The Biggest of the Big

LIES IS THE MANIPULATION of statistics. As the saying goes, figures don’t lie, but liars figure. You should react with complete suspicion when, as Obama did Thursday, a politician expounds only the left side of an equation. Remember the equation must always balance. If you are not allowed to see it in balance, then you are being lied to.

For the example at hand: Obama repeated the oft-abused canard that America uses 25% of the world’s energy, yet represents only five percent (one twentieth) of the world’s population. You are meant to accept that this is the entirety of that equation, but in reality, it is only one-half of it — the left side, so to speak.

That is, reading left-to-right, an equation posits that some quantity manipulated over some other quantity is equivalent to either some third quantity or a third quantity manipulated over a fourth. (Or a fifth or sixth — equations can get very complex, given a chance, though most politicians do not have the intelligence or the training to work with such complex matters, so they stick to the simpler kind.)

When a politician lies with figures, he often is only taking you up to the equals sign — only showing you the left side of the equation — and lying by omitting the balancing matter on the right side.

In this particular example, the manipulation is to divide the world’s energy production by America’s population. But this, then, should yield a result. But you are never told the result. Why not, you might well ask — and well you should. Because therein lies the lie.

What, you should ask yourself, is the result of this operation? What does five percent of the world’s population do with 25% of the world’s energy?

You are, of course, meant to believe that we squander it. That is the manipulative intent. But a few moments’ thought make it plain that what we do with it is to enrich the world. We produce 20% of gross global domestic production. With 5% of the world’s population.

The other thing the liars forget to tell you is that we pay for that energy we use. It’s not as if we simply plunder the stuff. Did you know that, (according to the CIA World Fact Book), the US produces 22% of the world’s electricity, 10% of the world’s oil (and that’s taking into consideration the left-mandated moritoria on drilling in some of the world’s richest deposits in American coastal waters), and 18% of the world’s natural gas? And said Factbook doesn’t even mention coal. So, yes, we are a net importer. But it’s not as though we are importing it all.

Now, here recently, there’s been some discussion in certain venues that Obama’s supporters know that he’s lying — even that he’s lying to them about their own pet policy preferences — but they don’t care, because they figure he’s also lying to their political opponents about their preferences, and he doesn’t really mean it when he’s lying to them (his supporters, though the confusion engendered by this syntax could be seen to mirror the actual and deliberate confusion engendered by Obama’s lies), which they can tell by the fact that… Well, they can’t really.

And my point is, you may think you don’t care if your guy lies, because he’s lying in your cause, but I submit you’re not being cynical enough. And maybe you shouldn’t support a politican who lies because he lies in telling you he’s going to bribe you with stolen property (i.e., tax money) in order to retain his hold on power. Maybe you should support men and women who understand the role of limited government in providing the greatest peace and prosperity for the greatest number.

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