Lie to me


Sarah Barmak considers the role of rhetoric in a recession.

The notion that leaders have a responsibility to communicate “noble lies” to the public in order to preserve order and the greater good dates back to Plato. Closer to our time, it has cropped up in the work of the late neoconservative political scientist Leo Strauss.

Some caution that while the idea of extra-rational economic forces could have merit, it is not a reason for economists to filter reality to cushion the blow. Oxford economics professor Simon Wren-Lewis says he would worry about the ethics of specious optimism.

“Economists should say what they believe,” he says. “Trying to inspire confidence when it is not founded is also a dangerous game for anyone to play, because once what you are doing is recognized, trust disappears.”


Lie to me

  1. I wonder what Tom Flanagan thinks? Too bad Macleans got rid of the Macleans 50 and opened up its site to all the riff-raff. I’d really be intrigued to find out what the neoconservative “noble lie” is to rationalise the noble lie.

    Anyway, it’s not the squalid little lies that come from politicians that worry me, I’ll tell you.

  2. The most dangerous lies are the ones we tell ourselves. The best example is W! Aronson – one of the pioneers of c. dissonance theory – regards him as belieiving the war was justified because he had to, and was not necessarily outright lying.

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