As readers of my columns must know, I believe in honesty. I have all of my life. Although my parents also believed in honesty, they didn’t always live it because of their need to deny personal issues with which they could not deal. This made it imperative that I cling to the truth when who I was, was being misrepresented.

It is not surprising, therefore, that as an adult I have used honesty to maintain my sanity. This, however, has become more difficult as the times became more insane. Dishonesty is everywhere. Switch on the television news and it will be minutes before you hear egregious lies.

Although I am a conservative, I have talked to many liberals about these developments. They, too, agree that dishonesty has become pervasive. The difference is in the source they identify. Thus, liberals believe that conservatives are liars, whereas conservatives believe the reverse.

If you push liberals a little further, they will retreat to an “everyone lies” position. The disinformation, they tell me, comes from both sides; hence those on the left should not be blamed for the current flood of deceitfulness. Progressives too are caught up in the political turmoil of the moment.

Only I don’t see it that way. I am convinced that most of the lies emanate from liberals. As I have frequently observed, liberalism is in its death throes. Its promises keep failing. As a result, its partisans are in deep denial. Dishonesty is one of the ways they keep the truth from seeping into their consciousness.

Two years ago, liberals were claiming that the news coverage of President Trump was balanced. They insisted that conservatives did not realize this because of their biases. But then a whole series of studies demonstrated that 90% of mainstream coverage of Trump was negative. I suspect that studies of dishonesty would find a similar imbalance.

Anyway, not long ago I was appalled by the duplicity demonstrated in the wake of the Mueller hearing. Most people concluded that the House of Representative’s judiciary committee put on a dog and pony show that utterly backfired. Even Democrats described it as a disaster.

But there, two days later, was Chairman Jerry Nadler praising what had transpired. Mueller had supposedly provided dramatic testimony as to why Trump should be impeached. He had even said that the only reason Trump was not indicted for obstruction of justice was because the DOJ had ruled a sitting president could not be so indicted.

In point of fact, I heard Mueller explicitly rule out this interpretation. He said that this wasn’t the reason for his conclusion. Not only did this unambiguous statement not deter Nadler from contradicting him, neither were a host of other Dems dissuaded from deception. They, too, were not about to let the truth get in the way of a good talking point.

It used to be that people made mistakes about the truth because they forgot what happened years ago. They genuinely did not remember details that went against what they had come to believe. Nowadays, our memories seem to get erased within days. Today, it is possible to totally mischaracterize what happened the day before yesterday.

So, who cares? Plainly liberals don’t. They boast about their integrity but routinely demonstrate that it is a thing of the past. They are so intent on discrediting Trump that they completely overlook their own sins. Their goal is winning, and as they have said many times, they don’t care how.

While conservatives may care more about the truth, they have done little to promote it. Rather than stand up and identify the lies, they have preferred to avoid confrontations. To some extent, the overwhelming volume of deceit they meet has intimidated them.

Nevertheless, no society can survive when the level of dishonesty is as high as it has become. What happens is that people can no longer trust one another. It becomes impossible for them to work together because they cannot rely on the dependability of their colleagues.

This is already happening. Liberals and conservatives are finding it impossible to talk to one another. Neither side has confidence in what the other says. As a consequence, they only associate with folks who are of a like mind.

This truly is a disaster for which honesty is part of the cure. I know this is difficult because the truth may be hard to swallow. Even so, if we collectively do not do this, our society is doomed. Although I am leaving the scene, I hope that good sense eventually prevails.

Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus of sociology at Kennesaw State University.


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