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Lying


Lying on Mass Scale Dissemble
Dress to Impress Use Ad Hominems
Use Shills Use Straw Men
Argue By Repeated Assertion That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It
Target Children Just Kidding
Appeal to Arcane Knowledge Theatrical Conventions
Repeat! Summary
Hypnosis Books
Appeal to Authority Links
Tell a Big Lie

Lying on Mass Scale

Last revised/verified: 2008-12-10 Consider some of the planet’s most successful liars, who manage to bamboozle millions. The most successful fall in four camps: They share a number of techniques to pull their cons.

Dress to Impress

People tend to defer to those who appear to have more money and status than they do. This deferential behaviour is part of the human genome, as it is any social, hierarchical animal. The clergy take this to extreme with elaborate robes that are meant to suggest a magical link to god that only they possess.

Use Shills

A simple shill technique is just to have a dozen people standing behind the liar nodding slowly as if in agreement with everything the liar says. The technique is at its most transparent in Ron Popiel informercials where the audience pantomime amazement at every trivial kitchen gadget. The faith healers are most unscrupulous with this technique using healthy people to simulate deathly ill members of the audience who experience a miraculous recovery at the touch of the master liar.

Argue By Repeated Assertion

The arch enemy of the liar is the debater who analyses the lies in great detail and exposes why the lies could not possibly be true. The liar avoids debate at all cost. If cornered into a debate, he simply ignores whatever his opponent says and repeats his firm conviction about being right without offering any reason why it might be right. If he did offer evidence, that would only expose it to dissection.

Consider how the Bush administration simply ignored all the concerns about anomalies in his 9/11 story, sniffing as if the concerns were so inconsequential they did not even need addressing. The Bush administration never presented any arguents or evidence for their story, giving the opposition less of a handle to debunk their story.

Target Children

Children are hard wired to believe whatever adults, particularly parents, tell them, no matter how nonsensical. As a young child, I accepted my father’s assertion that the world was a sphere, even though it seemed comical. What was to stop the Australians from falling off? Children will accept even stories as ludicrous as Santa Claus or Jesus if presented in a serious voice by an adult. If children did not have this blind trust in adults, they would poison themselves with toadstools or get is trouble with kindly old men who hand out candy. A children’s story I heard around the first grade had a giant foul-smelling spider as the villain. That story burned into my brain the injuction Stay away from spiders. I have seen hundreds of nature documentaries as an adult assuring me that an encounter with a spider is highly unlikely to end in death, but the child inside me will have none of it. I won’t go near them. Other children were fed stories making them equally afraid of invisible old white-bearded men hiding in the clouds.

The tobacco industry has discovered it as very hard to convince an adult to take up a cancer-causing habit, but it is relatively easy to trick children into it. Just tell them the cigarettes give them adult prestige. Use cartoon of Joe the Camel and bubblegum flavours. In the Philippines they hook their customers at two years of age by lying to the parents the cigarettes are a form of medicine.

Because children are such easy marks, con men and the advertisers like to target them. The con men have to be patient. Often they can’t reap the rewards of the con until the children reach adulthood. Those fears and beliefs can then be manipulated to drag adults around as if they had nose rings.

Appeal to Arcane Knowledge

This is a favourite of politicians. They claim the justification for whatever lie they are telling is all classified. They can usually get away with this when they don’t even have classified clearance themselves. Religious folk use the technique by claiming magic knowledge, bestowed by god only on the elect (of which they are a member), or on those who have taken some course of study (in the lie itself), or undergone some sort of ceremony or brainwashing.

Repeat!

Unfortunately, almost anyone can be worn down to accept a lie if it is repeated enough. Liars use mechanical recording machines to repeat the lies for them over and over 24/7 on TV and radio. The human mind is unconsciously easily fooled into thinking any idea it hears over and over must represent the consensus of the tribe. Political parties have talking points and direct thousands of people to spread these identical messages over and over all through the populace. Paid shills spread them like mustard seeds all over the Internet, pretending that they believe the lies personally. Advertisers are the ones who invented the repetition technique.

Hypnosis

Most people think of hypnosis as some guy in a silly turban waving a watch, but hypnosis is much more subtle than that. I suggest you read a book about Milton Erickson, one of the world’s greatest hypnotists. You will then be more wary of advertisers, preachers and politicians using hypnotic techniques to suck you in. Watch out for vague language. Be suspicious when the cadence of speech is more memorable than the content. Religion is too illogical to be sold on a rational basis. It is mainly sold with hypnosis.

Appeal to Authority

Even Christians admit that the bible was written by men, about whom almost nothing is known. Yet Christians like to argue by finding something in the bible that agrees with their position. They refuse to acknowledge the bible is nothing but a book and further a book proven time and time again to be in error. Christians don’t even literally claim the bible was written by god, in the style of Moses and the Ten Commandments, (also a claim for which there is no evidence). They pretend to be horrified when someone questions the authority of the bible as if that person were spitting in god’s face. They steadfastly pretend to see no possible difference between questioning the teachings of their religion and rejecting the creator of the universe. From where I stand, it takes some massive chutzpah to pretend that poorly written book, so full of error and bad writing, was the work of the creator of the universe. They pretend the authority of the bible cannot be questioned even though they can’t express a single reason, other than custom, why it deserves that authority.

Children are punished for curiosity, punished for asking questions. They are trained to submit to arbitrary authority. They are even trained to turn a blind eye to the crimes committed by that authority. That’s how the Catholic Church came to be the largest pedophile ring on the planet. All Catholics had been trained from birth to look the other way.

I wonder if the constructors of the English language were aware of the clue they were leaving about the dangers of blind believing.

Tell a Big Lie

Hitler mastered this technique. Harper is a devotée. A huge lie is more impervious. To shift a believer away from a big lie requires a major, painful, mental shift. They will this stick to it, even without any evidence to support it and plenty to demolish it. I saw the effectiveness of the technique during the Canadian federal election in 2008-10. Harper said that his party had the greenest platform and that each of the parties opposing him as part of their official platform called for massive new taxes. This was a set of unusually blatant big lies. I challenged Tory supporters to go to the websites of the various parties to see for themselves if this were true. Nobody went. Why? Because if it would wrenching and painful to simultaneously be a Tory supporter and to support a party that was telling major big lies. Because if they secretly did look, they would have to find some torturous explanation to deny what they saw, e.g. imagined the parties all secretly changed their platforms to make Mr. Harper look like a liar.

Some of Mr. Harper’s big lie supporters for example, to excuse Mr. Harper’s lies on global warming, posit a planet-wide conspiracy of all scientists in league against its honest politicians like Mr. Harper (who through some strange logic knows all that is necessary about climate science without ever having studied the subject or possibly who relies on some more reliable source of information than the scientists). This is sort of weirdness is what squirts out of a human brain when it tries to hold two mutually contradictory facts.

Dissemble

This classic case of this in the box of crackers that when you take it home is only 1/3 full, or the tower of blank DVDs (Digital Video Discs) that is only half full. If you read the fine print the box of crackers in only guaranteed to contain 200 grams. The empty space is excused to allow for settling Literally, Kraft told the truth, but they tried to fool and cheat their customers. Some politicians (on left and right) dissemble to attack a carbon tax, by conveniently pretending to forget the offsetting income tax rebate to make it revenue neutral.

Harper likes to play dissembling games with the word pollution.

Kyoto does virtually nothing to deal with pollution and to deal with the quality of the air that we breathe. Let’s forget about this unworkable treaty… Kyoto’s never going to be passed.
~ Stephen Harper (born:1959-04-30 age:57) anti-environmental Prime Minister of Canada, Toronto Star, 2002-09-05

Some of the techniques for reducing CO₂ also have a beneficial effect on other pollutants as well. For example, more efficient appliances means less coal has to be burned to produce the electricity, which means less sulphur and acid rain. More fuel-efficient cars mean less emissions of all types. Green technology for heating means less particulates emitted. Wind and solar don’t produce any emissions of any kind. But even if reducing greenhouse gas had no beneficial effects on traditional pollution, you still have to do it. It threatens global human survival.

Use Ad Hominems

Ad Hominems are the prime technique of debaters lying on the Internet. If anyone calls the lie, the response is to personally attack them, accusing them of child molesting, sexual deviancy, philandering, having unpopular diseases, bestiality, having a hidden agenda, having ties with terrorists, being a communist, loving some unpopular group… There needs be no grounds at all for the allegations. Then they slip in, or at least imply, the logical fallacy, if these opponent is that wicked, any facts or arguments they might present must necessaryily be false

[This is not the same as simply attacking someone for holding odious views, e.g. that chicken torture should be taught in elementary schools. There is no lie or logical fallacy involved, just deliberate incivility.]

The subject of the ad hominem attack then becomes distracted, feeling obligated to defend his reputation. Nobody is interested in this side debate but the guy defending his reputation. The discussion dies without every getting around to discussing the original lie.

The Bush administration and its supporters used this technique extensively when anyone asked questions about anomalies in the Bush story of what happened on 9/11. Skeptics were quickly labelled conspiracy theorists, traitors or even terrorists

Use Straw Men

Straw men are the favoured technique of the creationists. They put false quotations in the mouths of their opponents and attack them. No matter how many times they are called on this form of cheating, they just drag out the same old straw men at the next debate. These straw men are getting worn. Creationists have been trying to fob them off since 1860.

That’s My Story and I’m Sticking To It

Presidents, in particular, like to announce their lie, then refuse to answer any questions about it. If forced to revisit the lie, they tell it again using exactly the same words. They are recalling a fabricated well-rehearsed story not actual events.

Clergy like to tell a lie then imply there would be something exceedingly improper about asking what evidence there is to support it. If challenged, he will act huffy — how dare you call me a liar by suggesting anything I say would require evidence. How dare you question God! He fails to see the humour of his rebuttal.

Ronald Reagan used to inadvertently lie when he would repeat well-rehearsed plots from his movie making days as actual events.

Just Kidding

When you hear a tale, you tend to place it in one of three categories:
  1. Something likely true.
  2. Something likely a lie.
  3. Just a story. It is not literally true, but it is not meant to be. This category includes entertainment, morality stories, fairy tales.
We tend to turn off critical faculties for (3) so we can enjoy the fanciful. Car makers show us cars flying, jumping and going exceedingly fast. Even though we know these are just entertainments because the stories are about real cars, we unconsciously associate these magical powers with real car brands. We are sucked in much the way a small boy half expects to fly by attaching red cape to his back. Think of all the silly white lies, that a carpet sweeper will cause your husband to go an a manic cleaning spree, that AXE squirted on your arm pits will make beautiful women kidnaps you and hold you as their sex slave…

Theatrical Conventions

You probably overestimate your ability to detect liars, seduced by your skill at detecting liars in the movies and in TV dramas. In drama, there are a number of conventions to let the audience quickly finger the villains. Keep in mind, in a drama, everyone is lying! In real life, liars are much more difficult to detect. Only the most accomplished liars go into it as a profession.
The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.
~ Jean Giraudoux (born:1882 died:1944 at age:62)

Summary

Selling and lying are the core of religion, politics and business. You are being sold and lied to every waking minute. Professional salesmen and liars are using every imaginable tool to hone their tools. The more aware of how they go after you, the better you will be at resisting them.

Books

book cover recommend book⇒Detecting Lies and Deceit: The Psychology of Lying and the Implications for Professional Practiceto book home
by Aldert Vrij 978-0-471-85316-9 paperback
birth 1960 age:56 B002C1BD7E kindle
publisher Wiley
published 2000-03-14
How professionals in law enforcement and psychology detect lying. It also covers lie detector tests.
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book cover recommend book⇒How to Master the Art of Sellingto book home
by Tom Hopkins 978-0-446-38636-4 paperback
birth 1944 age:72 978-0-938636-03-8 hardcover
publisher Grand Central B005SZ151U kindle
published 1988-10-20
This is a book about selling products, somewhat more ethical than most. However, Hopkins in big on the art of dissembling. If you are aware of the various techniques the pros are taught to persuade you and lie to you, you can defend yourself against them better. Many of its dirty tricks can be adapted for a greater purpose
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book cover recommend book⇒How to Spot a Liar: Why People Don’t Tell the Truth… and How You Can Catch Themto book home
by Gregory Hartley, Maryann Karinch 978-1-56414-840-7 paperback
publisher Career Press 978-0-7858-2304-9 hardcover
published 2005-09-01 978-1-60163-595-2 eBook
  978-1-60163-837-3 WebBook
  978-1-59316-104-0 audio
  B001C367OM kindle
Hartley is a professional interrogator for the US military. I suppose just spotting the liar is not much of a coup. You want to know the truth behind the lie. There is the old joke, How do you know when a politician is lying? — his lips move. Also comes in big print, audio and audio CD formats.
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book cover recommend book⇒The Wisdom of Milton H. Erickson: The Complete Volumeto book home
by Ronald A. Havens 978-1-904424-17-8 paperback
publisher Crown House 978-1-904424-96-3 hardcover
published 2005-05-31
Erickson was perhaps the world’s most skillful hypnotist. He used it primarily in psychotherapy. His techniques allowed him to hypnotise people without them ever being aware of it. As you might expect, his techniques are now used for much less altruistic purposes.
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