Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Authoritarianism is all about power because it takes a demonstration of power to force people into subservience. But authoritarians are few and the masses are massive. The authority must convince people to voluntarily submit or they would be overwhelmed.

The authority can make reasonable arguments based on mutual benefit. Since the benefit is seldom mutual that can be a problem. It can bribe or simply hire but that can be expensive. It is cheaper, easier, and often more effective to lie.

Lies are a valuable commodity because lies are power.  If you can get away with lying to someone you have demonstrated that they have no power over you and you have demonstrated that you have power over them because you can force them to accept your lies, live by your reality, and be controlled for your personal profit.

Lies are emotionally satisfying for some people, for the same reason. When they get away with lying they are demonstrating their personal power, they feel superior to the lower orders, and they might benefit financially.

Some people don't like lies. Lies are the tools of hypocrites and bullies. Harmless little lies smooth over potential unnecessary conflict but harmful lies are used to make power grabs.Ted Cruz is a liar for personal and political gain. His voters are okay with that. They are authoritarian as well which means they trade submission to lies for a sense of security, purpose and meaning, embodied in Ted Cruz.

Trace the long arc of the Christian conservative movement in America, and you can detect an abiding optimism about the possibility that other people might be persuaded. That optimism is the blood of all evangelism, of the personal project of turning individuals toward God, but it also runs through the organization of religious politics and the creation of Christian cultural projects: change enough hearts, they say, and the world will change.

This analysis belongs to James Davison Hunter, a sociologist and social theorist at the University of Virginia who has often focussed on evangelicalism in America, and who popularized the term “Culture Wars” with his 1991 book of that name. I called Hunter this week to ask what sense he made of the Cruz phenomenon, and he said he believed it reflected a basic turn in the evangelical perspective. “As a rhetorical matter, they’ve given up on this notion that they represent a ‘moral majority,’ ” he said. “They’ve given up on the possibility of persuasion.”
They've turned to naked power grabs and that means lying, because that's all they have left. His followers say Cruz's lies are either not lies, are irrelevant, prove his power, or fit with his followers' preconceived ideas. Naturally there will be overlap among Trump and Cruz's followers and Trump's message has proven more popular than Cruz's. While Trump is saying that he is a winner and will make all Americans winners as well, Cruz is saying he is being victimized and so is everyone else.

Donald Trump lies to be envied and admired. His lies are grandiose boasts and promises. Cruz's lies are formulaic recitations of talking points.  His lies are only meant to sound more conservative than anyone else and make him more likely to win than anyone else.


Yastreblyansky said...

That's very helpful on why the followers don't mind the lying.

Susan of Texas said...

The most frequent response to lies I've seen on the right has been a shrug. All's fair when saving the world from liberals.

Smut Clyde said...

When people talk about their goals as "dominion theology", they're cheerfully admitting the need for a non-believing majority, to have dominion over.

Kathy said...

Since I was a teenager it appeared to me that a lot of people want to be lied to, will not listen to truth, even a factual truth like "its raining outside". I used to think it was a type of childishness, of wanting the fairy tale, the Easter Bunny, really believing that Your Dad could Beat Up Any Other Dad on the block! But there's a lot more to it, isn't there? People will DIE for these stupid lies... that is, stories.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Hillary told a fairly massive whopper about Bernie Sanders at the fourth Democratic presidential debate.