To the Editor:
The power and nature of the repeated lie has never been more obvious than in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
Post voting, the president has been lying daily, without evidence he claims to have been cheated out of victory. Post voting, the conservative echo chamber has been lying daily, robotically repeating the president’s unsubstantiated claims.
Mission accomplished; polls suggest 77 percent of Republicans believe the president was ripped off.
The clear-cut nature of the president’s deceit hinges on the word “fraud.” In the media, the president’s defenders claim that fraud took place, causing the president to lose, but the term fraud has not been used by the president’s defenders, lawyers, in court (57 dismissals). Asserting a lie before a judge is a crime.
In short, the echo chamber is happy to lie to hardworking Republicans because that will engender a slap on the back and a check in the mail, but when a price has to be paid the claim of fraud disappears.
I’ve wondered about the power of the repeated lie for almost 50 years. The concept was introduced to me in the autobiography of an ambitious German politician and amateur psychologist.
The book was titled “Mein Kampf.”
The amateur shrink was correct in asserting that repetition gives a lie credibility, but he failed to flesh out the social bonding that takes place when a group confuses wishful thinking with objective perception. As a lie spreads in a party, the whopper passes from citizen to citizen in an air of respectful sharing, camaraderie dissolves deceit, cocoon becomes butterfly, if you will.
For some time, in this paper, I’ve argued that the no-fault civic ethos of the American right would inevitably leach into the moral decision-making of this society and that advance is obvious today. When republicans accept the self-serving, manufactured realities of the echo chamber they reject the natural flow of events set in motion by the Good Lord above.
The cult of civic convenience, conservatism, is not the friend of faith.