As the saying goes, “A lie can travel around the world before truth has put its boots on.”
We are living in a time when lies are spreading faster than our acquisition of knowledge. Which makes sense when you think about it, because as knowledge increases so does the likelihood that people will misunderstand or not accept that knowledge. But there’s a more diabolical explanation as to why some people tell lies. It’s a reason made more apparent by the politics of today. Which is, that some people use lies to enrich themselves.
The biggest lie being disseminated to the American people these days is the “Big Lie.” You know it well; that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by the democrats and Trump is still the Commander in Chief. The truth of the matter is precisely the opposite: It’s the republicans who are trying to steal back power, and they are perpetuating Trump’s Big Lie in an effort to make this happen.
The Big Lie is one that’s easily debunked with a minimal amount of research. In fact, the 2020 elections were the most scrutinized elections in American history. An election in which state after state conducted numerous audits to verify the legitimacy and accuracy of the votes, and to which an absurd amount of court challenges (>60) brought about by the Trump administration all failed for lack of evidence.
Which makes one marvel about the motives of the perpetrators of the Big Lie.
As for Trump . . . I’m inclined to think he’s legitimately—and certifiably—delusional. I’m no psychologist, but I’m convinced he actually thinks he did win the election. He also thinks millions of democrats had a hand in stealing the election away from him. And that’s a form of paranoia on a grand scale. So, even a layman should be able to conclude Trumps’ mindset as delusional and no psychology degree is required.
As for the republican leadership . . . I’m inclined to think those who are perpetuating the Big Lie are not delusional. Their cognitive abilities are intact, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say they are in their right minds. To be in one’s “right” mind implies having a foundation of moral acuity. What they are doing is deliberately amoral—and arguably un-American.
I mean, how else should one characterize political leaders who no longer believe in fair elections, who are willing to promote a lie that was big enough to incite an insurrection, and who continue to perpetuate a lie that is causing such a massive rift among Americans?
As for republicans in general . . . I can offer no glaring criticisms. I’ve voted as a republican, democrat, and as an independent in previous presidential elections. I’m not the kind of person that is swayed by the media to hate my fellow Americans simply because they align with a particular political party.
All I can say with confidence is that there’s one clear reason why the Big Lie is still being promoted: Those spreading the lie are banking on the fact that a sizable number of Americans are still gullible enough to believe it.
The truth will set you free
During the runup to the 2020 elections I truly believed that Americans weren’t this gullible, and that the damage caused by the Big Lie would have little effect on our democracy. These days I know better. The realist in me has had a “come to Jesus’ talk” with my inner self. I must face the facts and the facts are these:
Most Americans know how to use their reasoning skills to discern fact from fiction, but there is a small minority of Americans who will always believe in lies and conspiracies, because they don’t use their reasoning skills wisely. In many cases, their ability to comprehend the truth has been rendered useless because they are being misled by their own personal biases, emotions—and what I’ll get into shortly—their religious belief systems.
Now, that’s a politically incorrect assessment to make, but it jives with the 80/20 rule. In reference to the Big Lie along with many of the other conspiracy theories out there, there’s at least twenty percent of Americans who will always have a proclivity to believing in these falsehoods. No amount of factual data could lead them to believe otherwise. They simply are unable to discern facts from fiction in a way that would otherwise set them free.
What’s religion got to do with it?
I happen to know a few conspiracy theorists. None of them are all that happy. They seem to live in a perpetual state of unrest and anxiety. Most of them have indicated they are religious or spiritual. They are all idealistic and channel their idealism through patriotic zealousness. The kind of zealousness that’s infused with religious overtones and prompts memes like “For God and Country.” I don’t know any conspiracy theorists who are scientists, and a few of them don’t even believe in dinosaurs. Meaning, the conspiracy theorists I know are typically anti-science, and thus, also lack critical thinking skills.
All of this leads me to hypothesize that people who are apt to believe in religious myths and superstitions are also apt to believe in conspiracies. In other words, they are susceptible to believing in things without factual evidence. On the other hand, individuals who value factual evidence and use critical thinking skills to form their viewpoints are less likely to believe in conspiracies.
As far as I know this hypothesis is yet to be proved. However, it explains in part why some people who believe in a wide range of supernatural stories and myths are also easily hoodwinked by fanciful lies. This is not to say these people are stupid. Far from it. I’m just stating what’s painfully obvious, that some people are better at using rational thinking skills, and those who are weak in these skills are susceptible to believing just about anything.
Besides, it’s well-known that Christianity is—at this very moment—playing a huge role in promoting the Big Lie; in preaching the conspiracy that the coronavirus is a hoax; and is engaged in spreading anti-vaccination propaganda.
Which leads me to quote something the Apostle Paul said to the Thessalonians back in his day:
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
Paul, of course, wasn’t addressing the disciples of QAnon or Trumpists in the year 2021. I’m merely citing the text and lending a Thinkadelics’ twist to our conversation. Which is this: Given that Christianity is playing such a vital role in promoting the Big Lie, one wonders if God himself isn’t behind the mass delusion we see taking place.
Now, I don’t believe this, primarily because it’s impossible for me to believe in a God that would deliberately deceive people with the expressed purpose that they go to hell. But Paul certainly believed God used lies and deceptions to His advantage. So, it’s hard not to see the connection between how the GOP and Christianity have been unequally yoked in a united front to perpetuate the Big Lie.
As Alanis Morrissette might sing, “Isn’t that ironic”? I mean, who could have predicted this? That the Christian church, (which happens to pride itself in being the world’s foremost authority on morality), is now actively engaged in spreading the biggest falsehood in American history.