The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

If Lying Is the New Normal, Society Will Crumble

It is easiest to point to politics today, awash in PAC money and beholden to big contributors, as a major source of truth distortion and outright lying. For me this extravaganza of falsehood reached a new low when Romney pollster Neil Newhouse sternly told a panel of ABC News that, "We are not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers." This was in response to every fact checking organization stating that the often used Romney campaign ad stating President Obama has taken the jobs requirement out of Welfare reform is an out and out lie and their determination to stick with the ad as it works well with white working class men. They intend to lie with impunity on this issue, to boldly go where so many continue to go today. But this is by no means to only source of bad information.

Over at FactCheck.org you can find a list titled Viral Spiral featuring 40 Internet confabulations being passed off as fact today. See: http://factcheck.org/hot-topics/  and judge for yourself. (Should you think I'm picking on the Romney campaign alone, see this site for distortions on both sides of the political aisle.)

The problem with all the lying, and the reason society will crumble if your and my own personal "truths" become the only truths, is that these lies cause us to view each other, our society, and our world through a distorted lens. Worse, we act upon that misinformation to the detriment of ourselves and others. Awash in delusional thinking fueled by untruths an individual may decide to lock and load his weapons and go out and kill those he has come to believe falsely are a threat to himself and others. It is far worse when a nation does likewise. Here in lies the danger and the reason the lie spiral must end. Once we buy into the lies, refuse to believe that others with different views may be right, and will only listen to the small cadre that thinks as we do, society as a whole, which depends on the cooperations of its members for the good of all, will crumble, leaving those of us who survive suffering in a world of small, paranoid, vicious tribes. That's not a world I wish to inhabit.

When we lie for our own gain and others' losses, we forget that words really do have power. As theologian Henri Nouwen states:

For God, speaking and creating are the same. It is this creative power of the word we need to reclaim. What we say is very important. When we say, "I love you," and say it from the heart, we can give another person new life, new hope, new courage. When we say, "I hate you," we can destroy another person. Let's watch our words. 
From Bread for the Journey


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