No Fact Zone

Honesty is an interesting subject. It's valued greatly. It's considered to be one of the most important qualities in most relationships: marriage, friends, business, etc... Almost all systems of morals consider honesty good and lying bad. Even the bible has "bearing false witness" (lying) listed as one of the 10 commandments!

Yet... we all lie, and we do it regularly. We are told roughly 200 lies per day. In 10 minutes of conversation we rate to tell 3 lies. Most lies are small "white lies" that are relatively harmless ones meant often times to ease a social situation by not sharing our true feelings: "You look great today", "That fish you cooked is delicious", etc...

So lying is acceptable often times as a type of social lubricant, so that we don't hurt other people's feelings. Notice that this type of lie is a lie about an opinion. Somebody is masking their opinion. Some philosophers might argue this is still wrong, and maybe you're still breaking that commandment (ask a priest?). I think there is a clear and noticeable difference, however, between this and lying about accepted facts (like knowledge, history, an action, etc..). These things are not matters of opinion (and I'm not about to have a philosophical debate on relativism here). Furthermore, someone taking public office - let's say the President - is performing a public service for the citizens of that country. While the President might be entitled to lie about his opinion on certain matters of taste (did he like the First Lady's meatloaf last night, or is he happy the Cavaliers won the NBA championship last year), he is obliged to tell the truth about facts and matters of state as part of that public service. He has an obligation and duty to serve the country as it's elected head of state and respect not only facts, but reality.

Why? Why is our President morally and ethically obligated to respect facts and reality and try to report them honestly? Because he is in a position of leadership and making decisions that affect the entire nation. In order to make these decisions, he will need to evaluate the various situations that arise. Sure, he will evaluate them using his opinions and values as a criteria to judge the facts and the situation. But, what the facts are and situation is - intrinsically - is not a matter of opinion. And these facts need to be agreed on in order to debate and discuss the issues. People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

This is one of the reasons that Trump and many of his supporters are alarming me on a much deeper level. Sure, I disagree with many things that both Clinton AND Trump say and do. If you go to the "Politics" section in my interests, you can see from my survey results from www.isidewith.com that I only agree with Hillary on 62% of the issues and Trump 22%. There are significant issues that are important to me that I can find fault in either one (though obviously much more in Trump). Both candidates have also been involved in multiple scandals over the course of their careers.

But it is deeper than that. Trump regularly bullshits and lies. He lies about things you can prove with a simple google search (like that he never made fun of a retarded person https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX9reO3QnUA, or that he never called global warming a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/09/trump-global-warming-hoax.) And even more disconcerting is it seems that not only does this not get pointed out that much or held against him, but that his supporters don't care. It's a bad situation when a leader is allowed to have a blatant disregard for basic facts, and is never held accountable for lying about facts or even what he said the day before. Such blatant disregard for the facts is an insidious threat to a core principle of democratic society: accurate reporting of facts, situations, & reality so that society can discuss the issues. People complain about Hillary being dishonest, but when she speaks she's actually one of the most honest and fact-based politicians. Trump is by far the least honest and fact-based. Don't believe me?

This is from www.politifact.com - a truth monitoring service that has won the Pulitzer Prize.

If you compare these numbers, the differences are astonishing.

1) Trump tells "Pants on Fire" lies 18% of the time compared to Clinton's 3%, (6x more likely)

2) Trump is "false" or worse, 52% of the time compared to Clinton's 13% (4x more lies)

3) Trump is "mostly false" or worse 72% of the time compared to HRC 27% of the time

3) Trump is "true" 4% of the time compared to Clinton's 24% (6x less likely)

4) Trump is "mostly true" or better 15% of the time compared to HRC 51% (over 3x more likely) 5) Trump is "half true" or better 29% of the time compared to HRC 73% of the time...

On what basis is the website choosing claims? What is their process? Simply go to the website and evaluate the process they use here: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2013/nov/01/principles-politifact-punditfact-and-truth-o-meter/

How could Trump lie THAT much?? Go to his evaluated statements and see for yourself: http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/

I have found their process to be a good one and their evaluation of Trump's statements to be an accurate characterization about their truth value.

Trump regularly lies about things that are easily verifiable. In the first debate, he literally interrupted Clinton to deny that he had once called Climate Change a hoax. He had done this on Twitter, of course, and it's very easy to track down the proof. Just google it. This is just one example of Trump's non-stop in-your-face lying.

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/09/trump-global-warming-hoax

It's a bit outrageous actually that as an electorate we have one candidate who is relatively factual and another whose statements bear no relation to reality. Trump has created a no-fact-zone and flies around it non-stop.

Many of Trump's supporters are supposed to be folks who are disillusioned with the political process and the dishonesty and corruptness involved. Yet, their candidate is a person who is significantly and demonstrably more dishonest (and arguably more corrupt) than any politician!

Sure you can argue that Hillary and most politicians should be more honest. I think it's a reasonable position that I agree with. It's one that also points a mirror back at the electorate. There's a reason why most politicians are this way - it's how we've bred them. After all, we the voters hold the power every election. These elections are regular survival events, and you can think of it like natural selection breeding a certain type of politician and selecting against other types. It's more important that they do all they can behind the scenes to raise money to win elections (aka survive). They need to make sure they don't piss people off, and change with the times in order to be positioned right to win elections. Those are the things that make politicians win elections and not being as honest as possible or staying on the same side of an issue their whole career (as an aside, occasionally reconsidering a position with new facts/situation is a good thing). If we want to change politicians than we need to change our priorities and voting habits!

But even if you make this argument, and I think it's a fine one, Trump is most definitely not the answer. He is not fixing the honesty problem in politics - he's making it worse. He's a pathological liar who lives in a no-fact-zone. That is not the type of person you want leading the country, regardless of his politics.

Here are a couple good articles to check out if you want to read a little more about this:

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/9/26/13016146/donald-trump-liar-media

http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2016/09/27/why-does-donald-trump-lie-so-much/#17f388e26d24

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