“Why Not Just Make Things Up?”: The Amir Taheri Story

Amir Taheri, the Iranian royalist who brought us the tale of Tehran’s plan to make Jewish Iranians wear special yellow badges, turns out to have made up other things too…things which Norman Podhoretz and Michael Ledeen repeat as real. I’ve stuck the details over at Mother Jones.

It’s this kind of bald-faced lying that makes me respect Taheri. Even the most egregious propagandists usually can’t bring themselves to fabricate things out of whole cloth. Instead, they’ll misrepresent what people actually did say, or cite facts selectively. It’s just how our monkey brains work.

This often leads monkey-brained hacks to behave in preposterous ways, as they go to incredible lengths to consciously mislead people while not exactly “lying” (see a funny recent example here). I always look at their exertions and want to ask: since you clearly have no moral scruples, why not just make things up?

But clearly this is something we will never have to wonder about Taheri. And he is the bigger man for it.