transformation of America
Lies, Damned Lies, and the Big Lie
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“Hey, little apple,
Where are you rolling?
… Hey, little apple,
Where have you rolled?” - Ayn Rand, “We the Living”
American folk knowledge suggests that most of what we hear from politicians are lies. And, that once politicians commence political wrangling all we hear are damned lies. The humorist Will Rogers once opined, “If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these acceptance speeches there wouldn’t be any inducement to go to heaven.” President Ronald Reagan more recently quipped, “Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”
Humorous as these quotes are, beneath them are some underlying notions. First, we Americans have become a politically jaded people. We are accustomed to politicians making campaign promises, or spinning issues and rhetoric to their personal and Party benefit. Hence we have come wrongly to accept, often blithely and with indifference, the faults and the Lies of these men and women because of “the mote in our own eye.” Popular notions about not judging others are being used against us by the political Establishment for their own political protection. Second, come the Damned Lies. The longer someone remains in politics, it appears the more willing they are to sell out principle for a matter of expediency. A man or woman’s price is not always met in the form of a payment or a bribe. Often, that price is an acquired loyalty over time to an ideology alien to “American Exceptionalism.” It could be a misguided personal loyalty that comes to override one’s Oath of Service. It could be the loyalty to an ideology that is contrary to the principles of liberty and freedom as laid down by our Founding Fathers in our Founding Documents. [The Founding Documents to which I refer are the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States of America, and The Federalist Papers].
Hence, over 234 years of accepting the practice of such corruptions, the United States of America, once upon a time a Constitutional Republic, has somehow survived despite our best efforts to destroy it. Individually through indifference, and corporately though the Congressional Laws, Executive Edicts, Judicial Activism, and the overstuffed Ballot box, we have drifted from noble Republic to vulgar Democracy, and from lawful Constitution to personal whim. We have been set up to accept “the Big Lie.”.
“The Big Lie,” is the worst lie of them all. “The Big Lie” is the lie of propaganda. “The Big Lie” is that known falsehood repeated over and over, in various venues, in various ways, promising the undeliverable, creating an impression of good over evil, vilifying all dissent and dissenters, and masquerading as God’s own truth. Of course it is not the Truth; it is anything but the Truth. And, “the Big Lie” existed long before “Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. The Big Lie was used to bring down Socrates. The Roman, Pontius Pilate, used “the Big Lie” to condemn Jesus, and then washed his hands of it.
“To be most effective, propaganda needs the help of censorship. … Total propaganda and the art of “the Big Lie” was pioneered by the Bolsheviks. … Where Soviet Agitprop led, the Fascists were quick to follow.”  This technique, propaganda theorists suggest, uses five rules is a follows:
- Simplification - reduce everything to simple confrontation: Thesis -antithesis.
- Disfiguration - discredit the opposition by smear and crude caricature.
- Transfusion - manipulate audience consensus values to one’s own ends.
- Unanimity - present one’s point as unanimous opinion of right thinking people.
- Orchestration - endless repetition of the same messages in variations.
Example 1: The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917-1923 capitalized on symbols and slogans to achieve this aim initially:
- “Proletarians of the World Unite!”
- “Our power is in the tight welding of the Collective!”
- “Long live the Dictatorship of the Proletariat!”
The more insidious attempts at mind control, brainwashing, came later in the songs of little Pioneers :
“To the greedy bourgeois sorrow
We shall light our fire tomorrow,
Our world of fire and blood…”
Indeed, there were songs and poems, books and plays, films and operetta; all designed to replace what was in your mind with “correct thinking,” played an replayed endlessly, similar to Top Forty Hits on the radio today, but inescapable.
The vilification and purges of Czarists came first, then the Bourgeois class of lesser Nobles, then the Shopkeepers, then the Rich Peasants, and finally the common man who had nothing left but his free mind. It took essentially 5-7 years to fundamentally transform Russia from a Monarchy to a Totalitarian State in a day of primitive transportation and means of communication compared to today.
Example 2: The National Socialist [NAZI] Revolution in Germany had its roots in the civil discord of immediate post World War years. In 1924, the year Lenin died just before Stalin became “first among equals” in the USSR, Adolf Hitler was laying the groundwork for a National Socialist takeover, destruction of the Weimar Republic, and the founding of his “1000 Year Reich” made up of a superior Aryan race of human beings. Within this evil, insidious Big Lie, the Nazis capitalized on the overt and latent anti-Semitism in Europe and Germany. The Nazis insisted that the Jewish Industrialists, Factory Owners, Bankers, and Merchants had “stabbed Germany in the back” for profits during the war causing Germany to settle for an unfair peace, a “Versailles Diktat.”
Hitler manipulated German free elections and the Parliamentary process and the deft use of propaganda and “the big Lie” to attain the Chancellorship by 1933.
This time, the Jews were the scapegoat. Goebbels produced filmstrips for moviegoers that compared the Jews to rats running in alleyways and as greedy villains and criminals. Newspaper cartoons caricatured Jews with gross facial features and animal-like body forms. Editorials shamed the Jews daily for their close community and religious practices, even claiming that Jewish Rituals used the blood of young Christian children. Millions of so-called Christian believers were duped. German citizens were at first encouraged, and later mandated to discriminate against the Jews by Racial Laws of 1935. The seeds of the Final solution came but a short time later.
The Nazi’s fundamentally transformed Germany within a 4-5 year period from fledgling Democracy, to Totalitarian State.
These are ugly examples to be sure. They deserve critical consideration. Are any of us ever so far from destruction or slavery that we need not worry? Did Czar Nicholas II think for a moment that he, his wife, and their beautiful children would be slaughtered by the Bolsheviks in 1918? Did the average Soviet Communist Party Member understand that Stalin could purge him on a whim? Did the magnificent mind of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a loyal Soviet Red Army Officer, even suspect he would be exiled to Siberia as a political Prisoner? Did the average Jew in 1933 Germany think that six million of them would be slaughtered during the next 13 years? Did the non-Jewish population of Germany really not know this was going on? Can it be so that otherwise normal people can be so far into denial that they will willingly march into their own oblivion following “the Big Lie,” or a leader who uses “the Big Lie?”
Beware “the Big Lie.” “The Big Lie” leads to the Totalitarian State. It does this by removing your critical thinking faculties, a little bit at a time over time “Don’t worry your pretty little head, we’ll take care of you. Just file your taxes, work, and shut up!”
What are some of “the Big Lies” rolling about today? How does one separate Lies and Damned Lies from “the Big Lies.” Campaign rhetoric aside, ask yourself whether the Big Lie and the Five Rules for Propaganda listed above have been applied to any of these government actions and pending legislation of the last nineteen months. Do your due diligence:
- “Son of TARP” - the Federal Stimulus
- Card Check Legislation
- Takeover of Chrysler and GM
- National Healthcare Reform
- Financial Regulation Reform
- Cap & Trade Legislation and the Deep Horizon Oil Spill
Fundamental Transformation. What does Obama mean? Judge the man by his deeds not his words. Nineteen months: Does America look like it did just a scant Ten years ago? Six Years ago? Two years ago? Just asking.
Recall the 1959 Charlton Heston Film Classic, Ben-Hur. Sentenced by the court to the Roman Galleys, Judah Ben-Hur loses his identity to become a galley slave, known only as “Number Forty One.” When Commander Arrius’ great ship goes down, Ben-Hur rescues his overlord. The roles are now reversed. The overbearing slave master had become the slave.
Arrius: What is your name, Forty-One?
Judah: [pause] Judah Ben-Hur.
Arrius: Judah Ben-Hur… Let me die.
Judah: [repeating Arrius’ words on board the galleys] We keep you alive to serve this ship. Row well and live.
“We keep you alive to serve this ship. Row well, and live.”
William R. Mann -- Bio and Archives | Click to view Comments
1. Norman Davies, Professor Emeritus, University of London, Europe A History, Harper Perennial, 1998
2. Ayn Rand, “We the Living,” New American Library, First Printing, 2009.
3. Ben Hur (1959_film)