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Natural Born Liars
March 9, 2005 6:58 PM   Subscribe

If natural born leaders are also natural born liars, can we really hold it against them when they do what comes naturally? Maybe instead of dwelling on it, we just need a little more sanity in our lives. Or are we better off deluding ourselves?
posted by all-seeing eye dog (20 comments total)

 
Oops. Got the links in the body of the FPP wrong. Here are the other two links again (now that the effect's ruined) Here and here.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 7:03 PM on March 9, 2005


man your links cold eat a peter (twice).
posted by radiosig at 7:25 PM on March 9, 2005


back slowly away from the microsoft product and compose your posts in text, please.
posted by quonsar at 7:46 PM on March 9, 2005


I would counsel skepticism, always.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:47 PM on March 9, 2005


microsoft product? is that anything like "cheese product"?

/rhetorical question
posted by wendell at 7:49 PM on March 9, 2005


Yeah, I know... I thought I could just use html tags, but for some reason, that doesn't seem to be working. Chalk it up to inexperience. Here's the second one again (for the third time, confusingly enough).
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 7:50 PM on March 9, 2005


The link about politicians and lying didn't say that lying was "natural" behavior, it just said that politicians do it for social reasons. Not that it's some genetic politician trait. And it would definitely be dumb to argue just 'cause someone's genetically or socially programmed to act a certain way it's OK for them to act that way.
posted by schroedinger at 7:55 PM on March 9, 2005


we just need a little more sanity in our lives.

Forbidden

You don't have permission to access /�http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/healthmindandbody/0,6121,1417563,00.html on this server.

How ironic...
posted by c13 at 8:11 PM on March 9, 2005


That reminds of when I was the CEO of .........MICROSOFT, yea, that's the ticket!

posted by snsranch at 8:14 PM on March 9, 2005


In my day, leaders were natural-born lyres.
posted by NickDouglas at 8:23 PM on March 9, 2005


this post is failed mind control! Hey look! some words! this is us! we are here! whatddya think of that! the revolution will be prescribed!
posted by Satapher at 9:59 PM on March 9, 2005


I've noticed recently, whenever some statistic is presented in the media (as in the Guardian article) that I'm on the short end of it, i.e. if 98% of people believe something, I'm always in the two percent that don't. If it splits 60/40, I'm in the 40 group. I don't know whether to be proud or depressed. Am I different, of just a misanthropic old codger nowadays?
posted by pjern at 1:44 AM on March 10, 2005


solopsist, the answer is all of the above.

I know, because it happens to me all the time. The best explanation is Sturgeon's Law, which states that 80% of everything is crap.

Embrace your weirdness.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 3:11 AM on March 10, 2005


Although this article doesn't make the point especially well, the "natural born" thing comes into play in a developing body of research that sheds light on connections between social dominance and the ability to dissemble. The points relevant to that are in this passage:

There is even scientific evidence correlating deceptive behavior with leadership qualities. A 1993 study by Colgate University psychologists found that the best liars among preschool children emerge as leaders during play periods.

I actually had this research in mind when I posted the FPP, I just couldn't find any decent articles directly related to the research. There's a little more on the subject here (requires WaPo registration).

Also, I didn't mean to suggest genetics as a factor, although that might be another interesting avenue of exploration. The point is just that research seems to suggest that the individuals we're most likely to trust, even at early ages, also tend to be the individuals who make the most convincing liars. Regardless of the underlying mechanisms, it's an important point to consider, if borne out by further research. That said, sorry if the FPP was misleading.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 9:07 AM on March 10, 2005


this post is failed mind control! Hey look! some words! this is us! we are here! whatddya think of that! the revolution will be prescribed!

Sorry to go ad hominem already, but you're a dork, Satapher.

Who said anything about a revolution? There's already one ill-conceived (allegedly "right wing") revolution underway--why add another to the confusion? I'm all about actual conservatism--you know, in the sense of carefully deliberating choices and considering long-term outcomes, basing decisions on sound reasoning as opposed to sentiment, etc. I know--reasonableness is so unfashionable these days it can be hard to remember that that's what conservatism once represented. And who is "we"? I'm an actual person over here. Are you talking to your own personal demons in public? That's kind of embarassing, isn't it?
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 9:21 AM on March 10, 2005


I've noticed recently, whenever some statistic is presented in the media (as in the Guardian article) that I'm on the short end of it, i.e. if 98% of people believe something, I'm always in the two percent that don't.

Well, your name is "solipsist," right? That suggests a certain comfort level with being in the minority, doesn't it?

(I'm often in the same boat, btw.)
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 9:43 AM on March 10, 2005


just to be nitpicky - from the Jargon File:

“Ninety percent of everything is crud”. Derived from a quote by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon, who once said, “Sure, 90% of science fiction is crud. That's because 90% of everything is crud.” Sturgeon himself called this “Sturgeon's Revelation”, and it first appeared in the March 1958 issue of Venture Science Fiction; he gave Sturgeon's Law as “Nothing is always absolutely so.” Oddly, when Sturgeon's Revelation is cited, the final word is almost invariably changed to ‘crap’
posted by Sparx at 12:26 PM on March 10, 2005


From the first link:
Tim Penny, a former Democratic representative from Minnesota with a wide reputation as a straight-shooter.

Politicians also lie "because we want them to," Penny said. "We say we don't want politicians to mislead us, but we really don't want to hear the truth. If they speak the truth, they will be punished more often than not."


Well I don't want them to mislead me, and I've never "punished" a politician for telling me the truth. This Tim Penny is handing out self-serving - um - crud. If he's an example of a "straight shooter," then we should toss them all and start over.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:50 PM on March 10, 2005


The phrase "natural born" seems to be a get-out-of-jail-free card for some people.

I see it only as a reason to avoid hatred and retribution, not as an excuse. For instance, if someone is a "natural born" alcoholic and he accidentally kills a friend of mine while driving drunk, I see no reason to hate him or call for his execution. However, in order to avoid future accidents of this sort, I would insist that the individual be prevented from driving for the rest of his life.

So should it be with politicians. Cause the death of thousands through lies, end up impeached, impoverished, and imprisoned.
posted by bshock at 8:15 PM on March 10, 2005


That said, sorry if the FPP was misleading.

Well, you've got my vote.
posted by Furie at 9:04 AM on March 11, 2005


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