By VennerRoad, 10th Oct 2017
Adolf Hitler may well be the most reviled man in history, but he gave us one gem for which we should all be grateful.
Psychic fraud Colin Fry.
That is expounding the psychology of what he called the big lie. At pages 242-3 of the official English translation of Mein Kampf, the future Führer writes:
“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 bad, and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than to the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters, but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehood. 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 are put clearly before them, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation...”
Put simply and in context that means a big lie or series of big lies are often more credible than a small lie, especially when repeated incessantly, and especially so when many people join in the chorus, often as unwitting dupes.
Hitler blamed “the Jews” for promulgating the big lie. While it is easy to dismiss this sentiment as mere anti-Semitism, his only mistake in this context was in applying it to one group of people. If he had universalised it, no reasonable critic could have blamed him, because when we look around today we see big lies coming at us from all directions, which in this era of fake news are often difficult if not impossible to sort from accurate information.
The big lie is practised by everyone from individuals to religious cults to lobbying organisations and charities to NGOs and Governments. Here are a few examples.
In 2001, two mischief-makers from a Dallas radio station claimed Britney Spears and her then boyfriend Justin Timberlake had been involved in a car crash. She was said to be dead; he in a coma. The incident was said to have happened in Los Angeles, and as might be expected caused panic among fans. At the time of writing, Britney Spears is still very much alive - from the neck downwards at least - so this was clearly a massive lie. Calling it a prank doesn’t alter this fact.
Big lies are told in courtrooms around the world every day, by guilty defendants, corrupt police officers, and witnesses on both sides. Sometimes a big lie is caught on camera, and when it is, it can be truly shocking as in this incident from Middle Tennessee State University on October 27, 2009. For this potentially fatal assault on street preacher John McGlone, Michaela Morales received a mere slap on the wrist, but that should surprise no one, after all, she is a woman.
One of the easiest ways to lie and lie big is with statistics; the mythical gender pay gap is based largely on contrived statistics. If feminist activists are quick to utilise false statistics when lobbying politicians, the race lobby has gone one better. Any apparent or supposed disparity in everything from income distribution to conviction rates to school exclusion is put down to something called racism, with the call for even more legislation and government spending to redress these imaginary problems. A particularly venal example of lying with statistics was the Baldus study.
In the 1980s, the anti-death penalty lobby in the United States commissioned the late Professor Baldus and two of his colleagues to examine supposed racial discrimination in the application of the death penalty. They used the documented disparities to imply that it was unfair to execute a larger percentage of black murderers than white ones, but the resulting Racial Justice Act was shredded by one Representative who pointed out that it was
“a nasty, mean-spirited, death-by-racial-quota requirement that will effectively repeal the death penalty in America if enacted, and that is deliberately titled so as to coerce Senators into voting for it or risk being branded racist.”
It can be argued that in the United States, the death penalty is by definition discriminatory. Montana abolished the death penalty for all crimes except treason in 1847, so a black serial killer may not be executed in Montana while a white man who commits one murder in Texas may be. Is anyone going to lose sleep over that? Furthermore, only twenty people were executed in the entire country last year - if one excludes police shootings and the like! Of those twenty, two were black, two Latino, and the rest were white. All were men. How about executing a few women to avoid charges of sexism?
A far more important issue in the death penalty debate is the time some of these men spend on death row. Brandon Jones was convicted of murder in 1979 yet was executed only in February 2016. How can this be?
The big lie infests every aspect of modern living. Without delving into religion, which most people regard as a purely personal matter, it does not hurt to point out that there are large numbers of people, most of them women, who “earn” their livelihoods by peddling lies to the credulous, the desperate, the vulnerable, people grieving loved ones and who are looking for answers where there are none. Colin Fry was a typical example of a spirit medium. The fact that he was caught red-handed cheating did nothing to diminish his following. Another spirit medium who was positively evil was Sylvia Browne.
Her “fails” are classic, they included telling the mother of Amanda Berry that her daughter was dead. Any detective would have made the same prediction, though probably not so callously. In addition to her fails on TV, Browne was a convicted fraudster, but neither this nor her uselessness discouraged the true believers. Indeed, neither did her death, her website was simply taken over by her son Chris Dufresne, who is continuing to bleed the gullibles of their hard earned cash. Anyone can make predictions that stack up reasonably well against those of these professional charlatans. Take a gander at this. What is or should be the most astounding feature of this scam is that the modern spiritualist movement which was born in duplicity was exposed at the time, back in the 1850s!
Much more could be written about the big lie, but the above and the linked articles should suffice. The bottom line is that just because something is parroted incessantly, it is not necessarily true. There are though tell tale signs. There is a saying that truth does not need protecting, that it will always out. This is not and never has been the case. A lie directed against an individual - slander or libel - may require action in the civil courts, or even the criminal courts. Generally, the police take a dim view of people who spread scurrilous stories because this may lead to acts of vigilantism against the innocent, as for example in the now notorious Hampstead Satanic abuse hoax. But generally speaking, the truth does not need protecting, especially historical truth or scientific truth. Those who attempt to suppress ideas they find anathema usually have something ugly to hide. Or protect.
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