Tuesday, April 4, 2017

L.A. Times: Why Trump Lies

On Monday, The Los Angeles Times’ published Part II, ”Why Trump Lies,” of their series addressing our Presidents most troubling traits. The Times compared Trump’s first few weeks in office to a “trainwreck.”

Gavin Newsom, California’s Lieutenant Governor, says, “the LA Times is holding nothing back.”

Paul00332 posted:

“This is an outstanding editorial. It illuminates the core problem with Trump - which is not political in any normal sense of the word. Trump assaults our basic mechanism for achieving shared understanding about how the world actually works. He undermines the most basic foundations of rational debate. Never mind disputes over resource allocation and income transfers. That's run-of-the-mill stuff: Democrats generally favor income transfers from the wealthy to those who are economically needy, whereas Republicans favor income transfer in the opposite direction - for reasons that remain ultimately obscure to me. But Trump is about making policy debate meaningless. He signs edicts completely at random. His actions are incoherent. He has set about destroying most of the US central government for the sake of bloating the military budget (which is already _vastly_ larger than any other national military budget by at least a factor of 3), and building an absurd wall with Mexico, of all things. Trump's sycophants talk about trillion dollar infrastructure projects without the slightest indication of where the money would come from following a tax-slashing program, and without the slightest indication that they understand that infrastructure programs require able administrators - precisely the class of people they apparently want to extirpate from the government. And again - they propose to remove regulations to control air and water pollution, and at the same time they propose to deprive millions of people of health insurance. In short, nothing they do makes any sense. They are not constrained by any requirement of consistency or rationality or moral reason.

“The Times editorial is exactly correct!

“Well said, and Thank you!”

Here are the opening paragraphs of “Why Trump Lies.”:

“Donald Trump did not invent the lie and is not even its master. Lies have oozed out of the White House for more than two centuries and out of politicians’ mouths — out of all people’s mouths — likely as long as there has been human speech.

“But amid all those lies, told to ourselves and to one another in order to amass power, woo lovers, hurt enemies and shield ourselves against the often glaring discomfort of reality, humanity has always had an abiding respect for truth.

“In the United States, born and periodically reborn out of the repeated recognition and rejection of the age-old lie that some people are meant to take dominion over others, truth is as vital a part of the civic, social and intellectual culture as justice and liberty. Our civilization is premised on the conviction that such a thing as truth exists, that it is knowable, that it is verifiable, that it exists independently of authority or popularity and that at some point — and preferably sooner rather than later — it will prevail.

“Even American leaders who lie generally know the difference between their statements and the truth. Richard Nixon said “I am not a crook” but by that point must have seen that he was. Bill Clinton said “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” but knew that he did.

“’[But Trump] targets the darkness, anger and insecurity that hide in each of us and harnesses them for his own purposes.’

“The insult that Donald Trump brings to the equation is an apparent disregard for fact so profound as to suggest that he may not see much practical distinction between lies, if he believes they serve him, and the truth.”