Before Hitler come into power, he used to express his strong ideas against Jews. He criticized them for constantly lying and make all Germans believe that they are responsible for the loss of the First World War. He mentioned that if someone keeps repeating the same lie good enough time, no matter how cynical that may sound, people will start to believe it. We don’t know how accurate this was when it comes to Hitler’s case study. But this particular statement of his is by far very accurate. In fact, I believe that he himself utilized this when he came into power.
If you watched the first election debate between Trump and Biden, you must have found a key element that we desperately should introduce to the debating structure. The fact-checkers. It went south so fast that we could even comprehend the number of lies that comes out from both candidates. Now couple that with the conformational biases you already have about a candidate, you get a killer propaganda that makes sure your win at the election.
Even right now, we talk and criticize extensively about how Trump disturbed Joe like a child and how old school Biden was. But we rarely talk about the accuracy of the content they shared. Extreme followers would start serious debates about the lies they presented to you. But why is everyone like that?
In the latest 2019 book by Malcolm Gladwell Talking to Strangers, he starts the book with a chapter called default to the truth. In that chapter, he tries to explain why people fall for the same lie again and again to a level where they can’t distinguish the fallacies. According to his theory of default to the truth, people remain to believe what others say as truth as long as they get overwhelming evidence to prove them otherwise. In the book, he takes numerous examples to show how blind we are when confronted with a lie. We keep believing it till we get some overwhelming evidence to prove us otherwise.
This is golden news for anyone who is planning to win the people’s hearts by lying. You simply have to lie through your teeth and then stand by it no matter what. When you stand by your lies and keep defending it with all your might, there is no way someone else could convince anyone otherwise. Because that is a deadly cocktail you are presenting to the audience.
First, you win their hearts through shameless lying. People will believe it because they all default to the truth. Once they start to believe it, they take it personally, and now it’s a matter of ego. They don’t want to know that they are wrong now. That is where you need to feed them with conformational biases. Just keep feeding them garbage to make sure that their conformational biases are satisfied. And what more is better to reconfirm a lie than with more lies?
And just like that, you got an empire built on lies.