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Juan Williams, the ‘Greater Good’ … It’s All Semantics

Apparently some lies are good, and some are bad. The trick is to know which is which.

by
Dan Miller

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October 29, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Just doing the JournoList twist? Dirty dancing propagandizing? Lies by omission? Is the third example worse? I think so. Such persistent stories often make no mention even in passing of the fact that inquiry into legal status, based upon reasonable suspicion, cannot lawfully occur absent a lawful stop, arrest, or other lawful detention for some valid independent reason. Nor do they often mention the explicit prohibition against profiling. Why not? Maybe, in the words of P. J. O’Rourke, they “just hate our guts” as well as their own.

Similar lies were told about the mandatory insurance provisions of ObamaCare, advanced prior to passage as constitutional only under the Commerce Clause but later also defended in court under the taxing power of Congress earlier claimed by Obama and his colleagues not to be a basis. “I will not have tax with that woman!” Declarations and opinions of these sorts are stated as facts and are therefore lies.

Why do so many so often put up with such tripe, accept its repetition as though it were therefore the truth, and regurgitate it ad nauseam? A. Whitney Griswold, the president of Yale University who died a few months before I graduated in 1963, is said years before to have quipped to a colleague about examinations: “Ah yes, Percy, the vomit returns to its dog.” Accurate then and perhaps more so now. Faith in government officials? Faith in the media? Even comedy skits come to be embedded as “truth” and to rerun as reality. Stupid Sarah Palin as Tina Fey anyone? Even Clinton got in on the act:

They got the wrestling federation lady in Connecticut and the witchcraft lady in Delaware — I tell you, so far, they’ve gathered up everybody for this tea party but the Mad Hatter.

Somehow, it still resonates even though former President Clinton isn’t even a very adequate comedian. Not only that, he is nowhere near as smart as our incredible shrinking President Obama:

On his side are facts, science and argument; his opponents, by implication, appeal to myth, irrationality and demagoguery. His brain trust brings moral clarity and intellectual certainty; his opponents are backward-looking knuckle-draggers. This is the only way he can explain the ingratitude of the American people toward his benevolent regime.

Apathy? Sloth? Ideology? I suspect the latter but have no way of knowing. “Professor” Obama should try to understand that the returning vomit, be it adulatory or based on alleged facts, is just that; he should but won’t; he seemed, at least until recently when we all became so stupid and afraid, to have enjoyed the feedback.

Regardless of ideology, lying sometimes comes back to haunt, and despite its ephemeral effectiveness, does not always work in the long run. Sometimes, it even backfires. The vomit returning to its dog (and vice versa) may and eventually should cease to be palatable. That seems to be happening, perhaps more than slightly, as this year’s elections approach, and many “leftoid” academics — experts, they think, on the T.E.A. groups — and others just can’t understand it. Why don’t the little people adore and show due deference to their betters, the new elite? They worked so hard! Where oh where has the magic of 2008 gone?

How much previously enjoyed pablum can we swallow? How may bumper sticker slogans and thinly stretched gotcha moments?

I have noticed a trend in the MSM that goes like this: the press decides that certain candidates on the right are idiots (Palin and O’Connell come to mind, and Bush before them). There is then a sort of lying-in-wait for the absurd utterance to reveal the utterly moronic nature of that person. However, since the press and pundits are not necessarily brilliant critical thinkers themselves, the utterance they fasten on is often (not always, but often) actually more intelligent than they realize. They may not agree with it, but it is seldom based on nothing, and they reveal their own ignorance in their laughing derision of it.

Many falsehoods by their nature, eventually but sometimes too late, become apparent. Stealth candidates put up by leftists to siphon votes away from stupid conservatives? Is there a shovel ready or at least probable future antidote for some of these maladies? The elections in November may suggest some positive answers. If not, at least I’ll still have something to grumble at.

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Dan Miller graduated from Yale University in 1963 and from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1966. He retired from the practice of law in Washington, D.C., in 1996 and has lived in a rural area in Panama since 2002.
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