The strange case of Rep.-elect George Santos highlights the tendency of politicians to “embellish their resumes” — otherwise known as lying.
Then there’s President Biden, who (among a long list of tall tales told over a 50-year career) lied about his undistinguished academic record, being arrested in South Africa during apartheid and being “sorta raised” in a Puerto Rican community. He did watch a lot of “West Side Story” and tried to copy Chita Rivera’s dance moves.
Reprehensible as all of this is, the politicians you really have to worry about are the ones who can’t tell the difference between truth and lies.
A thoroughgoing denial of reality is the essence of woke-ism. Speaking of the New Left takeover of academia in the 1960s, liberal-turned-conservative cartoonist Al Capp remarked, “The inmates are running the asylum.” Today, the asylum has been enlarged to include the leadership of the Democratic Party, the mainstream media, public education and a swath of corporate America.
Here are just a few examples of how progressives embellish reality.
Transgenderism: They insist that if you feel like a woman, you are a woman, as if you can manipulate your genetic code at will. You were born a man or a woman, with XY or XX chromosomes. No chemical or surgical intervention will change that. You can have body parts removed. You can dress like Sam Brinton or Hulk Hogan, and you’ll still be what you were at birth.
Abortion: At the moment of conception, the unborn child has the full genetic code of a human being. Still, they insist that the nature of a child in the womb depends on the mother’s wishes. If she wants it to be a child, it is a child, even in the early stages of pregnancy. If she doesn’t want it, then its nature is indeterminate, even if she’s just about to give birth.
Speech: In 21st-century America, the First Amendment is no longer operative if your words offend a victim group. Then it’s something called “hate speech.” If they can’t rebut your argument, they say it’s hateful and seek to ban it. In Loudoun County, Virginia, there’s a petition to ban “hate speech” at school committee meetings, because a protesting parent had the audacity to quote the Bible in a discussion of LGBTQ indoctrination.
Deficit spending: Spending money we don’t have is good, because spending stimulates the economy, we are assured. We can spend our way to prosperity, they say, even though economic history massively disproves this. In reality (there’s that pesky word again), hyper-spending and raising taxes leads to inflation and recessions.
Crime and no punishment: They claim there’s no connection between soft-on-crime policies and skyrocketing crime rates. Cutting police budgets, letting cops know that government doesn’t have their backs, no cash bail and our nonresponse to the George Floyd riots have recreated Dodge City all over the country.
Illegal immigration: There is no border crisis, they assure us repeatedly. The president is going to the border on his trip to Mexico to survey a non-crisis. Scenes of 8,000 a day streaming across our southern border are an optical illusion. Who are you going to believe, your lying eyes or White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre?
Also in the realm of fantasy are that guns cause crime, being anti-Israel isn’t the same as being antisemitic, destroying domestic energy production is good for the economy and climate change will lead to mass extinction.
Novelist Ayn Rand said her objectivist philosophy was based on three axiomatic concepts. A is A, existence exists, and reality is real.
For progressives, reality is whatever they want it to be.
The future president was saying that truth is whatever Democrats say it is, without reference to any facts.
To paraphrase the movie “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”: “Facts, we don’t need no stinking facts!”
People who aren’t slaves to an ideology use facts to arrive at a conclusion. Ideologues — communists, fascists and progressives — start with a desired conclusion, which they call “truth,” and then reshape reality to confirm it.
Welcome to Woke America. As you enter, please check your critical faculties at the door.
• Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer and syndicated columnist.