The Republican culture, such as it is, appears to be a culture that places little or no value on truth. That is to say, if anthropologists were to discover a whole society built on Republican values, they would find a society whose members are indifferent as to whether a claim is true or false.
One of the characteristics that we would find in a culture that values truth is that they would hate inconsistency. A lover of truth knows that if she says A at one moment, and not-A at another moment, that one of these claims are false. As a lover of truth, she would loathe to make a false claim. This, then, will motivate her to discover which proposition is false so that she can embrace the one that is true.
In writing this blog, I have an obligation to make each post I write consistent with the 1250 posts that I have already written. If any of my new posts contradict an earlier post, I must explain what new information I acquired that moved me to change my mind.
Another reason why a person would make one claim at one moment an da different claim at another moment is that he has no love of truth and, as such, he makes only those claims that are convenient at a particular moment.
The current inconsistency that inspires this post is the Republican inconsistency when it comes to economic downturn.
Two months after George Bush took office for the first time, the tech bubble burst in the stock market. People started losing their jobs, businesses went bankrupt, retirement savings plummeted as stock values went down. Yet, the Republicans at that time said that this could not possibly be Bush's fault. It happened too soon after he took office. Rather, this was a natural market down turn (at best), or the seeds of the recession were planted in the Clinton administration.
Either way, we cannot hold a President responsible for an economic downturn that started within the first several months of a President’s administration.
Now, they are eager to blame the current administration on Obama – trying to fix in the public mind that this is the "Obama recession."
(See Media Matters: Hannity, Limbaugh promote myth of an 'Obama recession')
A lover of truth would be embarrassed by this. She would recognize the contradiction in claiming that two months is not enough time for a President to have an effect on the economy, and that two months is more than enough time for a President to have an effect on the economy. She would see this as evidence that the speaker does not care much about truth at all, but is governed instead by the principle of current expedience.
She knows that such a person is not to be trusted because the next claim that comes out of his mouth will also be guided by political expedience with no love of truth behind it.
Sure, parents in the Republican culture that says that political expedience counts but truth does not probably raise their children claiming that honesty has value. However, those children will soon learn how little those parents actually value truth by looking at who those parents promote as being good role models. The fact that those parents are promoting people who make inconsistent claims depending on what is useful to claim at the moment teaches the children to value current expedience over truth as well.
This is how the Republican culture is passed on from one generation to the next, through these types of lessons.
Now, I am not saying that no Republican values truth. The fact that a culture puts no value in truth does not imply that there are not people within that culture who do not share their culture’s values. It only says that they are too few and too weak to have much of an influence on the overall culture. The lovers of truth in the Republican culture are a weak and ineffective minority.
Nor am I saying that the Democrats are any different. After all, I dropped Crooks and Liars from my list of recommended sites at once time because it proved to be more concerned with political expedience than truth, and I have written a few posts condemning hypocrisy in the Democratic camp as well.
None of this changes the fact that Republican values are those that hold that truth is unimportant, and one that does not feel the least bit of shame in making inconsistent claims about how long it takes for a President’s policies to have an effect on the economy.
Whatever values Republicans hold that makes them think that they are the true holders of virtue, honesty and a love of truth are not to be found among them. Theirs is a culture of hypocrisy, deception, and convenient fictions. They may not be the only culture to hold such values, but they do hold those values.