They’re Debating the Use of the Word “Lie” When We’ve Already Moved on to “Bullshit”

I guess it’s a debate – which word is more powerful, to call something a “lie” or “bullshit”. There is a substantive difference per Princeton philosophy Prof. Harry G. Frankfurt’s seminal 2005 book “On Bullshit” (which is also the answer to the question “What is Donald Trump’s entire life based on”).

Bullshit is both a noun and a verb.  So it’s an act and an active attempt to elide truth even if there’s a hint of truth to it.  The paradigm of the hyperbolic fish story comes to mind. You may have gone out on a boat and you may have actually caught a fish, you went through the act of fishing.  There’s no need to make the story any bigger – unless it’s not enough to just inform, you intend to entertain, mesmerize and impress and in so doing mislead – then the size of the fish caught gets exaggerated, the struggle, the size of the waves, etc. and now we’re in bullshit land.  Which can be benign, in the case of a fish story, but can be quite harmful in the case of George Bush’s Nigerian yellowcake story. Or Trump’s constant claims to the biggest, best, most popular, most successful.

“It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth—this indifference to how things really are—that I regard as the essence of bullshit.”

If you know the truth and choose to say something else that aggrandizes yourself it’s bullshit. Trump isn’t just an inveterate liar about facts, he’s a habitual bullshitter about EVERYTHING.

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