Friday, May 02, 2003

More on delusion and the Big Lie

Digby's coverage of the topic of the Big Lie ties in closely with my previous posts about self-delusion. He starts of with a quote from that master manipulator, Adolf Hitler, about how people have a hard time believing that someone would push the Big Lie because they themselves would never have the chutzpah to do the same (no, Adolf didn't actually use the word "chutzpa".) Digby continues on this topic: Smart guy, no doubt about it. That surely explains why so many Americans believe that Iraq and 9/11 are connected and why many probably believe that WMD have been found or that they were destroyed in the days before the war or any other of the improbable explanations as to why the fundamental rationale on which this war was based simply must be true in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. A good number of people simply do not want to believe that the President of the United States would blatantly lie over and over and over again on a subject of such importance. The average person isn't the only one who suffer from this lack of skepticism. I believe many in the establishment press have the same malady. Any time the topic of Bush outright lying is brought up, the rare times it is brought up, it is quickly dismissed as nonsense by even the most educated of commentators. As I said before, it's not just a matter of people can't comprehending the idea that someone could lie that blatantly. It's also that they have a hard time acknowledging this because to do so would require them to admit that they were foolish enough to be fooled by the lie in the first place. Most people simply don't have the strength of character to admit that kind of fallibility. Me, I suffer from chronic insecurity, so its easy for me to acknowledge that I might get it wrong. Sometimes horribly wrong. Digby moves even beyond this question to the case of those who fully acknowledge the nature of the lie but don't consider it that big of a deal. Like the boss who requires his staff to obsequiously and insincerely flatter him (because he delights in forcing them to say something they don’t believe purely to please him, and knowing they know it) it is less an act of narcissism than a demonstration of power. Regardless of whether they had bad intelligence or just bad intentions, for the administration to straightforwardly say to their supporters that the arguments they had them put forth with such fervor prior to the war were never correct and don’t matter anyway is, in effect, demanding a loyalty oath that says they are willing to give up any claim to personal integrity in support of the party. You can believe me or you can believe your lyin' eyes. Nothing could delight the Bushies more than to hear the gnashing of the teeth of the opponents as they blatantly lie, shrug when caught in the lie and then not suffer any consequences for their arrogance. Read the whole post to get the full flavor. It's quite good.

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