In Britain’s Observer newspaper, political scientist Glen Newey says that lying is an important part of politics in a modern democracy. He says, “Politicians need to be more honest about lying.” He thinks voters actually expect to be lied to and sometimes even need to hear the lies. “Politics should be regarded as less like an exercise in producing truthful statements and more like a poker game,” he says. “And there is an expectation by a poker player that you try to deceive them as part of the game.”
Newey says lies can sometimes be justified, such as when national security is at risk, and the public has a “right to be lied to” when the information is classified, such as during wartime. But he also says that if voters asked fewer questions, politicians would tell them fewer lies.
For instance, Bill Clinton lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, while earlier presidents never had to lie about their affairs, because nobody ever asked. Newey says, “When journalists?start to probe at that area which the government wants to keep secret, you are more likely to be pushed further and further toward the territory of lying.”
So if you don’t want to be lied to?don’t ask for the truth.
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