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European Tribune - Conservatives - How to Win at Politics, and Fail at Reality

If truth is whatever you can get away with, then it's perfectly acceptable - in fact it's obligatory - to use whatever rhetorical techniques you can to win a debate and destroy the power of your opponent.

Is this wrong? To most people, yes it is. In personal culture, only con-artists and deluded souls lie regularly. If someone lies consistently to family, friends, or coworkers, they're considered untrustworthy at best, and mentally ill at worst.

So personally, we have few defences against someone who lies for personal gain. We don't expect people to do this, we're surprised when they do it, and we're not quite sure how to respond. Pointing out that they're doing it is a start, but it's not enough, because by the time we've deconstructed one talking point they've moved on to another.

I think we should note that most people are bad liars, and might not even become good liars if trained to in a law school. Good liars are also more effective at moving up the political power scale. So in the bottom - local politics - we can expect to find reasonably bad liars and even politicians who has concluded that they better off being honest. Which would mean that decentralisation gives not only decisions closer to the involved but also more reality based policies.

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by A swedish kind of death on Fri May 6th, 2011 at 07:19:19 AM EST

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