Friday, December 30, 2011

The lies Republicans tell

The Republican Party isn't so much an association of like minded people devoted to promoting a certain political ideological point of view so much as a complex and surprisingly elaborate spider web of lies. Take Mitt Romney's repetition of the lie that Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States and hasn't proven his birthright as an American. When you stop and consider the privilege that Matt Romney was born into--born not with a silver or gold spoon, but a platinum spoon encrusted with diamonds in his mouth--and to think that Matt Romney presumes to spread lies about a guy who overcame real obstacles to become President of the United States, it's really pretty amazing. Matt Romney is beneath contempt.

Or take the lie that most Republicans go about spreading on a daily basis, that Barack Obama has created massive deficits. The New York Times disposed of that Republican lie back during the summer:
The second graph shows that under Mr. Bush, tax cuts and war spending were the biggest policy drivers of the swing from projected surpluses to deficits from 2002 to 2009. Budget estimates that didn’t foresee the recessions in 2001 and in 2008 and 2009 also contributed to deficits. Mr. Obama’s policies, taken out to 2017, add to deficits, but not by nearly as much.

A few lessons can be drawn from the numbers. First, the Bush tax cuts have had a huge damaging effect. If all of them expired as scheduled at the end of 2012, future deficits would be cut by about half, to sustainable levels. Second, a healthy budget requires a healthy economy; recessions wreak havoc by reducing tax revenue. Government has to spur demand and create jobs in a deep downturn, even though doing so worsens the deficit in the short run. Third, spending cuts alone will not close the gap. The chronic revenue shortfalls from serial tax cuts are simply too deep to fill with spending cuts alone. Taxes have to go up.
The "second graph" that the article mentions is reproduced at the top of the page. Make certain you visit the New York Times and read their entire article, "How the Deficit Got This Big." To say that it was Obama who created the deficit is, quite simply, a lie. Republicans who repeat this lie are liars.

I worry about the depth of dishonesty to which Republicans have allowed themselves to sink. No matter what the issue, large or small, if Republicans meet with a check or challenge from someone who does not agree with them, their very first instinct seems to be to lie, to trample on the letter and spirit of the 8th Commandment. At least, it's the 8th Commandment the way the Catholic Church numbers the commandments. Let's look at what the Catholic Church has to teach us regarding the 8th Commandment--"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
The eighth commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others. This moral prescription flows from the vocation of the holy people to bear witness to their God who is the truth and wills the truth. Offenses against the truth express by word or deed a refusal to commit oneself to moral uprightness: they are fundamental infidelities to God and, in this sense, they undermine the foundations of the covenant.
Every time a Republican tells a lie about Barack Obama, every time they repeat the calumny of birtherism, they violate the 8th Commandment.

Why single out Catholicism? Well for starters, they did a really good job of laying out what the 8th Commandment requires of us as Christians. For finishers, there are more than one so called "good Catholic" members of the Republican Party of Virginia who delight in going about condemning and judging others without living up to the standards laid out for them by their own church.

Consider a few lines taken from the Catholic catechism . . .
2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one's neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

2482 "A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving." The Lord denounces lying as the work of the devil: "You are of your father the devil, . . . there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

2483 Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. By injuring man's relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord.

2485 By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity. The culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the risk of deadly consequences for those who are led astray.

2486 Since it violates the virtue of truthfulness, a lie does real violence to another. It affects his ability to know, which is a condition of every judgment and decision. It contains the seed of discord and all consequent evils. Lying is destructive of society; it undermines trust among men and tears apart the fabric of social relationships.
That last one, 2486, goes to the very heart of the Republican war against American society. By piling lie after lie after lie on top of each other, the Republican Party has become "destructive of society."

It's hard to say what could be done to reverse this trend, since the Republican Party seems to be beyond shame. No mere recitation of their error--their sin--seems to be enough to recall them to a sense of what they owe society in terms of truthfulness and personal honor.

1 comment:

James Young said...

The biggest lie of all is calling a tax cut a "cost." Particularly when you could have made the same point with the truth.

Only in the fevered imagination of the far Left....