Friday, March 02, 2012

Liars for Truth

On a followup to my previous post, I had someone disagree with what I had written on that Facebook post, basically saying that it's ok to lie about the number of bankers arrested, because the number is still too low and since the problem is so big, the lie is justified.  And the bigger issue, she says, is that the sign sends a message about inequality within our system; as if it's only symbolic to say that zero bankers were arrested, to make a bigger point.

And first off, there is NEVER a good rationalization for lying about this sort of thing.  The only time when it's ok to lie is when the person you're lying to would prefer to be told a lie than the truth.  But in this case, we're just lying to ourselves, and it's *NEVER* acceptable to lie to yourself.  Ever.

Because once you start believing lies, you completely lose sight of your bearings and can't tell what's real and fake anymore.  The only way to truly solve our problems is to have a firm grasp of what the problems are, and you can't do that if you don't even know what the truth is.

Anyway, here's the response I gave her:

So it's ok to lie about the fact that MANY people have been arrested for financial chicanery because it sends a message about your basic point?  Sorry, but that's not the way the game works.  Because it's *not* just this sign.  It's a repeated lie among many people to say that no bankers have been arrested, and I see nothing to gain by allowing that lie to continue.

And the main issue is that it completely misdiagnoses the problem, for the reason you gave: Which is that we have a problem with inequality in that the powerful stay powerful while the weak get punished.  And that too is a total lie.

What we really saw were thousands of peaceful protesters who openly violated the law, got arrested after being given warnings, and then either had the charges dropped or given a minimal fine.  And then you've got bankers and other financial villains who committed crimes that were difficult if not impossible to prove, yet when they're brought to justice, they receive prison time.  That link I gave gives proof to that.

And instead of comparing the number of people arrested, try comparing the years of prison each group received.  You'd find that the peaceful protesters received zero years in prison, while crooked bankers have received hundreds of years of prison, just as they deserve.  And that changes the picture entirely.

And by misdiagnosing the problem, we get to the wrong answer.  If the problem is a powerful elite that is above the law, then the solution is nothing short of revolution.  And that's just fantasy talk, for a wide variety of reasons.

But...if we realize that the problem is that we need improve upon the laws we already have, including increasing our enforcement abilities...that's a solution we can easily attain.  In fact, thanks to Obama, we're already on that path.  And once we realize that, we can see the proper course of action, which is to continue to push for changes we can actually have.

We don't need a revolution, because we already have the tools necessary to fix our problems.  We just need to be able to use them.  And that's why lying about the problem only makes the solution that much further away.

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