When Leaders Lie by Roger L. Simon

Suppose this man wins and we once again have a documented liar in the presidency, worse yet a man who lied repeatedly before the election and supported his attorney general, the leader of our justice system of all things, who is also a documented liar?

How many lies does a man have to tell before we can call him a liar?

The Ancient Romans said only one, when they gave us the legal dictum Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.

That was a pretty stringent requirement. Most of us are not George Washington and one wonders if even George was perfect in his honesty, the cherry tree fable notwithstanding.

Barack Obama is another matter. According to Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith (normally a loyal member of the administration’s media claque), no less than thirty-eight documented falsehoods in the president’s memoir Dreams from My Father were revealed by David Maraniss’s new book Barack Obama: The Story.

What’s interesting about those falsehoods (can we call them lies?) is that they were unprovoked. We are used to presidential lies, most notably from Nixon and Clinton, but we know full well why those men were lying. In fact, in their cases it was obvious. In Obama’s, we do not.

Why was he lying? Self-aggrandizement? To sell books? For political purposes? Dreams from My Father was written before Obama supposedly had presidential ambitions. Or was there a hint, dare I say it, of pathology?

Maraniss almost farcically excuses him by saying the young author’s motivation was to make literature. The historian differentiates between memoirs, in which he says untruths are permissible, and autobiography. As a recent author of a memoir, permit me to say that is utter nonsense. Whether you are writing a memoir or an autobiography (not that there is much difference in their dictionary definitions other than length), you are well aware that others who know the real story could be reading and judging it. You lie at your peril. Obama did so anyway.


Original source.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *