Sunday, July 22, 2007
❄ Lies? the White House?
Reading the late Professor Wayne Booth of the University of Chicago leads me to wonder in just which White House the current crowd studied political science. Booth, as it happens, was George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor of English and a onetime president of the Modern Language Association.
A society that encourages lying and depends on it for its functioning obviously cannot long endure without tyranny. The exchange of reasons among contending interests depends on maintaining some level of integrity and hence trust, so that reasons can be in reality exchanged. It seems obvious that if any society ever reaches a point at which everyone can always assume that in all likelihood everyone else is lying, the political process in our sense is dead, and the resulting inhuman chaos will soon be resolved by some tyrannical takeover. Thus what we call political corruption is a real corruption, a corruption of rhetoric. If it goes beyond a certain point, always hard to determine, we are doomed. One often wonders how close we are to that point in America. I doubt that public lying has ever been as profitable as it is today.” [Note 1]
In his footnote he writes:
Written in 1980 or 1981, the statement seems, in May of 1988, like an understatement; we now have a presidential crew who have in effect proclaimed lying to be their chief tool. Ask yourself whether you will believe, without checking some other source, anything that anyone in the White House claims. [Note 1]
[Note 1] Wayne C. Booth. The Vocation of a Teacher: Rhetorical Occasions 1967-1988 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), pp. 39-40.
[Bruces Blog: 2007.07.20 Post: B– Short Link: P=27 Front Door Index: http://blog.learnworld.com Permalink: http://www.learnworld.com/BRUCE/uncategorized/❄-lies-the-white-house/]