The Lie


All this was inspired by the principle – which is quite true in itself – that 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, 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. …”

One of the most significant books I ever read was Lying:Moral Choice in Public and Private Life by Sissela Bok, which I read in the early 1980s. It made me think about the “little white lie”, doctors lying to their patients “for their own good”. One of the Amazon reviewers writes: “I like that Bok concludes her book with a message of hope saying that it is possible to raise the expectation of honesty and raise the integrity of people in this country.” I love the optimistic cast of that comment, but I’m not feeling it in the discussions we hear from our leaders. I’m hearing half-truths and distortions paraded as truth.
What I’m hearing, most unfortunately, more closely resembles what I quoted above, which is from this guy, who wrote it in his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf (James Murphy translation, page 134). I find that VERY unsettling.
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And speaking of lying, Scott McClellan resigned as White House press secretary yesterday. The initial conversation I heard from people from the Vulpine Alleged News Channel after the last personnel change, at the Chief of Staff position, is that the administration needs a better way to present its message. I suppose the thought that the message, not the messenger, needs altering would not occur to those folks.
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It cannot be just a coincidence that Germany is releasing archival files on millions of Nazi victims the same week as Hitler’s birthday, can it? The truth will out, even three score after the fact.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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