Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lying: It's a Tough Racket any More.

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. 

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