Thursday, February 25, 2010
Accelerating the Speed of Lies
By Alan Caruba
“In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie…”
Who wrote that? The answer is Adolf Hitler in “Mein Kampf”, published in his1925 autobiography. During World War Two the U.S. government’s Office of Strategic Services, which later would evolve into the Central Intelligence Agency, assessed Hitler’s methods:
“His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people would sooner or later believe it.”
I have been reading David Kupelian’s new book, “How Evil Works” and thinking a lot lately about lies, lying, and liars. At the heart of great frauds is the lie and it seems to me that Americans have lately been subjected to a surfeit of lies that began with the 2008 election campaign in which a virtually unknown, first term Illinois Senator announced he was running for President.
“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” is attributed to Mark Twain and the truth of that is more evident than ever because technology has increased the speed with which lies travel. It has, fortunately, also given speed to those who debunk the lies and the result is a dizzying avalanche of conflicting claims.
Being ignorant of the intent of our nation’s Founding Fathers, of the limitations on the federal government found in the U.S. Constitution, of the deliberate separation of powers in our government’s executive, judicial, and legislative branches, and of history in general puts people at a disadvantage to recognize a threat to the nation and their freedom.
Edgar Watson Howe, (1853-1937) a newspaper and magazine editor in the early years of the last century said, “Americans detest all lies except lies spoken in public or printed lies.”
I think he was reflecting on the influence of the broadcast and print media of his day, but it is no less true today. Most certainly, the presidency is an enormous platform for the person holding the office to advance policy by telling lies.
A President, however, who is perceived to be a serial liar, soon begins to lose credibility and popularity. President Obama’s credibility and popularity has fallen at an astonishing rate in just over a year in office.
It is worth noting, too, that the credibility of newspapers as a source of objective reporting has been in decline as the Internet has grown, offering an enormous number of news and opinion websites from which anyone can determine the truth or falsehood of public debate.
The English publisher and writer, Ernest Benn (1875-1954) said, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy.”
We are seeing this play out in the effort to “reform” Medicare by President Obama and the Democrat Party. Even Republicans know that Medicare is in need of some changes to improve the program. Tort reform and the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines are but two improvements that make perfectly good sense to most people.
However, the reform being proffered by the White House is nothing more than a socialist expansion of a government that is already too large and too unwieldy to serve the interests of Americans. It would, as is often pointed out, destroy the best health system in the world and put one sixth of the nation’s economy under the control of government.
In the process of putting forth Medicare “reform” President Obama has told so many lies that it is only with great difficulty that one can keep track of them.
Little wonder that the great historian, Edward Gibbon, wrote that “History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.”
No greater modern example of this is found in the global warming fraud. Since the 1980s the deliberate distorting of “science” has been the basis for the Big Lie that the Earth’s overall temperature is rising rapidly and that mankind is responsible for it through the use of coal, oil, and natural gas as fuels for industry use and the production of electrical power.
The greatest lies of the modern era, however, have been communism and its baby sister, socialism. The deaths of millions are attributed to Communism as practiced in the former Soviet Union and in the early years of the Peoples Republic of China. Nazism, a form of socialism, led to the deaths of millions in World War Two.
Nations that have embraced socialism are experiencing serious financial crisises these days. These political systems have proven to be failures wherever they have been introduced and imposed.
The greatest domestic challenge to Americans today is the combination of socialism, a system that has been slowly introduced into the governance of the nation since the 1930s, and the recent election of a “messiah” promising “hope and change.”
Beyond and within our shores, the other Big Lie, Islam, threatens our freedoms and it too must be resisted and defeated.
Today, however, Americans need to embrace the U.S. Constitution as never before. It is our shield against despotism and the lies that advance it.
© Alan Caruba, 2010