Freakonomics Podcasts - NPR
By Stephen J. Dubner

If the human psyche were a big map, nestled somewhere between the Sea of Cheating and the Valley of Lying, you’d come to the Kingdom of Faking It. I know what you’re thinking: Not me — I don’t fake it. You know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking President Obama probably used to tell himself the same thing.

Remember Jeremiah Wright — pastor, preacher and ‘uncle’ to Barack Obama? You might also remember some of the things that Reverend Wright had to say: that America deserved the 9/11 terrorist attacks, that blacks shouldn’t say “God Bless America,” they should say “God Damn America” instead. When videotapes of those sermons were made public, they got Obama in a lot of trouble.

According to Mark Halperin of Time — who is the co-author, along with John Heilemann, of Game Change, the definitive book about the 2008 election — once the videotapes surfaced, the biggest question Obama faced was this: how did you sit in church all those years and listen to Wright’s sermons?

But if you’re looking for the guy who lapped everybody during the 2008 election, that’s John Edwards. As Halperin puts it, Edwards was faking it nonstop for much of the campaign — trying to negotiate a spot as vice presidential running mate or attorney general, or to speak at the Democratic convention, all while he knew that he had fathered a child out of wedlock and cheated on his cancer-stricken wife. Edwards took faking it to a whole new level.

It’s not only our politicians who fake it. William Ian Miller, a law professor at the University of Michigan, admits that his own anxieties about teaching law led him to write the book Faking It. (He’s really a medieval historian.) This podcast features people who fake their religion, their political views – even their desire to have kids.

That might sound terrible, but you have to ask: could society survive without lies like these?


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Replies to This Discussion

I think our over inflated brains, in modern times, assess human value on an accomplishment scale instead of a "just be in balance with nature" scale, or reasonable balance, wouldn't want to wake all the techie followers! LOL

As long as we base our value on achievements, whether techni, political, reproduction, there will be lies, because lying creates value, be it an illusion or not.
I think a more appropriate question would be "How much better could society be without lies like these?"
As long as there's a motivation to lie...

Maybe the better question is WTF are these values some people pride themselves in... :)


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