Archive for August 27th, 2018

Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?  –  John 18:38

I don’t think it’s controversial to state that Donald Trump is widely hated, and with good reason.  But a sizable number of people hate him so much that it becomes a kind of mania that some refer to as “Trump Derangement Syndrome”: they overreact to every single stupid thing he does as though he were literally lobbing grenades into kindergartens; they focus on inconsequential nonsense like his picky eating habits instead of focusing on his actual, dangerous faults; and rather than criticizing awful policies which definitely originated with him (like his disastrous tariffs) they blame him for schemes which originated with Obama, Bush the Second, Clinton or even earlier.  But the scariest and most dangerous symptom of this syndrome is misusing the word “fascist” to mean something like “overtly racist” while simultaneously sanctifying authoritarian terms like “treason” and licking the boots of anyone they think might hurt Trump, even sociopathic monsters like Kamala Harris and police-state organs like the FBI which have caused untold harm to peaceful people (while simultaneously vilifying its sister organization ICE).  Last week I even saw people on Twitter claiming that “lying to the FBI” is an actual moral evil (malum in se) rather than a mere arbitrary law (malum prohibitum), simply because they perceive some antagonism between the Orange-utang and the Spawn of J. Edgar Hoover.

First, let’s get one thing clear: lying to sociopaths who work to destroy people’s lives for violations of arbitrary laws made up by privileged douchebags completely disconnected from those whose lives they presume to micromanage is not a wrong; in fact, it is both a right and a sacred duty.  But even were that not so, the idea that factual truth is some sort of self-evident icon with the magical power to force the powerful to admit its veracity is so incredibly foolish and childish that one can barely conceive of an adult naive enough to believe it.  And yet, my stating that simple truth resulted in numerous attacks from people who no doubt also think that a polygraph is as infallible an instrument as Wonder Woman’s magic lasso.  The actual truth is that, when the government is involved, “truth” is defined by the one holding the gun, as explained in this series of tweets by Ken “Popehat” White:

…A very popular response to concerns about a perjury trap is the response “just tell the truth!”  This is rainbows-and-unicorns fantasy.  Certainly a liar is in jeopardy when testifying before the grand jury or talking to government agents.  But so are you, my friend.  Unless you’re perfect, and very lucky, and dealing with purely ethical and knowledgeable government agents.  Among the MANY dangers: the government is convinced that the truth is false; the government is lying; your memory is faulty; or you panic and make bad choices like some kind of HUMAN.  You might even get prosecuted for a non-answer that prosecutors decide was evasive, even if it wasn’t a lie.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Barry Bonds.  The “just tell the truth” response assumes, without basis, that the purpose of interviews is to gather information.  In fact, using interviews to create criminal liability is a primary feature of federal criminal investigation.  “Just tell the truth” presumes trustworthy questioners with pure motives and enlightened, near-perfect witnesses.  Neither assumption is warranted…

The point of interrogation is not to collect information; it’s to destroy the victim or turn them into a weapon against another victim, or both.  And the only thing you should do when faced with such interrogation is to shut the fuck up except to say, “I want my lawyer”.

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