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How to distinguish a liar from...well, a liar
essay [ ]

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by [word2go ]

2004-02-01  |     | 

Let me introduce myself. I’m a German intellectual with “my nose up high in elitist scorn”. I’m so “prone elitist” (uh, didn’t we have this already?) and “scornful mannered” (see two words ago) that I should go down and “eat grass”. By the way, I’m also the “greatest coward on earth” and “missed to pave France” some 60 years ago. Personally, I have to admit that I didn’t see those good ole times, when a war still was a war and nobody seriously asked for a reason.

Yes, and sometimes I like to rub my “dirty liberal ass” on some good right wing (or let’s better call it conservative) arguments (I mean lies). So the quotes above are only a few examples from a five pages pamphlet I got in return for writing an email to Cowboy Bob, webmaster of the “Axis of Weasels” website, right after US-troops started invading/liberating Iraq.

What it was that I wrote to insult him that much? Oh, actually I just explained to him the structural effects of transferring the “war on terror” to Iraq. Attracting Al Qaida-terrorists, aggravating the Middle East Conflict… In short I told him that Bush is going to open Pandora’s Box. All that, I did in a very impassionate manner, just making my points straight.

And what I got back? Five pages of nothing, except for me being a liberal elitist, me not loving America, me hating America, me being snobbish and disrespectful for the poor (did this actually belong to the topic?), me being a Jew- and Nigger hater (yes, he actually wrote N-I-G-G-E-R), me loving Saddam and best of all, me being a fucking destructive environmental anarchist. Just in case you shouldn’t know, Bob: people can also dislike Bush for other reasons than not signing the Kyoto Treaty. Although this one is a goodie!

My first impression after I read all that stuff? Well, I don’t know exactly anymore. Probably I wondered if I sounded like a teacher. What else could make this poor guy feel so terribly inferior? Certainly, I asked myself, who on earth does have so much time to write so much nonsense the whole day. Still the website is updated daily and it’s obvious that researching his articles takes him a while. So what is this guy doing in real life? Some criminal (necessary condition for all people deriving from south of the Texan border), illegal Mexican took away your job, poor boy?

Yet, something puzzled me about this guy. Although all the stuff leaving his pen is apparently shitty, Bob is obviously smart, eloquent and witty (Wow, try to rap this phrase. It works. Maybe I’m actually an urban street-intellectual elitist). Psychological morbidities aside, he simply must be lying. I cannot fight the impression that this guy gets paid for what he’s doing. Paid from this right wing media network, which can be easily guessed to back him, when you have a closer look at all the links and banners he employs. – Hey, don’t call me a conspiracy theorist. I didn’t say “Cowboy Bob” is a synonym for Robert Kagan. – But a search inquiry at didn’t reveal the identity of the owner of the site. Can anyone show me a private person, who is able to register a full website without giving his ID?

Anyway, I nearly forgot all of that crab, until I stumbled over Al Franken’s new book in the English section of my hometown’s bookstore. Just to quote all that superlatives, usually written on the cover page of a potential bestseller: “amazing”, “hilarious”, “best stuff in recent years”, “a long shot, brilliantly researched gem of journalism”, “perfectly witty”…

“Lies, and the Lying Liars who tell them – a fair and balanced look at the right” got it all. Already after the first pages I had to stop reading, dry my eyes and try to get some breath while laughing my ass off. The way Al rampages over the right wing media is thus sarcastic that you really get confused if to laugh or if to cry. What he wrote, perfectly matched my experience with Cowboy Bob. But Al wouldn’t have arrived to where he is today, if he weren’t able to explain with one single word the impression I then had: “hysterical”.

In fact! The email I received from Cowboy Bob can be described as being soaked with hysterical emotions. Yeah, if I remember well, I swear to have nearly smelled how he peed his panties, fearing that all the world he knows is going to break apart should he ever discover that he stood on the wrong side, that Bush was not the nice guy, Michael Moore not a lunatic and Reagan didn’t win the Cold War.

- So scream Bobby, scream! Maybe you will be louder than reality. -

One may call this behaviour washing one owns brain. The shrinks call it the psychological need for consistency. But as Al suggests, this is not the end of the story. Somehow this “scream and awe”-tactics seems to have developed into a new culture of unilateral political discourse, where the result of the equation is that more screamers give more noise, give more reality. This strategy reminds me of the Roman Catholic Church of the late medieval: fighting change with despair in order to keep the world from moving.

What really bothers me is their obsession with elitism. What is wrong with being liberal? If believing that the son of a mill worker can become rich and mighty makes me elitist, I’m dying to be elitist! If believing that a good argument can make somebody think makes me elitist, fine! If not accepting that the poor stay poor makes me snobbish, o.k.! If caring for the future, saving water, driving a 5 litre car instead of a 20 litre one makes me a lunatic idiot with apocalyptic visions… well, then I am a lunatic idiot with apocalyptic visions.

Fine, at least I’m not a stupid conservative redneck, helping to widen the gap between republican nobility and the poor masses, by relentlessly repeating their propaganda of what they call tolerance. If tolerance means to accept poverty, racial disparity, lying politicians, lying scientists, increasing environmental scarcity and genetically modified food as god given, Lord I will be proud to be intolerant.

Actually, there was one single argument in the email Cowboy Bob sent me. He argued I’d be inconsequent in saying that Bush betrays the American people by lying about those “invisible” weapons of mass destruction. Our chancellor Schroeder (not the one from Charlie Brown), Bob said, has been equally lying to us Germans by using our fear of the war to win the 2002 election race. Smart Bob, you just unveiled a long and very well protected secret: politicians are liars and use any resource for their own advantage. Thanks for that information, comrade.

Now I tell you a secret Bob. There’s a difference between a lie and a lie! And it’s neither the lie, nor the liar who makes the difference, but the people the liar addresses. It’s the difference between a working and a defect democracy, a wake civil society and a sleeping one. In a working democracy you cannot just distinguish between black and white, good and evil. You have to be a little more decent. That’s the difference. While Bush and his administration behaved like a clumsy elephant, breaking all the china they could find on their way to war, Schroeder just lied decently.

I mean, you cannot go and convince Germans to fight a war, just because you believe that Saddam is a bad, bad guy. - By the way, this was exactly what our Foreign Affairs Minister Fischer said after Colin Powell’s “PowerPoint-Presentation” at the Security Council: “I’m not convinced! I cannot go and tell my people to fight a war I’m not convinced of”. - To do so would have been his political death, not because he was a warmonger, but because he was so stupid to forget that our grandfathers’ deeds are burnt into our collective conscience. Winning an election by making the case for war? In Germany? Are you nuts?

Politicians are liars. Hey guy, that’s the reason why democracy as a form of political organization developed. It’s not about anybody can become a ruler. It’s about any ruler can be controlled! Uh Bob, sorry I have to insult you again, but Montesquieu, the guy who had the weird idea of separating the powers was French. I hope you are not too sad, that the ideas, your “democracy-and-human-rights-super-action-hero” wants to spread all over the world – except of course your good and brave allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan – have been invented by a frogman.

It is a lot harder to betray a working democracy than a defect one. And even though I believe that Cowboy Bob and his rightwing friends are not even a significant minority by number, I miss the response. Of course there’s Michael Moore, and now there’s Al Franken. But is this all? Don’t you liberals, progressives, democrats and free spirits want to make some more noise? Please don’t forget that what the rest of the world hears from America is the right wing voice. Just because they are much louder than you! Do you really want to stay quiet? Do you really want these right wing dummies to destroy your reputation? Do you really want to have Kerry or Dean challenging Bush this year? Do you really think they have a chance? Especially if you don’t speak up for yourself? I perfectly understand that it can’t be Kucinich. Dennis is unelectable, of course. But what is with John Edwards?

Why I’m interested in this? Well because Bill Clinton also was our president to some extent. Germans admire Clinton. We have a fable for American presidents since Kennedy told us that he is “ein Berliner”. Even Reagan was our president. This has changed dramatically with Bush. I personally feel ashamed for the things he does and says and I bet a lot of Germans do so, too. This has to change! We want to have our president back! So get out, use your constitutional rights and elect this bastard out of office.

BTW.: You don’t need to have sympathy. He will enjoy some good pensions as an advisor for the Carlyle Group.

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