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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Fond of lying



His talent for improvising useful falsehoods is innate; later on, at maturity, he is proud of this; he makes it the index and measure of "political superiority," and delights in calling to mind one of his uncles who, in his infancy, prognosticated to him that he would govern the world because he was fond of lying.
Hippolyte Taine on Napoléon Bonaparte

The other day Grandson tried to explain to me how the gases from cars kill people and harm the world. He was very confused about the details but there is no shame in that, the BBC is confused too. I don’t know where he picked it up, quite possibly in the playground, but I was reminded of The Global Goals and The World's Largest Lesson. For example, here is an education target.

By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development

Directly or indirectly Grandson's car ideas came from an adult. Perhaps the notion is not entirely untrue, but for youngsters that isn't good enough. The falsehoods arrive too early.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the internet is where we gain that faint but unmistakable sense of just how extensive the global web of politically useful falsehood really is. Honesty is not common in the public arena, but behind the arena it seems to be rarer still.

Children have little chance of avoiding a cascade of syrupy lies, misinformation and misdirection, little chance of being non-attached in Aldous Huxley’s sense. In future they may have even less chance.

8 comments:

Demetrius said...

I lie therefore I am.

DCBain said...

I lie therefore I am a politician

Mark Wadsworth said...

The little girl used to yap on at me about cars and greenhouse emissions. It soon wore off when she started going to school a mile away from home and was offered the choice of walking or me giving her a lift.

Sam Vega said...

I'm not sure if it isn't overstating the case to call this sort of "Global Goals" nonsense lies or even misinformation. To me, it looks more like a form of harmless religion-substitute. A sense of purpose and positive emotions buzzing away in the background, to provide meaning for people if they look up from the office desk or the home entertainment screen. It has to be vague and a bit confusing, just like religion had to be. A few oddballs take it seriously, but the rest just bask in the reassurance that someone on a higher pay grade is doing something vaguely worthy and helpful.

Edward Spalton said...

Not at all harmless, this religion.

My next door neighbour was visited by his grandson.
He noticed that the lad was looking in the dustbins and asked why.
" To see that you are recycling" said the lad.
"'What if I'm not" asked Grandad.
""Then I'd have to tell teacher" said the lad.

It is also a very expensive religion with a paid official,priesthood - " climate change officers" and the like
Also, a very paying religion. Samantha Cameron's dad trousers £1000 a day from his wind/subsidy farm - added to all our electricity bills.
And Nick Clegg's wife has a senior job with a firm selling wind turbines - none of which would be economic without compulsion on us to buy their unreliable, expensive electricity. Politicians with shares in so-called "green" companies can literally vote themselves rich - which,,of course, they do .
And there are indulgences. Jet setting businessmen like Al Gore can buy "carbon offsets" - a certificate to say that someone else planted trees which would sequester the carbon dioxide - a beneficent gas which is a non polluting fertiliser - and at levels which are still extremely low by available estimates. Carbon dioxide has been much higher when temperatures were much lower.
Bah - Humbug!

Henry Kaye said...

And so it goes on.

James Higham said...

Directly or indirectly Grandson's car ideas came from an adult. Perhaps the notion is not entirely untrue, but for youngsters that isn't good enough. The falsehoods arrive too early.

And whoever controls what children are taught controls the future.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius and DCB - I open my mouth, therefore I lie.

Mark - yes, the real world tends to come first if sacrifices are demanded.

Sam - the sustainable development narrative is certainly not harmless and is just as certainly based on bland misinformation and outright lies.

Edward - I agree, it is expensive humbug and that's being kind.

Henry - and always will as long as it is funded.

James - exactly and that's the plan.