Magazine article The American Conservative

The Art of Lying

Magazine article The American Conservative

The Art of Lying

Article excerpt

If the Clintons were not so downmarket, they would have fit perfectly into 15th-century Florence, the city that gave us Botticelli, Cellini, the Medici, and of course Machiavelli. Renaissance Florence was not confined to painting and literature; in fact, double speak, or lying, was as prevalent in the city as art and making money, and the greatest exponent of lying was the flattering favorite son of the city, Niccolo himself.

I know I sound a bit of a flatterer by mentioning the Clintons in the same breath as those great--if blood-soaked--Florentines, but it is for a purpose. When the Clintons lied they lied always with a goal in mind: power. They were not the first, nor the last, to prefer lying when the truth was more beneficial. Invention, the withholding of information, fabrication of fact, or whatever one chooses to call it, makes the object of that deceit more comfortable. Words, after all, were invented to veil one's true thoughts, or so the cynics say. Which brings me to the 45th American president.

I began this column with a Clinton reference in order to compel a gasp of outrage from any member of the mainstream media who reads it. The media minions are in a very irritable state right now, outraged at what they see as egregious lies by The Donald. And, as usual, they're wrong. The Donald is an embellisher par excellence, a man who became the consummate exaggerator in order to advance his business. He flourished by hyperbole, which is a totally different thing than the outright lies of the Clintons. (I did not have sexual relations with that woman; the Benghazi massacre was due to a video; I neither received nor sent any classified material through my private email server; etc.)

Lying, needless to say, has been hogging the news since Trump declared his candidacy, dominating the headlines in newspapers that have been known to lie consistently via false data and by suggestion, notably the New York Times and Washington Post, which view whites, heterosexuals, Christians, and the police as the country's main dangers.

Take this Russian nonsense. To suggest false rumors picked up in the internet cesspool are real represents a truly big lie. Stories of "Americans fleeing to Canada" to escape Trump may seem obvious exaggerations, but in reality they are whoppers. …

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