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Jason Holliston
 
Monday, March 24, 2003  
Lies Damned Lies

Talking with people about the war, watching coverage of the anti-war demonstrators, and reading war blogs, one thing struck me all at once -- this flat out acceptance that the American government lies to it's people and the world regularly.

While this belief is certainly more prevalent on the left, it also certainly exists on the right, and indeed across the entire political spectrum. Go ahead and talk to some person you know that's fervently anti-war. Ask them why they think we shouldn't have gotten involved in Iraq. Here's some popular claims:

Iraq does not have WMD (our government is lying to us)

The people in Iraq do not want to be liberated (our government is lying to us)

It's all about oil and money for Bush's friends (our government is lying to us)

GW wants this war to avenge the attempt on his father's life (our government is lying to us)

There's no link between Saddam Hussein and terrorism (our government is lying to us)


You get the message. And that's not counting the people that immediately launch into tirades about vast conspiracies, such as how the government (or some shadow government!) planned the 9/11 attacks just for an excuse to do whatever they want to do.

When did this belief began? Has it always been a part of America, or in a larger sense, is it a natural inclination of people to always assume that the Powers That Be have some insidious purpose, and that lying is a natural byproduct of this? Everything that these anti-war/anti-government people believe comes out of this distrust.

Now, I understand a healthy distrust of government -- that's one of the reasons we have a free press, have citizen watchdog groups, and hell, have free elections. It's to keep this power in check. This goes well beyond that. These people honestly hold their government in the same regard as Soviet citizens in the 70's held theirs. This is not healthy, it's not normal, and most importantly, it reflects a complete disregard for reality.

This is probably the main reason why I gave up trying to talk to these people months ago -- you just can't hold a conversation with people that hold these opinions. If someone's in a fantasy world and happy there, what use is the truth? That's a bit fatalist, I know, but it's just so incredibly tiresome to take apart their conspiracies, especially when 99% of the time, they won't believe you anyway no matter what the source and how solid the fact.

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