Special lying edition – And why it’s so goddamn important.
When you go to civics class when you’re young there’s this talking point about Hitler having said something along the lines of “tell a big lie, make it simple, tell it frequently, and they will be believe it.” This strategy was part of how Mr Hitler got into power in the 1930s in what was then Weimar Germany. If you’re not familiar with Mr Hitler, he was the primary antagonist of the Second World War and famous for his watercolour painting, the deconstruction of the equal value of human life, the murder of 6 million Jews, the destruction of a continent and some 70 to 80 million lives lost worldwide in total. In all, the deadliest and most destructive conflict in the history of mankind.
Now, let’s return to the lie. Contrary to the narrative stating that Nazism was the omnipresent party in late Weimar Germany, they actually held only 30% of parliament when they ascended to power with the help of Conservatives (hello Paul Ryan, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and sadly many more). Then Mr Hitler burned the Parliament (Reichstag), framed the opposition and claimed absolute power. What happened next is, as they say, history.
Many lessons here. But primarily, how the ascent of Mr Hitler and Mr Trump both pivot on lies. There’s a widespread opinion that “every politician lies”, implying Trump is no exception. But there are enormous differences. Firstly, this level of lying should be disgraceful to anyone in any developed country. We’re going to try and illustrate this on a scale from Truth to Blatant Made-up Political Lie. On this scale you will find Truth on side and Lie on the another. Most D politicians would been on Middle to Truth side and most Republicans from Middle of Lie side to slightly over to the truth side.
The important point here is the giant distance from the discourse espoused by Democrats (but also many mainstream Republicans) to the enormous amount of shit being pumped out by the Orange Orangutan; which is why I suddenly understand that line about big lies quoted above. When the push back from the press isn’t focused, it isn’t forceful and, all too often, it is not present at all. The sensory overload created by the ridiculous amount of quixotic comments and controversies must be overwhelming enough to make the spineless journalists confused. The result of the tornado of lies is that they start to let the simpler ones slip. I guess this is because it wouldn’t be good TV to expose the candidate every 5 seconds (But it could be!!). AND, by not doing this, 4 of every 5 crazy lies (yes, lies) slip through and the PEOPLE watching end up with an impression that it’s sorta true. Not quite. But sorta. These folks might intellectually grasp this isn’t true, maybe it’s even a lie, but the sheer amount of bullshit will make them numb. If a standard candidate would say one thing the Orange Orangutan says, that candidate would be out. But if you say it frequently enough, simply enough, they will accept it.
Because when you combine this with the fact that the message is what you want to believe – plenty of folks will accept what he says as valid even if they intellectually know this is not correct. When confronted with what the Orange Orangutan actually has said most people will backtrack from that because they know that c. 60 Million American Hispanics aren’t rapists; and unemployment isn’t 43%; and China didn’t steal all your jobs and so forth. But,
- since some Hispanics behaved badly and for you Hispanics are different enough to single out as a group – well, they all might not be rapists, but they sure aren’t nice…
- since a bunch of your great friends can’t find a job, and downtown is terribly run down these days… Unemployment can’t be 5%, it must be higher??
- My job went away, and me and my pals were all great at it, how could they have moved the factory to China if it wasn’t because the Chinese cheated??
There are all these narratives in peoples lives which fit into certain parts of the message from the Orange Orangutan, that makes it easier to support (not intellectually agree with) because for you (right or wrong) Washington has not delivered the change you wanted. And – this is important – this is why someone can still believe a person with a record of not giving a shit about the working man will deliver change for you, even after having said an immense number of ridiculously absurd things. [L
I’m fond of a book by Neil Postman called “Amusing ourselves to death.” It’s about political discourse and, particularly, the medium of how political discourse is held. The title of the book is derived from the idea that in the age of TV, political discourse moved from policy content to discussing a façade of what your policy content should look like. Well, now we seem to be five steps beyond even that when one candidate backed by one party (yes, there’s no equivalence here, never try to claim that) has moved away from even having any policy substance whatsoever – a fact-free discourse. It’s like a pack of sardines trying to escape a predator. Looking at one absurd comment you see it’s a DEALBREAKER, but when you look at everything at the same time it’s just a big blur of orange colored shit and that’s how you come to the 21st century version of “…a big lie, make it simple, tell it frequently, and they will believe it.”
Please, reasonable people of America: THIS IS A GIANT DEALBREAKER!!!
That’s all for this time folks! And, promise me, don’t be so goddamn gullible.
Ray Sawyer is a political analyst with his highest dream being appearing on the cover of the Time magazine. He would also like to be lied about by Donald Trump. No one is anything in Ray’s world if he hasn’t been lied about by Donald Trump.