As though on cue to reinforce my piece yesterday about how Trump’s incessant lying damages democracy, the airwaves this morning brought the sage perspective of Amanda Carpenter, author of Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies To Us.
Here’s her take on why we actually value Trump’s nonstop lying:
- Republicans certainly understand that Trump lies incessantly. But that’s okay with them, because the ends (his political goals) justify the means (demolition of truth). Barry Goldwater famously said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” and they agree wholeheartedly.
- Democrats love his lie upon lie, as they gleefully imagine that eventually the pile will get so monstrous that it will topple over on him and crush him like a grape. (How’s that working out, she asks.)
- The press hungers for his catnip-like lie-a-minute “breaking news”, despite the sure knowledge that he beats them like a drum and strums them like a harp—an extraordinary talent he has practiced his entire adult life. They just can’t help themselves from marinating their audience in his lies, even when they say or hint he’s not telling the truth.
To paraphrase Hannah Arendt from yesterday’s post, once a people give up on hearing the truth, they are at the mercy of the unscrupulous.