The lies surrounding Germany of the 1930s and 1940s strike deep, even today. No surprise there. Himmler was the most successful, and evil, propogandist in modern times, and he had plenty of competition. Lies in political life are nothing new, and the good old U. S. of A. is no exception — anybody remember a certain former (now deceased) GOP senator from Wisconsin?
In the past half century, our government and politicians have, for a very long time, loudly yelled many disastrous lies. Many a citizen’s brain was taken prisoner by these lies; some of these POWs remain captives today. When I reflect on institutional lies, the debacles of Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan immediately come to mind. Meaningless interventions driven by falsehoods orchestrated by our leaders, both civilian and military, who dramatically and at substantial cost in treasury and lives unnecessarily lost, pushed our republic down the road of grievous harm and international humiliation.
I often ponder the phenomenon of convincing large bodies of a society to believe in demonstrable falsehoods. It isn’t so much the lie itself that produces this conundrum but rather how naked lies manage to embed themselves in the brains and emotions of large segments of our citizenry.
Is some unknown magic at work that allows lies and liars to steal the “hearts and minds” of otherwise rational humans?
Himmler’s playbook is the road map used by the current cadre of big liars and bigger lies; that is, trolls and trollism. They scream lies incessantly, 24/7/365, using all the tools of advanced digital technology – podiums of modern communication, platforms of mass social media and some unnamed TV stages masquerading as “news.”
Every facet of civic trust and reliability is corrupted when these devils of falsehood inject their poison into our information universe. The objectives of these tsunamis of malicious fiction is not to persuade but to confuse: to induce uncertainty, disorientation and hesitation in separating truth from deceit.
Trolling epistemology (the methodology of seeking truth) is designed to render indistinguishable fact and fabrication. Troll epistemology seeks to divide our country to gain political power, led by the emperor of trollism, who has and continues to wage war against our body politic.
Emperor DJT with his army of trolls, composed of some humans, but mostly computers, clever algorithms, and artificial intelligence, is aided and abetted by “far-right” media seeking to normalize mendacity (Ivy-league university graduates’ word for lying) so as to eliminate the distinction between truth and untruth.
Trollism’s singular objective is to destroy the public’s ability to make any distinction at all; confusion and chaos is the order of the day. In an unstable state of bewilderment, our kinsmen/ women are vulnerable to being led down the rocky road to perdition.
Trollist strategy seeks to construct not only a reverse-narrative but a completely new and distinct realm of disinformation; so-called “alternative facts” that are hidden lies designed to corrode the very basis of our democratic republic. Our union was founded upon truth, not lies. We must fight fire with fire; Truth against Lies. The stakes of this war are too enormous to ignore.
Many untruths die away eventually, rotting in the dustbin of history; gone and maybe even forgotten. But what damage have they caused in the meantime?
I am reminded of the false but powerful pseudo-science of Eugenics. For more than a half-century, the “laws” of this false biology cemented and “validated” racism throughout our culture and institutions. We remain bedeviled by the lingering effects of these lies.
The Emperor of Lies continues to gain acolytes, who swallow the big lies, however they are delivered, sharp-hook, long-line and heavy-sinker. These “Pied-Pipers of Lies” are a clear and present danger to the life of our experiment with democracy.
Newton’s Third Law of Physics is “For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction,” which means that in every interaction, a pair of forces acts on both interacting objects. Forces always come in equal and opposite action-reaction force pairs. This Law of Physics works well in determining how to physically strike a ball on a pool-table to one’s best advantage. I am not sure it fits as well in understanding and predicting human social interactions.
Whether it does or not, these threats demand from the citizenry an opposite (the Truth) and greater reaction — we must fight corrosive and toxic lies with the impenetrable armor of Truth. That is the only way to destroy the sickness that holds captive too many of our citizens. Let us shout TRUTH loudly and forever.
We cannot afford to lose this war. Our salvation lies in the hearts and minds of our citizens. Will you join this Tribe of Truth?
“Well, all I know is what I read in the newspapers.” – Will Rogers.
David M. Taub was Mayor of Beaufort from 1990 through 1999 and served as a Beaufort County Magistrate from 2010 to 2015. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.