The Monday Morning Teaser

This week’s Sift will have only one main article, plus the usual collection of short notes. The article is “Five Pretty Lies and the Ugly Truths They Hide”. It’s a little long, but each lie is its own digestible chunk, so I hope it won’t be hard to get through.

“Pretty Lies” is my attempt to learn something from the Todd Akin debacle. When you boil it down, here’s what Akin did: He offered a pretty lie — that “legitimate” rape victims don’t get pregnant — to cover up the ugliness of his policies: He wants the government to force raped women to bear children for their rapists.

Once you have that pattern in mind, you see it all over the conservative movement. Fundamentally, conservative policies are cruel, but conservatives want to think of themselves as nice people. The only way to square that circle is with a lie. So pretty lies pop up whenever conservatives gather together: the uninsured can get health care in the ER, racism ended decades ago, tax cuts pay for themselves, and so on.

When you hear stuff like this, it’s easy to get diverted into an argument about facts. But exposing the lie is only half the battle. You also need to understand why the lie is necessary, so that you can shine a light on the ugly truth it’s hiding.

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