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Enough with the "all politicians are liars" meme

By Scott Tibbs, December 2, 2016

All politicians are liars. We hear it all the time. We need to stop believing it and we need to stop spreading this meme. It is cynical and lazy, and erodes trust in and respect for government in an unjustified way.

Let me start with a personal note. I have a lot of friends who have ran for and served in elective office and they are not liars. Most of those people have ran for office and served in local government, but I have friends who have served in the state legislature and even in Congress. Because it unfairly insults my friends, I get a little peeved at the "all politicians lie" meme.

One of the big problems with the meme is that it is cynicism for the sake of cynicism. If they are all liars, and they are all crooked, then why should we bother voting at all? Why should we bother paying attention to what government is doing? If we are going to have a healthy society, we need to have some level of trust in our institutions and the people who lead us.

Furthermore, it is intellectually lazy. People are people. Some people are honest and honorable. Some are dishonorable, some are corrupt, some are thieves and some are liars. By just assuming that they are all dirty, we do not have to do the hard work of discerning which ones are good and which ones are not. It takes all responsibility away from those who just throw everybody into the "liar" pile.

This is not how we should operate. If we want to have a good government that represents us well and protects our liberty, we cannot give in to cynicism and laziness. We need to sift through the good and bad. We even need to sift through the good for problems we may not see and the bad for benefits we may not see. In our system of government, our leaders will only be as good as the people we elect them, and we ultimately get what we deserve. We need to show we deserve better.