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Elmer Fudd has more common sense than the average Very Serious Person, the average Villager.  Wile E. Coyote was more perceptive than the average mainstream reporter.  Weepy Willie was less clownish than the typical network TV pundit.

Distinguishing between truth and lies isn't important to them.  It's all a cartoon.  Ordinary people might get hurt, but Road Runner and Wile always live on to see another harebrained scheme.  Elmer and the wascally wabbit always come back for more.  So why does it matter?

Hence we have Villager truth.  And that's what controls the conversation among the Very Serious People, including, alas, most Democrats in Washington.  For to defy Villager truthiness is to run the risk of being labeled conspiratorial or extremist.  And that's only okay if you're a Republican.

Maybe Donald Rumsfeld was onto something.  He was actually being realistic when he talked about known unknowns and unknown unknowns.  If I know that I don't know something, it's a known unknown.  If there's something I don't know about and I don't even realize that I should know about it, then it's an unknown unknown.  And those are the most dangerous ones.

With the Villagers, it's not about what's known. It's about what's true, and who knows it.  It's about lies and who knows who's lying.  It's about how the Villagers and their press stenographers report the conversation between two other parties.

So if I tell you something that I know isn't true, and you are fooled, then I'm lying.  If the Village stenographer knows that I'm lying and reports it as truth, then he's a co-conspirator.  But if you find out I'm lying, you can make noise about it and stenographer will report that too.  It is up to the stenographer to be Fair and Balanced about who is telling the truth, because there are always exactly two sides to every story and they are both equally true.

Now let's say I tell you something that I know isn't true, and you know that it isn't true.  I'm still lying, but this time you're in on the lie.  What happens, though, with the stenographer?  A Very Serious Person simply does not want to call out a lie.  If two parties agree on something, then it must be reported as Truth, no matter how absurd the claim.  For a Village reporter to say otherwise would be to violate the Prime Directive, to not interfere.

So we have both sides lying about the deficit.  We have both sides ignoring the impact of the economy on the deficit, and ignoring Keynes.  We have both sides ignoring the fact that private health insurance for over-65s is almost impossible to get, and would be absurdly expensive, certainly not something a retired worker could ever afford.  No, those facts are not reported.  We have similar reporting on foreign issues.  We have such fear of being "anti-Israel" that the opinions of a large share of the Jewish population there (alas, not quite an electoral majority) are that the settlement policy is dangerous and a two-state solution is necessary, as the obvious alternatives are either violent ethnic cleansing (whose supporters are a small minority), an Arab state, or an apartheid state.  But saying "apartheid" is forbidden among VSPs even though Israelis themselves are saying it louder and louder.

Our political discourse, then, is distorted by the understanding that lying is okay, if it's part of a deal, since as the only people who call it out are not the official Village news sources.  And that's how we end up with public policy that doesn't work.  If the problems you set out to solve are lies, then the solutions won't work for the truth.  And if a shotgun blows up in your face, or an Acme anvil hits you, then it's our fault. Because we weren't Vewwy Vewwy Sewious enough.

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