Pure Lies and Political Lies and the Liar
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” (Shakespeare: Julius Caesar)
Statements and assertions or portrayals that are not supported by facts are lies which will generally be libellous if they damage reputation and cannot attract a specific defence. But there are lies which do not tarnish one’s character and therefore redress cannot be sought in the courts.
Equally, one may distinguish between political lies which do not go to character and political lies which do. Generally, the society treats political lies which are not motivated by a desire to damage an opponent’s character differently from lies where the motive is a straight forward intention to smear one’s good name. Lies of the first kind may be considered to be ordinary and allowable.
Here are examples drawn from our experiences here in Grenada since the 1970s which one may classify as ordinary political lies:
(1).Gairy kept a picture album displaying ladies he bedded
(2).Gairy was stealing the elections
(3).Gairy bought a ticket to leave Grenada just before the 1990 General Elections
(4).Bishop was spreading lies against Bernard and Phyllis and that he was a ‘Counter’
(5).NDC planned to release from prison those who were convicted of killing Bishop and others
(6). NDC had a second Cabinet
(7). Victor Burke built five houses in a short period of time
(8). William Joseph had joined forces with the NNP and had formed an intention to destroy the NDC! (Cyber-execution! Facebook 2014).
These dishonest inventions of the mind were propagated to secure an advantage for some organisation or someone in politics and are party neutral.
Then, there are lies that are told by political people or others having clear political interests which go to character and may be actioned in the court. Additionally, they may enrage citizens whose consciences are moved by the sheer wickedness and wretchedness surrounding the lies.
The situation is worse where the liar is well-established and has a reputation for attacking people unjustly and recklessly, as part of his political armoury.
Lies are sometimes told over dispensing goods and services to the public, while others are told because it is felt that instability could ensue if the citizens knew the truth. There may even be lies in the public interest, if accounts of keeping two separate books on the economy during the Revolution to trick the IMF, are true.
There are liars who attack people’s character in pursuit of a cause called ‘retribution politics’. For example, you get expelled from the NDC and you go in the media to say of a man, widely known to be a high performer in the Public Sector, that he is a parasitic technocrat who never did any work and lived off the State, all because you learned that he played a role in your expulsion. Such a lie could easily land the liar in court. Malice often accompanies this kind of political lie and renders it unconscionable.
Satan stole the ‘Garden’ with a lie! The politician is sometimes prepared to steal Office with lies! So there is a common thread here and the same way that mankind has paid a high price for Satan’s ‘successful’ lie in Eden, so too citizens pay a high price for political lies in the Spice Isle!
In Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote, “One may smile and smile and be a villain”. In Julius Caesar he told us, satirically, that Brutus was an honourable man! And in Macbeth, “False face must hide what the false heart doth know”. Shakespeare could tell that, “Something is rotten in Denmark”. Can you tell that something is rotten in Grenada?
Many of us told lies as school boys to get away with not doing homework and by cheating in sport. Many a boy would have lied regarding who stole the cocoa fudge or the fried jacks. But if you find yourself many years thereafter and you are not a showpiece, as the Apostle Paul became after his conversion, then you may well be irredeemable. The higher education we acquire is supposed to affect our character for the better.
Note that a number of lies are regularly told to public bodies such as the Public Service Commission, the Integrity Commission and the Police. Listen carefully; you will hear lies in Parliament, Press Conferences and by the roadside.
If you piously promise that you would not use the Office of Prime Minister to “hurt people” and many can testify to the contrary, then why did you tell that lie? And if he move you from big Minister to little Minister to waste Minister to Back-bencher and you say ‘ting’ nice, ‘dat’ is a political lie!
Soca artiste, Four Brass, declares that someone has “de lying title”! If people believe and are murmuring that their Prime Minister holds ‘de title’, then they may as well be blind-folded at Leapers’ Hill! The pity is that the political liar can reign as long as Satan because many people say that they cannot eat values! And you can’t take morality to the bank! So they condone the lies as long as they are fed and are happy. Some simply do not care once the lie is told against one whom they do not support or don’t like.
Pure lies, political lies and liars are all on stage right here in Pure Grenada! So if anyone tells you that he has found a cure for political lies and liars, bet your life he is lying!