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Learning How to Lie: a Lesson Well Taught (Washington Post article)


DNA Tests Show Southern Members of Congress and Constituents are 65% Mexican (and 20% French): Results Surpass Congressional Dining Hall Chef’s Prediction Based on the Popularity of “French Fries with Salsa” Side Dish

“Members of Congress Fail American History Test: Only 13% Earn a Barely Passing Grade (60% or better).

Hmmm. Telling lies, making up part-truths, or simple obfuscation is clearly very difficult for some of us, but a piece of cake for others, e.g. Onion writers, Andy Borowitz, advertisement authors, drug and tobacco company CEOs, etc., etc., etc.

Anyway, this Washington Post story made me want to go back in time and take this class, which sounds intriguing – and fun. (Link to Professor Morse’s U of M webpage and the syllabus of the course.)

“I teach my college students to lie. Honestly. Whoppers. It’s good for them,” by David Lawrence Morse, lecturer at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, Washington Post, July 30, 2019:

… in my class at the University of Michigan, I teach students how to lie. Not tiny lies, or white lies, but big lies, real whoppers, told for political ends. My purpose is not to validate Trump’s lies but to help students understand what commentators like Wehner and Harris overlook: Lying is not only essential for human social interaction — to protect our privacy, or the feelings of others, or the oppressed — it is inherently liberating, and that’s what makes it dangerous and seductive….

Each student in my class starts by proposing a lie with a political agenda that could be loosed to great effect. They explain why someone would propagate the lie, and the lie’s intended audience….” [Link to full article in Washington Post.]

For more Lies, Damn Lies, and Cogitation:
Movie: The Farewell
Book/Play: Lifespan of a Fact

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