Politicians are negligent and lie but they manage to avoid responsibility because they can

Politicians are negligent and lie but they manage to avoid responsibility because they can

The list of errors, negligence, lies, number dances and contradictions of governments in relation to COVID-19 and other issues would be enough to write a book.

However, they have not assumed their responsibilities. They have avoided blame. Modern politicians are now very adept at managing the press and adept at reframing issues in their favor.

Slippery slope

Dishonesty is like a slippery slope, where small ethical transgressions pave the way for future larger transgressions. If a politician lies and can be saved from his responsibility, in the future he will lie more, and more … until it is almost grotesque .

Spanish Coronavirus Technical Management Committee Press Briefing 20 March 20 04 Cropped

As British researchers from the University College London point out, the repetition and escalation of lies desensitizes the brain amygdala, and the repetition of this behavior, to which most politicians are so accustomed, encourages us to deceive even more in the future.

The team has also considered the possibility that amygdala activity represents the moral conflict resulting from contrasting the desire to appear honest, on the one hand, with the temptation to lie for maximum personal benefit , on the other.

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Another difference between common lie and politics is that it not only seeks to scam the electorate, but also to generate adhesions or consensus or separations or dissensions.

In fact, many politicians can be classified as psychopaths, at least as this study of American presidents suggests. The study was conducted in 2010 by Scottt Lilieneld , forensic psychologist Steven Rubenzer, and Thomas Faschingbauer , a professor of psychology at the Foundation for the Study of Personality in History, in Houston, Texas. Back in the year 2000, Rubenzer and Faschingbauer had sent the NEO Personality Inventory to the biographers of all the presidents of the United States in history.

The results suggested that a number of US presidents displayed psychopathic features. As Kevin Dutton explains in his book The Wisdom of Psychopaths about the test that had been sent to the biographers of the presidents:

It included questions like: "You have to take advantage of others before others take advantage of you," and "I never feel guilty for hurting people." In total, there were 240 such questions. And a trick. It was not the biographers who were being analyzed, but their subjects. Biographers, based on their knowledge, had to answer on behalf of their subjects.

Furthermore, political rhetoric has been diluted and simplified precisely due to greater democratic participation. As it abounds in Hitmakers: The Science of Popularity in the Age of Distraction , by Derek Thompson :

The greater simplicity of political rhetoric is actually a sign that political speeches aim to reach a wider audience, so they are emulating other populist forms of mass entertainment, such as music.

But politicians are not only responsible for significant mistakes made within their departments, but also for behaviors that are deemed contrary to their ministerial code of conduct . Again, the conventions hold that ministers must resign if their actions are deemed dishonest, were intended to mislead parliament or the public, or discredit the government.

We are far from reaching those standards, and it seems that we are going to be more and more. Until it’s grotesque.