The thing about liars | The Jackal

18 Sept 2014

The thing about liars

The thing about liars is there's always tell-tale signs to show that they're telling a lie. Even the best liars will give themselves away with small body mannerisms or catch phrases, which if you know what to watch out for can easily be spotted.

According to the psychologist Robert Feldman, people lie all the time. However, lying as a profession is mainly only done by politicians.

Politicians are more often than not born gifted with the ability to convincingly lie to the public, and through training often become experts at bending the truth to suit their political goals. One such expert is the Prime Minister, John Key.

John Key is perhaps New Zealand's most accomplished liar, being that despite his numerous and documented untruths, a large group of gullible people still support the National party. Key's lies this election campaign have been exceptional, with barely a hint he's misleading the public about the government's track record or its intentions should it be re-elected.

Key wasn't always an expert liar. You used to be able to tell he was lying because he would look physically uncomfortable or become nervous. This is a typical response by somebody who recalls being punished as a child for lying. It's an involuntary response to the subconscious memory of being physically hurt for being a liar.

These days Key is able to look you straight in the eye and lie. He will however become a bit deadpan. He's obviously been working hard to be able to tell a lie with a straight face. It's only when he's pressed on an issue that his body language starts to give his dishonesty away. The tell-tale sign for Key these days is a slight side-to-side head shake as if to say no. This is a very common body mannerism of liars, and one that is easy to spot.

The other way to catch John Key out lying is to cross-reference what he says about a certain subject to different people on different days. Like most liars, Key will suit his lie to the circumstances he's in. For instance, on September 14, when talking about Glenn Greenwald's claims that New Zealand conducts mass surveillance, John Key stated:

"There's no ambiguity. No middle ground. I'm right. He's wrong," Mr Key told reporters today.

However, on September 17, after Edward Snowden made the same claims concerning New Zealand conducting mass surveillance, John Key changed his story:

"I think the point he was making was in that shared database he said 'I regularly came across information about New Zealanders' - that may well be right".

John Key, like many expert liars before him, needs to somehow justify his lying to himself. He does this by having a theoretical excuse whereby his lying needs to be worded in a specific way for it to really be lying.

In this case Key is lying because it's the NSA undertaking the mass surveillance, which New Zealand spying agencies then have access to. The precise way John Key words his lies is done so that he has an excuse in the form of semantics. Such word trickery doesn't lesson the impact of the lie however, which in some circumstances can be very damaging.

Clearly John Key is a very accomplished and professional liar! Let's hope that enough Kiwis agree that such a dishonest man isn't suited to lead a country like New Zealand, and will choose somebody with a bit more integrity and honesty to be the next Prime Minister. Because without a change in government, Key's lies are likely to become even more outrageous!