Lies, propaganda, fake news, popular delusions and scientific fraud

The idea that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton is a big lie hatched by Clinton and her gang shortly after she realized she had lost. The lie has become so entrenched that otherwise intelligent people apparently believe it. It’s not just a vicious lie it’s also an example of how the losers delude themselves and probably come to believe their own lies.

In addition to a myriad of political lies, America is now soaked in falsehoods and delusions from the global warming/climate change flapdoodle-scientific fraud to the false belief that gluten is bad for you even if you are not among the 1 in 100 people who have celiac disease, an inherited autoimmune disease that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is ingested. Even if you add to that the 1 in 250 people with a doctor-diagnosed wheat allergy, the anti-gluten mania is completely nuts.

None of this is harmless. The damage to a society done by lies, false notions and slick propaganda will eventually lead to a deep society-wide mental sickness. Those who use lies and propaganda to control other people will eventually end up living in the chaos they created. When the devil turns around on them there will be nothing they can control anymore. That’s a problem for the rest of us because it won’t be just the barbarians who created this mess that will feel the devil’s riding crop on their backs. Everyone is worse off in a world of unreality made by mass delusion and deception.

In this quote from William L. Shirer (1904-1993), The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, Mr. Shirer tells of the effect on a people over time from hearing and reading incessant lies and propaganda:

No class or group or party in Germany could escape its share of responsibility for the abandonment of the democratic Republic and the advent of Adolf Hitler. The cardinal error of the Germans who opposed Nazism was their failure to unite against it.

I myself was to experience how easily one is taken in by a lying and censored press and radio in a totalitarian state. Though unlike most Germans I had daily access to foreign newspapers, especially those of London, Paris and Zurich, which arrived the day after publication, and though I listened regularly to the BBC and other foreign broadcasts, my job necessitated the spending of many hours a day in combing the German press, checking the German radio, conferring with Nazi officials and going to party meetings.

It was surprising and sometimes consternating to find that notwithstanding the opportunities I had to learn the facts and despite one’s inherent distrust of what one learned from Nazi sources, a steady diet over the years of falsifications and distortions made a certain impression on one’s mind and often misled it. [emphasis added] No one who has not lived for years in a totalitarian land can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime’s calculated and incessant propaganda.

Often in a German home or office or sometimes in a casual conversation with a stranger in a restaurant, a beer hall, a café, I would meet with the most outlandish assertions from seemingly educated and intelligent persons. It was obvious that they were parroting some piece of nonsense they had heard on the radio or read in the newspapers.

Sometimes one was tempted to say as much, but on such occasions one was met with such a stare of incredulity, such a shock of silence, as if one had blasphemed the Almighty, that one realized how useless it was even to try to make contact with a mind which had become warped and for whom the facts of life had become what Hitler and Goebbels, with their cynical disregard for truth, said they were.

Sound familiar?

It was Joseph Goebbels who said, “A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.”

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