Michael Knowles discusses why “BS” has become so popular among 2020 Democratic Party candidates on Tuesday’s episode of “The Michael Knowles Show.” Transcript and video below.
There’s this book that came out about twenty years ago “On BS” by Harry G Frankfort. What he pointed out is that one of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much BS. He says, "everyone knows this, each of us contributes his share." You see it all around you. Now perhaps the reason for that is not that people are BSing more than they used to, but that we’re communicating so much more than we used to. Now, obviously you’re watching this on the internet, or you’re listening to it in your car, or on your phone or wherever. Everybody is talking to everybody.
This is a product of the internet age. Maybe the percentage of BS remains the same, even though the volume has greatly increased. As Harry Frankfort points out, “in consequence, we have no clear understanding of what BS is. Why there is so much of it. Or what function it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, we have no theory."
Coincidentally, I was watching all these presidential candidates coming out, and not only are they BSing, they’re even using the word BS quite a lot.
According to this book, BS “is not fundamentally that the speaker regards his statements as false,” so it’s not that BS is just when you intentionally lie and it’s just obvious lies. That’s not really what defines BS. What defines BS instead is that "the BSer intends the BS statements to convey a certain impression of himself."
So, when you BS, it’s not that you’re intentionally lying, or that you’re telling the truth. It’s actually that you don’t really have any regard for what you’re saying at all. You don't have any regard for the truth that you're saying, and you don't have any regard for the object you're saying. All that you're really concerned with is how you are being perceived. What impression you are giving of yourself.
So, when guys like Julian Castro or Eric Swalwell, when they even use the word BS, they are just trying to give an impression of themselves. “I'm going to talk tough. I'm going to speak casually. Yeah, I can use profanity. But it’s not actually conveying an idea or an idea about which they really care.” This is obviously what’s going on in the 2020 Democrat primary.