Sunday, June 03, 2007

Confused About the Word "Lie"

Do words mean anything in a relativistic culture? If there are no absolutes, do we then allow everyone to make up their own definitions to suit their position? I'm not talking about well-worn issues like pro life or pro choice. This is spin. O'Reilly is spinning when he calls his show the "no spin zone."

Let's take a walk back in history to the Clinton/Bush-the-elder political campaign. Pundits list a host of reasons for the Bush defeat: third party effort by Perot, small recession, lack of vision by Bush, and so on. But not to be quickly forgotten should be the cry that Bush lied about no new taxes.

It wouldn't take a complicated conspiracy theory to suggest that Democrats understood the power of that line and were looking for any possible way to tar Bush-the-younger with the same brush. No line has been more frequently repeated in the last 5 years than "Bush lied, they died."

Now comes Al Gore with his movie "An Inconvenient Truth." Al, inventor of the internet, will provide us with the truth. This is fine. I call this blog "The Truth About Everything," with a bit of tongue in cheek going. But even if I was arrogant enough to think I had some special hold on truth that the great unwashed are missing, this doesn't mean that errors or differences of opinion or changes in thinking are lies.

But then what of Gores assertion in 1992 that: "Only an insignificant fraction of scientists deny the global warming crisis. The time for debate is over. The science is settled."

You see, Bush 1 made an assertion which he later had to walk away from. He told us one thing, and then he did another. You can call that a lie, but it is hugely mitigated by the fact that he believe that it was critical to our nation that he change his mind about a belief he held dear.

Then Bush 2 took the opinion of most of the world's intelligence community, asserted that he believed what they said, and acted on this belief. He had other intelligence that did not agree, but he certainly did not "lie us into war" by an reasonable definition.

Now we are back to Gore who walks away from the truth with not much concern, it seems.

A Gallup poll at the time reported that 53% of scientists actively involved in global climate research did not believe global warming had occurred; 30% weren't sure; and only 17% believed global warming had begun. Even a Greenpeace poll showed 47% of climatologists didn't think a runaway greenhouse effect was imminent; only 36% thought it possible and a mere 13% thought it probable.

I suspect that most of you could fill in a few more examples, but this one just continues to get my goat. Go here for more on the story.

1 comment:

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