue of gay marriage will get a lot of negative reaction. But what if you make the issue "freedom to marry," or even better, "the right to marry"? That's a whole different story. Very few people would say they did not support the right to marry who you choose. But the polls don't ask that question, because the right wing has framed that issue.

As conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg points out about Lakoff,

Democrats must come up with news labels to describe the same old agenda. Trial lawyers? Call them "public protection attorneys." Don't talk about "environmental protection" talk about "poison-free communities." Don't call it "socialism" call it "sharing." Okay, I made the last part up, but you get it. And for this brilliant insight, known to political hacks since the Roman Empire, Howard Dean dubbed him "one of the most influential political thinkers of the progressive movement."

If power is your only end, the only thing that matters, then it's right and proper to do whatever it takes to get there.  The liberals of today echo Scarlett O'Hara's great speech of determination: "If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."

Liberals will do whatever it takes because unlike Ms. O'Hara, they hunger for power.  They even admit it to the pollsters.  If we swallow their lies and re-elect them, we have only ourselves to blame.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments
Brilliant read. Right on the money.

This sentence "So why don't conservatives just do as liberals, and come up with an attractive lie" is something I've pondered for a long time, and I've come to the conclusion that now they DO. That's the reason "conservatives" like McCain and Bush have ruined conservatism. It use to be that everyone secretly knew that conservatives had the moral high ground and, though they might be a little stiff and unfeeling at times, you could rely on them to lead in the right, moral, ethical way. That is no longer the case as Bush and McCain and GOP at large have taken the road more traveled by and come up with their own set of lies and social services. So now, we all lose.
June 9, 2008 7:55 AM
If you can redefine what truth is and what it means, you can lie with full carte blanche. How do liberals take children away from their parents and still sleep at night? How do they murder the unborn and sleep at night? Simple - they redefine the issue and the guilt goes away.
June 9, 2008 9:44 AM
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who wrote the "Gulag Archipelago," put it very well:

"In order to do great evil, men must first be convinced that they are doing good."

As for twibi's comment, we had a recent candidate who told the truth; he was knocked out of the running rather early. Perhaps the market has shifted. Perhaps American voters no longer demand truth because they no longer recognize truth when they see it. If so, they'll get the government they deserve.
June 9, 2008 10:12 AM
Nathan, out of curiosity, which early candidate are you referring to?

I assume you mean either Tom Tancredo or Duncan Hunter.

Fred Thompson and Ron Paul told the truth too but neither of those two were "knocked out of the running early".

And you can't be referring to McCain, Romney or Huckabee because all three of those lasted a long time AND were liars.

So who are you referring to?
June 9, 2008 10:21 AM
I was referring to Ron Paul. AS I SEE IT, and you are free to disagree with me, of course, Mr. Paul was EFFECTIVELY knocked out of the race early because the Mainstream Media decided he was not a candidate. This led to the vote counters in certain towns in New Hampshire reporting Mr. Paul's vote total as zero even when people had in fact voted for him, for example. Censorship takes many forms.

Mr. Paul was able to keep going because he had learned how to use the Internet to bypass the MSM and raise money. Feminist whining about glass ceilings to the contrary, Mr. Obama toasted Hillary in large measure because he, too, learned how to use the Internet to raise money. He also bypassed the MSM-anointed Black leaders and went directly to the Black voters in the early primary states where he took all the Black vote from Hillary. That's why, as Scragged reported,

the NAACP tried to use Rev. Wright to throw Mr. Obama under the bus. They didn't want a Black President who didn't owe them anything.

This election is the MSM's last hurrah; they won't have much influence next time because they are losing market share at a faster and faster rate.
June 9, 2008 10:31 AM
I'm confused.

Is this article claiming that Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, Rumsfeld, and Limbaugh are liberals?
July 18, 2008 12:26 AM

I answered that question. Read the first comment.
July 18, 2008 8:18 AM
Liberals are liars i mean just read the news and see that talking heads on TV their liars all the way
November 24, 2008 12:41 AM
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