Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tha't all you had to say....

This interview was also kind of interesting, although I think it was conducted poorly by both parties. The amazing thing is that the consistent incoherence and irrelevance of Bush's answers make it impossible to pin him down on an issue. I think his stupidity is truly in asset in answering a policy question with a propagandist response; Karl Rove or even Dick Cheney could never pull off the old bait-and-switch as convincingly, because at least they would know they were doing it. W seems to legitimately fail to grasp the question.

Which is not to say that he's incapable of lying, of course. It's just that with the toughest questions, it's better to duckspeak. And as Harry Frankfurt elaborates, bullshit is a more pernicious enemy of truth than lies, because:

"It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may pertain to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose." (On Bullshit, pp. 55-56)

To put it another way, his fault is not that he provides the wrong answer to the question, it's that he's not even trying.

So when Bush actually does lie (like below), it's actually strangely refreshing. At least the value of truth is acknowledged by the attempt to deny it. (Likewise, it does not crush my spirit to think that my compatriots have elected a liar. Having elected a moron too stupid to be worthy of the epithet "liar", well, that is quite bleak.) So lie to me Georgie, it's better than whatever the fuck you were saying to that Irish gal.