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更新时间:2020-6-18 7:41:22 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名 浏览:

Why Does Trump Lie?

The lies and obfuscations pile up. No, it wasn’t tear gas used to clear Lafayette Park for President Trump’s Bible-waving photo-op last Monday night, Attorney General William Barr said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. Rather it was “pepper balls,” he said. “Pepper spray is not a chemical irritant. It’s not chemical.” Wrong, according to The Washington Post; pepper balls are very much a chemical irritant. The paper awarded the nation’s top law enforcement officer four Pinocchios for his claim.

谎言和迷惑日积月累。司法部长威廉·巴尔(William Barr)周日在CBS《面对国家》(Face the Nation)节目上说,不,上周一晚上为了让特朗普总统挥舞圣经摆拍而将拉法叶广场清场时,使用的不是催泪瓦斯。实际上是“辣椒弹”,他说。“胡椒喷雾不是化学刺激物。不是化学性的。”他错了,根据《华盛顿邮报》的说法,辣椒弹毫无疑问是一种化学刺激物。该报给这位国家最高执法官员的说法打了四个匹诺曹的分数。

The president himself keeps at it, too. On the morning of June 4, he tweeted: “[Robert] Mueller should have never been appointed, although he did prove that I must be the most honest man in America!”

总统本人在说谎方面也坚持不懈。在6月4日早上,他发表了推文说:“根本就不应该委任罗伯特·穆勒(Robert Mueller),尽管他的确证明了我肯定是美国最诚实的人!”

As of May 29, the most honest man in America had uttered 19,127 false or misleading claims in his 1,226 days in office, according to Glenn Kessler of The Post, who has been tracking them since Day 1. That’s 15.6 falsehoods a day, or roughly one per waking hour, every hour, every day. That puts him on track to hit 20,000 lies by Wednesday, July 29; by Nov. 3, at this pace, he’ll be north of 22,000 — but of course that period will constitute the heat of the campaign, when the frequency seems likely to increase.

从他上任的第一天起,邮报的格伦·凯斯勒(Glenn Kessler)就在记录他的谎言,据他的统计,截至5月29日,这位美国最诚实的人在上任1226天内讲出了19127次虚假或误导性的话,即平均每天15.6次,或者粗略地说,每天醒着的时间里,每小时就有一次。这使他有望在7月29日(周三)突破两万谎言大关;以这种速度,到11月3日将超过2.2万次——但当然,这段时期将成为竞选活动的热潮,频率似乎可能还会增加。

All right, some still say; Yes, Mr. Trump is worse than normal, but they all lie. What’s the big deal, really?


Here’s the big deal. Mr. Trump’s lies are different. Not just in quantity, but also in quality. He lies for a different purpose than every other president — yes, even, I would argue, Richard Nixon, the biggest presidential prevaricator until Mr. Trump came along.

这很不得了。特朗普的谎言是不同寻常的。不仅在数量上,而且在质量上。他的竞选目的与每一位前总统都不一样——是的,甚至不同于理查德·尼克松(Richard Nixon),就连这位最会说谎的总统也逊色于他。

What is that difference? In a nutshell, it is this: Our democracy has, to use a word that former Vice President Joe Biden employed in his powerful June 2 speech in Philadelphia, certain guardrails that, as Mr. Biden put it, “have helped make possible this nation’s path to a more perfect union, a union that constantly requires reform and rededication.” Every president before Mr. Trump has been mindful of those guardrails. When they lied, they lied out of respect for those guardrails. Mr. Trump lies to crush those guardrails into scrap metal.

区别在哪?简而言之,是这样的:我们的民主国家拥有某些“防护栏”——这是前副总统乔·拜登(Joe Biden)6月2日在费城的有力演说中的用词——“有助于让这个国家走向更加完美的团结,这样的团结需要不断改革,找到新的努力方向”。特朗普之前的每位总统都意识到了这些防护栏。当他们撒谎时,他们出于对那些防护栏的尊重而撒谎。而特朗普撒谎是为了把那些防护栏碾压成废铁。

Let’s take the George W. Bush administration and the run-up to the Iraq war. I know that we still debate whether administration figures lied or were the victims of faulty intelligence. To me, the evidence is overwhelming that they knowingly lied about the immediacy of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Indeed, part of the reason the intel was faulty was they created a special intelligence unit within the Pentagon to tell them what they wanted to hear.

让我们以乔治·W·布什(George W. Bush)政府和伊拉克战争的前奏为例。我知道,我们仍在争论政府人物到底是撒了谎还是沦为错误情报的受害者。对我而言,证据是压倒性的,他们明知他们在萨达姆·侯赛因(Saddam Hussein)所构成威胁的紧迫性上撒了谎。确实,情报出错的部分原因是由于他们在五角大楼建立了一个特殊的情报部门,专门汇报他们想听到的故事。

So let’s say they lied. The lies were bad; I’m not saying they weren’t. And they had calamitous consequences. But they were crafted in a way that heeded the existence of the guardrails. The very example I cited above — the creation of what they called the Office of Special Plans — is proof of this. They knew they couldn’t just go before the American public and say any old thing, grounded in nothing. They knew they had to make the case for war within a certain process that existed, that honored precedent and that seemed evidence-based and “democratic.”

假设他们在说谎。这个谎是很烂;我不否认。而且它们造成了灾难性的后果。但是它们被炮制的方式却证实了防护栏的存在。我刚举的这个例子——他们创建了所谓的特别计划办公室(Office of Special Plans)——就是证明。他们知道,他们不能直接在美国公众面前毫无根据地用老一套的把戏。他们知道他们必须通过某种既有的程序证明战争的必要性,这种过程有先例可参照,而且看上去是循证且“民主”的。

The Bush team on Iraq, Lyndon Johnson on the Gulf of Tonkin incident, even Mr. Nixon on Watergate — in all those cases, lies were told. But Presidents Bush, Johnson and Nixon also knew and implicitly accepted that lying to the American people had limits, limits that were enforced by the truth-finding institutions and principles that are essential to a democracy — the free press, free speech, constitutional checks and balances, legitimate independent investigations. On this last point, the contrast between Mr. Nixon, who agreed to send administration officials to testify before the Senate Watergate committee, and Mr. Trump, who is fighting any such cooperation all the way up to the Supreme Court, is stark.

布什团队的伊拉克、林登·约翰逊(Lyndon Johnson)的北部湾事件、甚至尼克松的水门事件——所有这些例子中都包含谎言。但布什、约翰逊和尼克松总统不但知道而且完全接受对美国人民撒谎是有局限性的,这些限制是由对民主制度至关重要的真相调查机构和原则所施加的——新闻自由、言论自由、宪法制衡、合理的独立调查。在最后一点上,同意派遣行政官员在参议院水门委员会作证的尼克松,与为了拒绝此类合作一直闹到最高法院的特朗普形成了鲜明的对比。

Whatever else they did, these earlier presidents understood these limits and respected the institutions enough to try to sneak around them. Additionally, they understood the value of these institutions to hold the opposition in check when the other side is in power. And all previous presidents at some level took these institutions as givens in a functioning democracy, which they all believed should endure.


Not so the incumbent. It often befuddles observers that Mr. Trump has no urge to hide his lies. Of course he doesn’t. Because he doesn’t care if he’s caught, because he has no regard for the democratic limits named above. His only real purposes are holding on to power by any means necessary and relentlessly reinventing himself to keep his reality show on the air for as long as possible.


So, far from respecting the institutions enough to sneak around them or appear to conform with their rules, he is perfectly happy to destroy those institutions that might expose him (the press, Congress, the courts, the inspectors general). He has nothing but contempt for the institutions that check him, so he has no urge to hide anything. And of course — maybe the most frightening part of all — he has not a moment’s concern for what endures after he’s gone.


So this is what makes his lies worse. They threaten the foundations of the republic in a way that even Mr. Nixon’s did not. And they will only get worse. If we’ve learned one thing about the president, it’s certainly this: It will always get worse. It’s mortifying enough to imagine the damage he can do in the next five months, let alone the following four years if he’s re-elected.