Friday, March 13, 2015

Lying without telling Lies

Lying without telling lies is the art of politics because, of necessity, it resorts to rhetoric of persuasion.  There are always any number of different ways of saying the same thing, and there are non-verbal components — facial expressions and gesticulations to accompany the words.  We may declare or demand, extol or exclaim, plead or pester, flirt or flatter, test or taunt, coax or command, in order to get the result we seek and get as we speak.  A child learns this art almost as soon as she or he learns to talk, and in adult life we use this trick all the time, too, almost without thinking, generally to good use, as in being ambivalent for politeness or politesse; in other words, in order to be politic.  It is a fine line that sets diplomacy from subterfuge; silence can verge on untruth.  Only falsifying statements and actions meant to deceive are true lies; but if there are white lies, there also gray lies in all their gradations.  See also Poker Face, Honesty in Politics, Fibbing World, and Fiction, again.

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