It’s Not Uncivil to Call Out a Liar For Lies

I know this will confuse some folks out there, especially some on a few very old and almost dead Internet fora, but if you were to meet me, you’re likely to discover that I’m genuinely one of the nicest people you will ever meet. I take pride in that. I’m not mean and nasty to anyone, including some people who deserve to have someone put a foot up their ass. But there is one thing I really can’t stand, it is liars, especially the congenital ones, like the asshole now occupying the White House.

No BS

The passion you see on this blog is real. I want to leave my son and my eventual grandchildren, as well as my nieces and nephews, a world that is progressive and accepts everyone without exception. I live by the King ideal, where all people are judged based on “the content of their character,” because I taught myself to do that. I truly believe this country can be better and that we, the people can work together to live up to the ideals the founders put into the formation of this country, even though we have been mostly shameful to date. I even believe that, working together, we can do anything we really want to do. As nice and as idealistic as I am, however, I also believe that sometimes we have to bust some heads, rhetorically speaking.  We have to stop letting the far-right lie with impunity.  We don’t have to respond in kind to everything a right-winger says or does; but when someone says something profoundly stupid or wrong, we should go out of our way to correct the facts.In addition to liars, I also have to admit that I have little patience with stupidity. I can handle ignorance, but when that ignorance becomes willful, it’s a lot harder to take. But as long as you stick to facts, even if I disagree with you, I will do so politely. As nice as I am, nearly every day I am told by someone who knows nothing about me and has never read me what a horrible person I am.

If you think it bothers me, think again. Spend 25 years online discussing politics as I have so far, and you learn to let it bounce off after awhile. in order to care about someone’s opinion about me, I have to value them and their opinions in the first place. However, I admit to being puzzled by it. Has the discourse in this country become so eroded that mere disagreement is seen as impolite or some such nonsense? Most of those who complain about me claim that I’m not “civil.” Apparently, their definition requires that I accept whatever they say, or at least politely ignore it if it’s completely untrue. To them, apparently, it’s “civil” to spread lies and innuendo about someone you disagree with, as long as you do so without calling names or using bad language. Likewise, it’s apparently uncivil for anyone to point out that what you’re saying is wrong.

Look; if it’s embarrassing to you to be called out for lying, there is a simple solution; don’t lie. Make sure you know something is true before you repeat it. I personally think it’s borderline evil for people to knowingly spread falsehoods, especially about important issues. If you doubt that, consider the current “president,” who is approaching his 20,000th lie as we speak, just as “president.” I usually politely call “bullshit” when someone something that is demonstrably untrue, but I can’t possibly call out that many falsehoods in a day, per person. And it is possible to say “bullshit” and still be civil and nice. I’m not calling the person who spouted the bullshit a name, I’m calling what they said what it is. I name-call their ideas, not them. And if they can’t see the difference, that’s on them, not me. If what they say can’t pass a simple smell test, how is it “civil” for them to spread it anyway, but “uncivil” for me to note that it’s pure fertilizer?  

This is the key reason the level of discourse in this country is so horrible. We too often allow people to disseminate lies, while those of us who don’t are called out falsely for doing so. Too many Americans place little or no value on facts. And no, that didn’t start with Trump; he’s just the inevitable culmination of what the Republican Party has stodd for over the past 40 or so years. Consider; we have an entire cable news network devoted to disseminating bullshit; that’s how bad we’ve gotten.

To those of you who love to assert the trope, “everyone’s entitled to their opinion” as their rationale for allowing this crap, I’d say the “opinion” allowance goes both ways. Certainly, if one person has the right to spout an opinion based on bullshit, everyone whose opinion is that it’s bullshit has a right to express that, too, right? While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, no one is entitled to make up an alternate set of facts to support it. Yet, these days, people seem to do that on a regular basis, especially when they spout some sort of bigoted opinion and claim such opinion is based on their religion. I hate to break it to you, but if you’re going to claim Jesus as your God and the New Testament as your authority, you have an obligation to stick to that.

Consider the so-called “Christian” arguments against equal rights for gays.  Almost every one of these arguments includes an alleged demand from God that they discriminate. he problem is, when I ask such “Christians” to show me where in their Bible Jesus instructed them to deny same-sex couples the right to marry, or the right to a massive tax break for the rich, or anything else, it is clear that the Jesus in the Bible said nothing about any of it. Sometimes, they mention Leviticus, but that’s invalid for a couple reasons. First, it’s nothing Jesus commented on, pro or con, and they’re also quite selective as to which sections of Leviticus they choose to enforce. If they had actually read Leviticus, they’d know; they can’t condemn “homosexuality” while also buying cheap Walmart clothing, or having dinner at Red Lobster, and they would pretty much have to kill their children for talking back to them. Because homosexuality is the only sin mentioned in Leviticus that they are never allowed to forgive, and which they are required to judge people for, they have destroyed their credibility on the issue altogether.

Some time ago, a right-winger responded to my post about the 47 Republican Senators who undermined American foreign policy and put us all in danger by writing a letter to the “leadership of Iran” yesterday by telling me pointedly that “both parties are the problem.” And he was offended when I pointed out something that should be  obvious to anyone who is actually paying attention – “both parties” are not equally responsible for this abomination, and while saying that makes some people feel edgy and politically astute, the opposite is actually true. Seriously, was I actually supposed to let that lie slide? Why? What’s the advantage to not publicly calling people out for stuff like that? A lot of people read this blog. A lot of people look at what I do; don’t I have a responsibility to them to clear up the debate and focus it on facts?

For that matter, don’t ALL OF US?

Blasphemy

Too often these days, progressives choose to tilt at windmills rather than  take part in the process and make sure people know what they’re voting for. It may seem clever and “smart” to blame everything on everyone, but the fact of the matter is, it’s pure stupidity and dishonesty to even insinuate that both parties are equal in any way. I’ll get into this more in a separate post later today,  but it’s just bullshit. Democrats don’t pose a problem for anyone right now, and all of the problems we can point to are either caused or exacerbated by Republicans right now. And no ones actual religion requires that they discriminate against any group.

In addition, few people are paying significantly more for their health insurance under Obamacare (it’s not even called “Obamacare”), there are no “death panels,” Obama is not a communist, or a socialist, or a Kenyan, or a Muslim. Likewise, Harry Reid didn’t drop the ball on the filibuster, and Alison Grimes didn’t lose because she dissed Obama. All of the above are lies, and they should be dumped by anyone who values the truth in public discourse. And failing that, progressives should actively  call out the lies and perpetrate truth in their place.

Facts have a liberal bias, and we’re all better off if we use them. Always. Please.  I just call them as I see them. If that offends some people, too bad.

About Milt Shook

A writer with more than 45 years in the political game (and let's face it, it is a game). I am a liberal because facts have a liberal bias, and I really like facts. If you like facts, you'll like this blog. If not, you'll have a hard time.

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