Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Tag Archives: Truth

Untruthful and Untrustworthy Government

The massaging of critical data undermines our society.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

Transparency and truth are the fuels that run sophisticated civilizations. Without

echosofstars via Flickr

echosofstars via Flickr

them, the state grinds to a halt. Lack of trust — not barbarians on the frontier, global warming or cooling, or even epidemics — doomed civilizations of the past, from imperial Rome to the former Soviet Union.

The United States can withstand the untruth of a particular presidential administration if the permanent government itself is honest. Dwight Eisenhower lied about the downed U-2 spy plane inside the Soviet Union. Almost nothing Richard Nixon said about Watergate was true. Intelligence reports of vast stockpiles of WMD in Iraq proved as accurate as Bill Clinton’s assertion that he never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky.

Presidents fib. The nation gets outraged. The independent media dig out the truth. And so the system of trust repairs itself.

What distinguishes democracies from tinhorn dictatorships and totalitarian monstrosities are our permanent meritocratic government bureaus that remain nonpartisan and honestly report the truth. Read more →

The Poison of Postmodern Lying

by Victor David Hanson // Tribune Content Agency 

Fabio Premoli via Flickr

Fabio Premoli via Flickr

All presidents at one time have fudged on the truth. Most politicians pad their resumes and airbrush away their sins. But what is new about political lying is the present notion that lies are not necessarily lies anymore — a reflection of the relativism that infects our entire culture.

Postmodernism (the cultural fad “after modernism”) went well beyond questioning norms and rules. It attacked the very idea of having any rules at all. Postmodernist relativists claimed that things like “truth” were mere fictions to preserve elite privilege. Unfortunately, bad ideas like that have a habit of poisoning an entire society — and now they have.

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis was recently caught fabricating her own autobiography. She exaggerated her earlier ordeals, lied about the age at which she divorced and was untruthful about how she paid for her Harvard Law School education. Read more →

VDH Quoted In, “Barack Obama’s past as murky as his word”

by Jack Kelly // The Pittsburgh Press 

Onyango “Omar” Obama, 69, half-brother of Barack Obama Sr., came to the United States on a student visa in 1963, remained here illegally after it expired, was ordered to leave the U.S. in 1986, 1989 and 1992, but ignored the deportation orders. Read more →

Obama’s Noble Lies

Stop worrying whether the president’s statements conform to ossified standards if truth.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

What is the common denominator of the Obama administration’s serial scandals — the Justice Department’s spying on AP, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the NSA surveillance, the lies about Benghazi and the ACA — and much of the White House damage-control rhetoric? In a word: the advancement of postmodern notions of justice at the expense of traditional truth.Photo Credit: Jason Borneman via Flickr

By the 1980s, in law schools, university social-science departments, and the humanities in general, the old relativist idea of Plato’s noble lies was given a new French facelift. Traditional morality and ethics were dismissed as arbitrary constructs, predicated on privileged notions of race, class, and gender. The new moral architecture did not rely on archaic abidance by the niceties of “truth,” which simply reinforced traditional oppressive hierarchies.

Instead, social justice by definition transcended the sham of traditional ideas of truth and falsity. The true became the advocacy of fairness, while the real lie was the reactionary adherence to a set of oppressive norms. All this was faculty-lounge fluff, but soon it filtered out into the larger culture.

In this regard, it was understandable that the New York Times characterized the president’s not telling the truth on over 20 occasions as cases of “misspeaking.” Read more →

Lying in the Age of Obama

By Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

A Nation of Liars

The attorney general of the United States lied recently to Congress [1]. He said he knew of no citizen’s communications that his department had monitored. Lie!

In fact, Holder knew [2] that his subordinates were targeting reporters. He also did not tell the truth about the New Black Panthers case [3]. He had sworn that there was no political decision to drop the case. Not true; the decision came from the top. He again lied about the time frame in which he first learned of the Fast and Furious case [4]. Read more →

President Obama’s New American Vocabulary

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Of all the many changes that the Obama administration has enacted over the last five years, the least remarked upon are the strange changes in our vocabulary. To fathom the shifting meaning of words, here is a guide to the new Obama lexicon.

Affordable Care Act: Mostly unaffordable, uncaring, and inactive.

Assault Weapon: Paint your .22 black and add a plastic handle. Read more →

Tawriya: New Islamic Doctrine Permits ‘Creative Lying’

by Raymond Ibrahim

Stonegate Institute

Perhaps you have heard of taqiyya, the Muslim doctrine that allows lying in certain circumstances, primarily when Muslim minorities live under infidel authority. Read more →

The Strange Case of Trayvon Martin

by Victor Davis Hanson

NRO’s The Corner

Racial-Relations Regression

The Trayvon Martin tragedy, by the time the entire process is played out, will reflect poorly on lots of people and groups, who in mob-like fashion have weighed in before all the facts in the case are fully aired. Read more →

A Eulogy for “Selective Death”

by Terry Scambray

New Oxford Review

A review of What Darwin Got Wrong by Jerry Fodor and  Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 179 pp.) Read more →

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