January 3, 2010
We still find ourselves debating whether an obviously false statement is due to lying or stupidity. I hoped this question would become less relevant with the end of the Bush administration but I was over-optimistic, as the recent health care “debate” has shown.
But trying to make this distinction only helps those uttering the obvious falsehoods. They don’t care about informing us, have no real interest in what’s true or false. Their statements fit Harry Frankfurt’s definition of bullshit.
So let’s just call these people “untrustworthy”. It doesn’t matter if they are lying or stupid. It doesn’t matter why they say these things. We can’t trust them to guide us or inform us. We should pay them as little attention as possible.
Untrustworthy — and unworthy of our regard.