Do politicians need to lie? We know the lefties on here think so. Do you?

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Do politicians need to lie? We know the lefties on here think so. Do you?

Post  fshnski on Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:16 pm

Whoever gets elected president today is an accomplished liar. Lying, along with a capacity for backbiting, obfuscation, and double-dealing, are, in fact, actual job qualifications for politicians according to some deep political thinkers. If lying with sincerity is a required political skill, both major party candidates for president appear to be fully qualified to occupy the Oval Office. For example, in one whopper*, the Obama campaign deceptively asserted, “Romney backed a law that outlaws all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.” Romney, too, has proven himself an able practitioner of the dark art of political prevarication. In Ohio two weeks ago, Romney falsely claimed that Chrysler’s Jeep division “is thinking of moving all production to China.” And let’s not forget about all those jobs the two claimed to have created at various points in their political careers.

It has been said that the first duty of a politician is to get elected to office. Unless she is elected she cannot do all the good things that she promises. However, the only the way to get elected is for her to get her hands dirty argues political Michael Walzer in his 1973 essay “Political Action: The Problem of Dirty Hands.[PDF]” In fact, supporters, commentators, and voters often actually disparage would-be politicians who are perceived as not doing what it takes to win. Walzer summarizes this common criticism: “He wants to win the election…, but he doesn’t want to get his hands dirty.” By which critics mean that the politician “is the sort of man who will not lie, cheat, bargain behind the backs of his supporters, shout absurdities at public meetings, or manipulate men and women.” Well, hooray, right? Finally, an honest politician!

Not so fast, says Walzer. The candidate’s “decision to run was a commitment (to all of us who think the election important) to try to win, that is, to do within rational limits whatever is necessary to win.” As an example of a real-world rational limit, Walzer offers the case of a politician who must make a corrupt deal with a dishonest ward boss. The politician’s supporters fervently believe his program is worthy, but he cannot act on it unless he wins the election, which he can only do by giving the ward boss what he wants. Consequently, argues Walzer, the politician’s supporters who believe him to be a good man who would do good things in office “hope that he will overcome his scruples and make the deal.”

Furthermore, even if a politician wanted to act morally, Walzer contends, “[He] probably cannot: for other men are all too ready to hustle and lie for power and glory, and it is they who set out the terms of the competition.” Thus, Walzer concludes, “[T]he men who act for us and in our name are necessarily hustlers and liars.” In Walzer’s view, the moral tragedy of politics is that a politician often must do bad in order to achieve good. Or as 16th century Italian political philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli put it in The Discourses, “[W]hen the act accuses him, the result should excuse him; and when the result is good…, it will always absolve him from blame.” Of course, it is dangerously easy for a politician to believe that his good ends can justify bad means.


http://reason.com/archives/2012/11/06/why-all-politicians-lie

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Re: Do politicians need to lie? We know the lefties on here think so. Do you?

Post  WHL on Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:22 pm

Unfortunately fsh, politicians care about one thing-getting elected. Most of them don't care a bit about making our country better. So yes, I think most of them have no problem lying at all.
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Re: Do politicians need to lie? We know the lefties on here think so. Do you?

Post  Achigan on Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:26 pm

Maybe some do and some don't.


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Re: Do politicians need to lie? We know the lefties on here think so. Do you?

Post  WHL on Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:32 pm

In reality it's probably equal. At least I am willing to say that and I bet you won't. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.
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Re: Do politicians need to lie? We know the lefties on here think so. Do you?

Post  Achigan on Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:34 pm

WHL wrote:In reality it's probably equal.  At least  I am willing to say that and I bet you won't.  I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.
 
I guess so.


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Re: Do politicians need to lie? We know the lefties on here think so. Do you?

Post  fshnski on Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:02 pm

In order to get power, University College (London) political scientist Richard Bellamy argues in his 2010 European Journal of Political Thought article, "Dirty Hands and Clean Gloves: Liberal Ideals and Real Politics," democratic politicians must make sneaky deals and compromises. In order to attain office, they must forge winning coalitions among voters who favor incompatible values, e.g., pro-abortion vs. anti-abortion, free markets vs. social democracy, drug legalization vs. drug prohibition. In trying to satisfy the conflicting demands of voters and, more importantly, stay in office, Bellamy explains that politicians will necessarily “be obliged to employ less than full candor, using ambiguity and a certain flexibility in their own principles to address the various competing constituencies among the public whom they must serve.”

In his 2009 article, "The Problem with Clean Hands," in the journal Essays in Philosophy, Hobart and William Smith Colleges philosopher Eric Barnes analyzes the use of “ambiguity and a certain flexibility” by politicians as a winning strategy in elections. The problem of dirty hands concerns the apparently inevitable need for effective politicians to do what is ethically wrong. Applying a game theoretic approach, Barnes explores the problem of "politicians being unwilling to commit themselves to precise positions on controversial policy issues." Barnes observes, “We want politicians to be honest and incorruptible, and yet because they are good we also want them to do what is necessary to win the election, even if it means lying and making deals with corrupt power brokers (for they will do us no good if not elected).” The result? “[I]t seems impossible to be a successful politician without making various unsavory deals and alliances.”

So while voters want their candidates to be open and honest, they don’t want them to be so open and honest that they alienate enough other voters that they don’t get into office where they can, allegedly, advance the public good (or at least our good). If being too specific about her plans means that a politician loses, then she obviously has a strong incentive to practice “ambiguity and a certain flexibility.” The upshot is that rational politicians offer vague slogans (“Hope and Change” and now “Forward”) and tell soothing lies (will balance the budget without cutting defense or raising taxes) in order to get elected. In other words, they must have dirty hands in order to attain office. And their partisans will, if not approve, at least look the other way.

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Re: Do politicians need to lie? We know the lefties on here think so. Do you?

Post  WHL on Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:33 am

It's sad isn't it?  I often have seen politicians be one person before running for president and another when he/she decided they just might run for that office.  They change as their handlers think they need to.
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Re: Do politicians need to lie? We know the lefties on here think so. Do you?

Post  News Hawk on Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:15 pm

WHL wrote:It's sad isn't it?  I often have seen politicians be one person before running for president and another when he/she decided they just might run for that office.  They change as their handlers think they need to.
One big lie was the Gulf of Tonkin "attack". (That they "think" happened...)




 pale ...

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Re: Do politicians need to lie? We know the lefties on here think so. Do you?

Post  Anti Federalist on Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:05 am

News Hawk wrote:
WHL wrote:It's sad isn't it?  I often have seen politicians be one person before running for president and another when he/she decided they just might run for that office.  They change as their handlers think they need to.
One big lie was the Gulf of Tonkin "attack". (That they "think" happened...)

 pale ...

And tens of thousands died over that lie, and the country tore itself apart in ways that it never has recovered from.

Political lies have the stench of death about them.

You know what I think history will say 50 years from now about 9/11.
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Re: Do politicians need to lie? We know the lefties on here think so. Do you?

Post  Achigan on Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:11 am

Anti Federalist wrote:
News Hawk wrote:
WHL wrote:It's sad isn't it?  I often have seen politicians be one person before running for president and another when he/she decided they just might run for that office.  They change as their handlers think they need to.
One big lie was the Gulf of Tonkin "attack". (That they "think" happened...)

 pale ...

And tens of thousands died over that lie, and the country tore itself apart in ways that it never has recovered from.

Political lies have the stench of death about them.

You know what I think history will say 50 years from now about 9/11.

I think history will say that the republican party dropped the ball on this one.
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Re: Do politicians need to lie? We know the lefties on here think so. Do you?

Post  News Hawk on Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:10 am

Achigan wrote:
Anti Federalist wrote:
News Hawk wrote:
WHL wrote:It's sad isn't it?  I often have seen politicians be one person before running for president and another when he/she decided they just might run for that office.  They change as their handlers think they need to.
One big lie was the Gulf of Tonkin "attack". (That they "think" happened...)

 pale ...

And tens of thousands died over that lie, and the country tore itself apart in ways that it never has recovered from.

Political lies have the stench of death about them.

You know what I think history will say 50 years from now about 9/11.

I think history will say that the republican party dropped the ball on this one.

The 19 attackers were practicing airliner takeoffs during Clinton's watch. One of Clinton's recent pronouncements kept the FBI from searching for evidence. "The Wall" was written by Jamie Gorelick—also responsible for the Fannie Mae collapse. (Both trillion-dollar disasters for America).


"...Jamie Gorelick’s “wall” barred anti-terror investigators from accessing the computer of Zacarias Moussaoui, the 20th hijacker, already in custody on an immigration violation shortly before 9/11...http://www.newsrealblog.com/2011/03/25/jamie-gorelicks-incompetence-helped-cause-911-and-the-housing-collapse-why-is-she-on-obamas-short-list-for-fbi-director/"

'Course, history will erase the Evil in both regimes.

 Evil or Very Mad 


.

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