People caught up with evil are, first and foremost, liars, concluded celebrated psychiatrist M. Scott Peck in his book
“People of the Lie,” “deceiving others as they also build layer upon layer of self-deception.”
Today, Americans trying to make sense of the unprecedented madness unfolding in Washington, D.C., are becoming increasingly aware that what they’re looking at, in essence, is “Government of the Lie.”
The current administration – with Obama leading the most radically left-wing, and yes I’m not afraid to say it, Marxist, governing coalition (along with Congress) in American history – specializes in the most dangerous and transformative lie of all, the “Big Lie.”
Everyone, of course, loves to throw around the term “Big Lie” these days – regularly accusing their opponents of engaging in the practice – without having any idea what a “Big Lie” really is.
In my new book “How Evil Works,” I tackle this mystery in chapter one (“In Government We Trust: Why we elect liars as leaders“):
The power of lies is not so much in the little “white lies” that are part of the fabric of most of our lives. It’s in the big lies. It’s paradoxical, but we’re more likely to believe big lies than small ones.
How can this be? Wouldn’t the big, outrageous lie be more easily discerned and resisted than the small, less consequential lie? You’d think so, but you’d be wrong.
There’s a dark magic in boldly lying, in telling a “big lie” – repeatedly, with a straight face, and with confidence and authority.
One of the greatest liars of the last century – Adolf Hitler – taught that the bigger the lie, the more believable it was.
Here, in his own creepy words, is how Hitler explained the fantastic power of lying in his 1925 autobiography “Mein Kampf”:
“… [I]n 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, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes. …”
Let’s bring this fascinating explanation by one of the 20th century’s most successful and consequential liars down to earth:
Suppose, just prior to Election Day, a candidate accuses his opponent of immoral or illegal behavior. Even if the charges are totally false, and even if the accused candidate answers the charges credibly and effectively, “the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it.” In plain English, no matter how effectively the accused answers the charges, some people will still believe he’s guilty, and many others will still retain varying degrees of doubt and uncertainty regarding the accused, who may well lose the election due to the cloud hanging over his head. This, as Hitler said, is the magic of lying that “is known to all expert liars in this world …”
The “doubt-inducing” quality inherent in a “big lie” is actually more powerful even than Hitler explained in “Mein Kampf.” Let’s say someone tells you a real whopper – like, “Your husband/wife is cheating on you, I have firsthand knowledge of this.” Although it’s totally untrue, the big lie has the ability to upset you in a way the little, everyday white lie doesn’t. And when you get upset over anything, guess what? You feel a little bit of guilt for falling to being upset, a little angry, a little confused, perhaps a little fearful – and bingo, all those conflicting emotions cause you to be unable to think straight, and can easily result in your compulsively believing the lie. To put it another way: When you’re upset, the lie takes on a mysterious quality of attraction and believability, as though a protective force-field has temporarily been disabled, allowing the lie to enter your mental inner sanctum.
Hitler’s principle of the radioactive lie that “leaves traces behind it” is exactly what lying, ruthless leaders everywhere bank on to get their way with the public. Believe me, they understand all this – which is why we need to also.
NEXT: How Team Obama is using the “Big Lie” principle to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” by manufacturing crises.