An Excerpt

“But what about his charge that you lie all the time?” said Scarborough.

“Tiny ugly men with small minds get all excited about this truth thing. When you dream big, as I do, you sometimes get a little carried away by the grandeur of your ideas. So that sometimes puts you in an exaggeratory posture, or even in the realm of the prevaricative. But it is rare that I go there, and when I do go there I know it is for the right reasons, as a service to society.

“And then there is this. How can a man who says he never told a lie have the temerity to try to regulate the other half of public speech, the inventive half, when, by his own admission, he claims to be totally ignorant of it? This makes no sense. And do you realize that the First Amendment does not include the word ‘truth’? Branding someone a liar can only inhibit free speech and is probably a violation of the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has long talked about the value of the free exchange of ideas in the marketplace. Even fake ideas have their place. False statements allow true statements to shine more brightly, so they have greater intellectual value. Take away the false statements and the true statements wouldn’t look so good. One could almost argue that, in helping to highlight by contrast what is true, the false statements are actually more valuable than the true statements. So, obviously, nothing should be done to suppress them.

“Not that I make false statements. I do not. I merely embellish occasionally. But that is only because my good ideas are so colossal.”

“I’m not sure children should be allowed to hear this,” Dad said.

“So,” said Scarborough, “what you’re saying is that you don’t lie, but that lies constitute highly beneficial speech?”

“Precisely. In fact, I think you could argue that liars are one of the most unprotected classes in the country. And I believe in standing up for them, as I do for all little people.”