Justly or not, we take it for granted that politicians lie, and we tend to believe that they lie more now than they used to. On that last point, I wonder. I suspect maybe the real truth is that pre-Twitter, pre-blogosphere, pre 24-hour yap yap channels, lying was so much easier. Case in point, Napoleon the liberator on the occasion of his invasion of Italy:
‘Peoples of Italy!’ the young General Bonaparte proclaimed in April 1796, ‘the French army is coming to break your chains … We shall respect your property, your religion and your customs.’
With which compare:
His words doubtless sounded encouraging to people in Italy who had not heard another speech made by the same officer a month earlier. ‘Soldiers!’ he had told his army, ‘you are hungry and naked; the government [the Directory in Paris] owes you much but can give you nothing … I will lead you into the most fertile plains on earth. Rich provinces, opulent towns, all shall be at your disposal; there you will find honour, glory and riches.’
Gilmour, David (2011-10-25). The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples (Kindle Locations 2252-2256). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.