Lying in Politics

It follows from our discussion on “quantum social science” that knowledge and the potentiality for “self-actualization” are deeply intertwined. “Self-actualization” then translates into the “full functionality” of an individual, something which only about 1 percent of the population achieves in their lifetime. But the paradox is that the acquisition of knowledge and the activation of potentiality in the way of “self-actualization” are enhanced and enabled when the status quo denies people the opportunity for knowledge and the activation of their potentiality. 

Perhaps this paradox explains the successes of Russia, China, and Iran over the last few decades. In turn, when the status quo in America censors the press and limits press freedoms or makes the acquisition of higher education difficult for people in America, social and technological changes and evolutions evince the fact that such censorship, oppression, repression, and suppression lead to both blowback and a reverse effect for the status quo. Hence, the combination of uncertainty, complexity, and paradox is at the heart of an emerging “quantum social science.”

Also, evil, dishonest, and nefarious intent has to be shrouded in lies and untruths so that the intent is concealed and hidden. Thus, the ubiquity of lies and untruths is something that is either ignored or it goes unnoticed by many people. Also, many people end up falling for the lies and untruths. As one artist said: “It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” 

But as mentioned before, evil, dishonest, and nefarious intent which manifests into stereotyping and lying and the telling of untruths on the part of status quo powers also leads to blowback and a reverse effect. That blowback and reverse effect towards the status quo, as demonstrated by the history of the Modern West, is the rise of demagoguery in its various shapes and forms. As the 20th century American journalist Walter Lippmann argued, what the combination of elite stereotyping and lying does is that it drastically narrows the view and scope of reality which a society espouses, thus paving the way for demagoguery. In turn, demagoguery has four basic dimensions or elements:

  1. Providing a mirror for the masses through a charismatic and opportunistic leader
  2. Igniting waves of intense emotion
  3. Using the emotion for political gain
  4. Breaking established norms and rules of governance and civil society and upending the established system

And as Hannah Arendt noted, one of the major differences in the lies, stereotyping, and untruths of imperialistic powers and the lies, stereotyping, and untruths of right-wing authoritarian or totalitarian movements is that the level of fear and terror is taken to a whole different level by right-wing authoritarian and totalitarian movements:

“Propaganda…is one, and possibly the most important, instrument of totalitarianism for dealing with the nontotalitarian world; terror…is the very essence of its form of government. Its existence depends as little on psychological or other subjective factors as the existence of laws in a constitutionally governed country depends upon the number of people who transgress them.”

One of the pioneers of the “Public Relations” (PR) industry in the United States was Edward Bernays. His argument was that the democratic process is buoyed by two pillars, namely, the quality of education in a society and “The Engineering of Consent” on the part of leaders and politicians in a democratic system. Thus, a democratic system is essentially buoyed by two things, namely, the quality of education which a society receives and the ability of politicians to get people to support them. In turn, demagogues are able to “engineer consent” amongst the broader public by using emotion and fear as tools and instruments to get the broader public out of their usual apathy and discontent towards the system and thus support them in their efforts to upend the system. Arguably, as long as the apathy and discontent towards the system exists, throwing one demagogue in jail will perhaps lead to yet another one who is worse to take his or her place. 

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