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Why do we allow politicians to lie to us?

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To many in politics, political lies fall into the same category as the white lies one tells a partner or friend to avoid giving offence. In essence, part of life. Similarly, false promises in campaigning are seen as essential to compete against the other guy’s equally improbable pledges.

The new Ukrainian president at his inauguration repeated his only campaign commitment, “I promise I won’t mess up …” As campaign pledges go, it was as vague and yet sweeping as any.

By contrast, Emmanuel Macron promised to “transform” France. Macron’s transformation to date has been six months of massive protests and street riots. Commitments to magically raise the price of oil, or to transform a nation in one term are equally fantasies. Volodymyr Zelensky’s pledge at least has the merit of a promise of performance, to which he cannot avoid being held accountable.

Since the resurgence of right-wing populism and Donald Trump, phoney promises and blatant lying have become more common and more damaging. The lies attack any credibility that........

© Toronto Star