To suggest a modest course of action

A good start would be to make your lies plausible matey.

21 thoughts on “To suggest a modest course of action”

  1. Does he state where Keynes made this suggestion? Does Capt Potato ever reveal what writings of Keynes he is familiar with? Should we believe that Keynes ever made this suggestion?

  2. The meltdown continues. In other twat, Spud informs us “In the world of microeconomics cash is ultimately king – the real common denominator.” Why is he so determined to parade his ignorance?

  3. Perhaps it is supererogatory but I have just put the phrase “plausible lies” into Google ngram and the number of uses before 1955 is negligible. None of the examples is from Keynes

  4. Curiouser and curiouser, the “plausible lies” story is classic hearsay. It was an off the cuff remark made over dinner, reported by someone who conceivably could have heard it and reported by someone who was probably not born at the time:

    Later that evening, according to Alvin Hansen, they were at dinner and Abba Lerner came up to Keynes and asked him “Mr. Keynes, why don’t we forget all this business of fiscal policy, public debt and all those things, and have some printing presses.” Keynes, after he looked around the room to see that no newspaper reporters could hear, replied “It’s the art of statesmanship to tell lies but they must be “plausible lies.” (Colander and Landreth 1996).

    Only Spud would take this as authoritative evidence. So Mr Hansen might have been there but Keynes wasn’t making a discreet bon mot to him.

  5. Diogenes above. Very interesting find. In my view the background is: Keynes had read Abba Lerner’s paper on ‘Functional Finance’ and said, it was basically correct, but politically in the USA, he had also said, ‘good luck with that’!

    In short, its not what you say, its the way that you say it – to Lerner (agreed) not Hansen.

  6. Dennis, Clear-Eyed As Always

    A couple of things to note:

    1) Spud isn’t an economist; political, progressive or otherwise
    2) Spud isn’t a statesman

    Call me a pendant, but even if you accept the rather dubious claim that telling ‘plausible lies’ is a necessary part of the path to political power, it simply doesn’t apply to Spud. The conditions for doing so are not met… and it is he who has set those conditions.

    Now, if you said it is the duty of a fat, unemployed accountant of no particular note to tell ‘plausible lies’ to grift a bit of funding from the dimwits who populate various communist/socialist nonprofits in England, then you’d have something.

  7. Bloke in North Dorset

    A plausible lie, like a noble lie, is still a lie and shows nothing but contempt for those it is aimed at, in this case the general population.

    If you think a subject is so complicated it can’t be explained to the general public without resorting to lies either you don’t understand it or you’re not cut out for public life, in Spud’s case that or should be an and.

    Perhaps it needs to be simplified, but that’s not the same as lying.

  8. BiND, this also applies to the mask volte-face: April = “masks don’t work” – July “Masks do work really, we only told you masks don’t work to protect ‘our NHS’.

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    Addolff,

    That was the noble lie. Rather than tell us they work in some circumstances but tell us not to go and buy them because they’re needed by those at highest risk, they lied.

    Mind you, the jury is still out over use by the general population.

  10. The Meissen Bison

    [The] role of statesmen [is] to tell ‘plausible lies’. They have to reduce complexity to the point of approximation but remain believable, nonetheless.

    I think he’s quoting a dictum of Dr Goebbels.

  11. A plausible lie, like a noble lie, is still a lie and shows nothing but contempt for those it is aimed at, in this case the general population.

    If you think a subject is so complicated it can’t be explained to the general public without resorting to lies either you don’t understand it or you’re not cut out for public life

    I certainly don’t wish to defend the Spudmeister, but that’s not true always and in general. Teaching a rigorous, purely logical subject such as mathematics to A-level (and even undergraduate level) demands ‘lies’ (at least, of omission). Explaining how integration ‘really’ (to the best of our modern understanding) works requires maths that would be beyond most such students. I expect the same is true in some areas of most subjects.

  12. Bloke in North Dorset

    Chris,

    So where do you draw the line between simplification and lying about your complex subjects?

    As I’ve moved up through technical subjects the first thing I’ve learned is that the previous explanation was a bit simple, but I don’t remember realising I was lied to in the sense it was a deliberate attempt to deceive.

  13. So Murphy says his role is to “tell plausible lies”.

    That’s one to keep to quote in the future!

  14. Think of history, at the simpler levels it’s a series of well meaning lies, French Revolution kicked off on Bastille day, of course it did, American civil
    War all about slavery, of course it was.
    The current BLM etc are exploiting this view to make a point now and to rewrite the narrative (1619 project) to fit the worldview they want

  15. @ Chris and BiND
    There is an essay, by Richard Feynman I think (but I could be wrong), that explains that the process of education is a series of plausible lies of increasing complexity. Not lies intended to deceive but to impart a truth at a level at which a student can understand it. An expanation for a 16-yr old is too complex for a 6-yr old and, similarly, too simple for an undergraduate. In other words, a tailored progression of semi-truths.

  16. The US civil war was indeed more complex than generally admitted. The South was in favour of free trade, states’ rights (subsidiarity in EU speak) more attractive policies than the North, which defended the tariff to protect their nascent industry.
    But for Britain it was all about slavery, which trumped the other issues.

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