A common belief is that one main reason for the superiority of representative democracy to all other political systems is that it works by procedures that compel officials to be held accountable. In a democracy, popular deficiencies of attention and understanding set systematic untruth in motion. Untruth plays a large role in American politics, so large a role that we could be led to contemplate the possibility that our democracy is intrinsically tenuous. But the plain fact is that untruth plays a large role in American democratic culture, in American life altogether. Untruth serves various interests and passions of the elites, whether in office or in society, the powerful and advantaged classes. In foreign policy, untruth can be a potent auxiliary to agonism by hiding or disguising it; more than that, it feeds the appetite for sustained and flattering untruth. All the forms of untruth are useful in the enterprise of rationalization.