Victor Davis Hanson writes Lying for the Cause in The National Review. I was considering a piece on the recent accumulation of lies befalling the progressive movement, but there is nothing I could write than could touch Hanson’s piece.
Excerpts: (but do read the whole article)
Two, in the most reductionist sense, there is no downside to lying, if the lie is considered useful for a noble liberal cause. It was the Duke lacrosse players whose lives were ruined, not the professors who wrote public letters condemning them as likely racist rapists. We should expect that if there is something like a Duke baseball scandal at some future date, the same professors would write the same false indictments for the same reasons as they did in the lacrosse case — because there is no liability in weaving a particular sort of tale.
Al Sharpton did not have his business burned down in Ferguson, so why should he worry that he simply turns myths into catalysts for violence? I doubt whether the president of the University of Virginia will be censured for all but equating campus fraternities with endemic rape. It is not as if she said something of the sort that cost Larry Summers his job.
Who is going to indict Dorian Johnson for offering false testimony about the death of Michael Brown, or dare tell the Black Caucus that their “Hands up, don’t shoot” theatrics were based on lies? Massaging helpful facts pays; demanding proof for fantasies does not. We live in an age where plagiarism — ask Fareed Zakaria or Doris Kearns Goodwin — is of two sorts: the traditional deliberate theft of someone else’s work for one’s own aggrandizement, and the “problematic” sort, when progressives overwhelmed with data as they strive to give voice to the liberal cause make an inadvertent slip.
At the heart of modern progressivism is an “ends justify the means” mentality. Lies are merely myths to serve a greater purpose. Facts only have value to the extent that they serve the preferred narrative.