Herman Cain’s “Big Lie”

“If we had been under Obamacare and a bureaucrat was trying to tell me when I could get that CAT scan that would have delayed my treatment. My surgeons and doctors have told me that because I was able get the treatment as fast as I could, based upon my timetable and not the government’s timetable that’s what saved my life.” This was Herman Cain’s response to a question asked regarding his survival of Stage Four cancer during the recent GOP debate. Mr. Cain demonstrated in his comments that he is clearly not a fan of the federal government managing health care for himself, or anyone else for that matter. It was a touching commentary on the spirit of human survival, and not a person in the audience doubted the truthfulness of his reflections.

Enter Kevin Drum, from Mother Jones. According to Drum:

“I don’t know whether Cain is an ignoramus or a liar, but it has to be at least one, maybe both.” Later in the article he answers his own question and projects, “But most of us don’t expect them to flat out lie.”

So there you have it: Cain is simply a liar.

Let’s go back to Drum’s characterizing word ignoramus. Drum was clearly onto something in his diatribe. And, yes, he is in-fact the ignoramus. In search of his anti-genius, let’s look at the English definition of a lie:

“A false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.” (Dictionary.com)

In order for something to be determined a lie, it must be shown to be false…by definition. In order to be shown false, it must be demonstrated as false by reference to an historically verifiable event, or with reference to a proven scientific theory. Lies are therefore always historical by their very nature. A lie is an intentional miscasting of an event that has already factually happened, or in contradiction of a theory that has been scientifically or mathematically established a priori.

But, Cain’s comment is not false. It actually cannot be false. It cannot be false because it is simply an opinion. It is a projection of something that may or may not happen in the future. None of us can project with certainty what is going to happen in the next two minutes or the next two millennia. We can, however, project a set of outcomes based on our understanding of history and an established framework of personal values and beliefs. We do this every day of our lives. We look to the future and we make guesses. And then we act on those guesses. We must.

Drum clearly does not agree with Mr. Cain’s speculations as to what might have been his personal health outcomes in the anticipated future under Obamacare. My guess is that Mr. Drum has never been diagnosed with Stage Four cancer. What is more troubling however, is the journalist’s inability to logically separate an opinion as to the future from a lie. His lack of both logical intelligence and moral discernment would not be so damaging were it not for the fact that accusing someone of lying is a very personal attack on character. Reasonable people can disagree. Lying is universally considered a grave moral failure. It would be expected of anyone that can somehow scribble an intelligible sentence to understand this most rudimentary difference and its disastrous implications.  

So the standard for the Left remains the same: stoop to any level of disingenuous or ignorant mischaracterizations in an attempt to validate the “hoped for” but completely unsupportable.

Am I missing something or isn’t that a lie?

About the Author

Mr. Nygaard is a Managing Director with Atticus Advisers, a marketing consulting firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

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  1. dire wolf | Oct 2, 2011 at 6:57 am | Reply

    Fantastic article and a great point. Cains handling of that question may be the single biggest reason for his surge.

    Nice work!

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