Liberals spend much of their time trying to hide what they believe from the public while conservatives are perpetually frustrated by the fact that the American people don’t seem to understand what we really believe. Both problems spring from a single source: liberals lie incessantly. That’s not to say that there aren’t conservative liars or truthful liberals; there are, but for liberals, lying is the rule, not the exception. — John Hawkins
Many people believe that liberals and conservatives are just flip sides of the same coin — except with different ideologies. This is not true. When you really become immersed in politics, you find that liberals and conservatives are very different in the way they approach politics and life.
One of those differences is that liberals consider it socially acceptable to lie. Although there are liberals who are honest about their agenda and the motivations of their opponents, they are rare individuals. Happily, because the internet lets people talk without editors, there are liberals who are willing to admit that they think it’s fine to lie for the sake of politics.
That brings us to Matt Yglesias. He’s a prominent liberal blogger who has written for Tapped, the Atlantic, & TPMCafe. Currently, Yglesias is with the Center for American Progress. So, we’re not talking about someone on the fringes or from the comments section of the Daily Kos. The liar in question here is a very prominent liberal blogger.
Now, here’s what Yglesias had to say about lying last week,
Liberal blogger Matt Yglesias likes to call his political opponents “dishonest,” but in a revealing exchange on the website Twitter Friday he advocated lying for political purposes.
“Fighting dishonesty with dishonesty is sometimes the right thing for advocates to do, yes,” said Yglesias.
The exchange, with Washington Examiner writer Mark Hemingway, came on the heels of a debate between the two on transportation policy.
Yglesias pressed his point with another conservative writer, saying, “Do you really think deception is immoral in all circumstances?”
In an interview, Yglesias said he was not referring to his own conduct as a blogger for the nonpartisan think tank, the Center for American Progress, in advocating dishonesty.
Asked who he meant by “advocates,” Yglesias said, “Politicians, things like that.” Not bloggers? “Not me. No I don’t think that’s conducive to what I do. I’m trying to inform people, so I try to present them with accurate information,” Yglesias said.
“What I write on my blog is honest,” Yglesias said.
So, when Yglesias slipped up and admitted that he thought it was okay for advocates, like Matt Yglesias, to lie — he certainly wasn’t referring to himself. Why, Matt Yglesias would never lie! Because admitting that he lied, well, that would destroy his credibility — well, with non-liberals anyway.
Of course, the fact of the matter is that Matt Yglesias has advocated lying for political purposes before. Now you might think I’m referring to Yglesias saying that he thought Obama should lie by breaking his campaign promise about transparency and health care reform,
There’s an interesting philosophical dispute about what should be done with unwise campaign promises. On the one hand, it’s more honorable to live by one’s commitments. But more fundamentally, it strikes me as the better part of valor to admit error, take the hit for flip-flopping, and forge ahead without doing anything silly.
Yes, you can be sure that Matthew Yglesias is never going to suggest that a politician “live by one’s commitments” in the name of honor. No shocker there. But, the quote I’m referring to was made back in 2008. It actually made the 40 Most Obnoxious Quotes of 2008,
31) …I would further strongly urge Democrats who don’t believe marriage is between a man and a woman but who feel they ought to pretend to believe this in order to win elections (a plausible position) need to do a better job of pretending. I’ve heard a shockingly large number of politicians say things, in rooms where journalists are present, that make it perfectly clear that they think gay marriage is just fine but that the voters aren’t ready for it. That’s a sensible thing to believe, but you can’t go around saying it if you’re trying to win votes. If you’re going to lie, then lie — and lie convincingly! — Matthew Yglesias
Do you want to know why Matthew Yglesias can advocate lying for political reasons over and over again without taking any sort of hit for it on the Left? It’s because they do it, too. You think Kos, Glenn Greenwald, John Aravosis, Keith Olbermann, Jane Hamsher, etc., etc., are offended by this? They only thing they probably wish is that Yglesias would stop admitting that it’s okay to lie because he’s giving their game away.