By Don Boys, Ph.D.
It’s difficult to know when a politician is lying; although, if his or her lips are moving it is a good indication of that possibility. And if their pants are on fire, you can be pretty sure you are dealing with a liar.
It’s time for all government officials to experience rejection, repercussions, and not rewards, for lying. It’s time for accountability–that means holding their feet to the fire.
Roman bridge-builders used to stand under their arches as the scaffolding was removed. If they had made a mistake, the whole structure came down on their heads. That is the epitome of personal responsibility–something missing in our day. No one wants to be held accountable for anything.
Surely, citizens have a right and responsibility to hold government officials accountable for their actions, accomplishments, associations, and their authenticity. Being human, maybe we can forgive their failures after a valiant attempt to accomplish everything they promised but there is no forgiveness for lack of authenticity. Lying by any official should mean jail time.
George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Men have always lied. That is the reason God forbids lying. But we keep lying. Many of our lies are minor and often for altruistic purposes. We often say, “What a beautiful baby” when it is often untrue. It might be wiser at such a time to say, “Wow, that’s some baby!” Or, I have never seen such a child.”
Often a husband is asked by his wife, “Does this yellow dress make me look fat?” The answer is supposed to be “No, sweetheart, it doesn’t make you look fat.” However, while that may be a socially accepted lie, it is still a lie and indicates a problem in the relationship. It is the husbandly thing to tell a wife the truth; although it is not wise to be a wit and say, “If you wear that yellow dress, people on the street will yell, taxi!” That will prove you are not a wit but a halfwit.
Kang Lee, a professor at the University of Toronto, did extensive research on children and lying as reported in National Geographic. He set up an experiment in a video-monitored room and told children there was a toy they could have, but they would only get it if they don’t peek under a cloth that hid the toy. Then the adult was called out of the room and returned a couple minutes later. The kids were asked if they peeked.
Thirty percent of the two-year-olds lied. Half of the three-year-olds lied and eighty percent of the eight-year-old kids lied. After eight, more than 90 percent lied! “This is universal,” Lee said.
Lee declared, “We explicitly teach our kids to tell white lies,” when parents coach small children to tell grandparents how much their gifts were appreciated. This is especially dangerous, deleterious, and destructive for parents to basically give permission for kids to lie. They often grow up to become politicians!
Professor Lee said, “Moreover, our findings showed that even the parents who most strongly promoted the importance of honesty with their children engaged in parenting by lying.” Evidently, there is something wrong here.
In 1996, Bella DePaulo, author of The Hows and Whys of Lies, put recorders on students for a week and found they lied, on average, in every third conversation of 10 minutes or more! For adults, it was once every five conversations!
Obviously, lying is a flaw of human nature (a result of Adam’s Fall) that make liars of us all. But then, no one is forced to lie.
My concern is that it is illegal for a citizen to lie to any federal official, yet those same officials can lie with impunity to the voters who put them in office. Such officials need to be held accountable.
Because it is illegal for American citizens to lie to any federal official, why doesn’t some intrepid member of Congress introduce a bill to make it illegal for a federal official to lie to the people who pay their salary? It is mindboggling to think how that would change our nation especially if it were made retroactive. Yes, I know this is a “pipe dream” since few legislators would vote for such a law.
But if it could be done and be done retroactively, we would have to ship our present and former presidents off to a federal prison followed by almost all members of Congress. Then we would clean out the FBI, IRS, OSHA, EPA, and all of the alphabet agencies. Wow, it makes me hyperventilate thinking about that!
Politicians make promises to gain votes then blatantly break them. Let’s hold them accountable– first by not reelecting them and second by putting them in jail! After all, isn’t it fraud to get something of value (a government office) by lying?
Some famous lies were told by Obama when he told us over and over that we could keep our health plan and our doctors and we would save $2500 per year on health premiums.
Then General James Clapper lied when he was asked if federal officials were spying on innocent citizens. He said they were not but everyone knows he lied. Jimmy is not in jail.
UN Ambassador Susan Rice lied about Benghazi when she told the media, “It was a spontaneous eruption over an American film.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also lied when she told the relatives of the dead that the tragedy of Benghazi was caused by the video. Susan and Hillary should be cellmates.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testified before a Senate committee and lied when he told the Senators that the Federal Reserve could not manipulate interest rates even though Chairman of the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had started a program a month before to do just that! Tim was a known liar even when on public payroll.
Lying has consequences but seldom is it jail time for a police officer, prosecutor, FBI agent, IRS agent, etc., to lie in performance of his or her job.
President Nixon lied about the Watergate burglary resulting in his resignation and 69 people being indicted, including many members of his administration and 25 people going to jail.
Then there was George H. W. Bush’s “No new Taxes!” And he was not reelected.
Bill Clinton lied repeatedly about his sexual affairs with various women, especially Monica Lewinsky and was impeached for lying under oath. He lost his right to practice law.
Gen. Michael Flynn was forced to resign his federal position as a result of getting caught lying about whether he discussed sanctions in a telephone call with a Russian diplomat.
I’m not too concerned if an official lies about his hairpiece, his affairs, or if he inflates his résumé but I’m very concerned when he lies about public affairs. When he or she does, it should mean slammer time.
Martha Stewart went to prison for a few months for lying about some stock; yet major politicians can lie and cause the deaths of many people or financial disaster yet no one goes to jail.
Donald Trump declared that America had the highest taxes in the world. He was dishonest or uninformed.
Hillary Clinton asserted that ISIS had used Trump in videos to recruit terrorists. She was lying or, to be even-handed, was uninformed. You decide.
Niccolò Machiavelli was a 15th Century philosopher who wrote The Prince to instruct potential rulers how to get and hold power. He advocated lying as a required attribute to be a successful prince or politician, and he advocated many immoral behaviors for the purpose of maintaining power. Machiavelli taught that it is better to be stingy than generous. It is better to be cruel than merciful. It is better to break promises if keeping them would be against one’s interests. Machiavelli provided cover for political liars for over six hundred years.
Almost everyone declares that some white lies are not only expected but are essential to lubricate society but I disagree. One can be truthful without being cruel. And to suggest that politicians must lie to perform the function of government is an insult to God’s establishment of government.
George Washington allegedly said, “I cannot tell a lie;” while most politicians, if forced to be honest, would need to say, “I cannot tell the truth.”
Let’s make it jail time for the liars in government. Everyone would vote for that except the liars in government!
Boys’ new book The World’s Best Jokes! was published last week as an eBook. To get your copy, click here.
(Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives; ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis, wrote columns for USA Today for eight years; authored 17 books and hundreds of columns and articles for Internet and print media publications; defended his beliefs on hundreds of talk shows. These columns go to newspapers, magazines, television, and radio stations and may be used without change from title through the end tag. His web sites are www.cstnews.com andwww.Muslimfact.com and www.thegodhaters.com. Contact Don for an interview or talk show.)
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