It seems too basic to point out here, but it’s worth a thought, I think. Many lies are told primarily to avoid shame.
For example, if I lost my job, due to petty embezzlement that was discovered by my friend Dave who had hired me recently, I’d feel ashamed. My wife would have a shit fit and it would ruin our weekend. So I tell her that Dave was forced to reluctantly downsize on Friday, and since I was the last hired, I had to be let go. The guy hired right before me also got the ax from Dave, who apologized and promised to rehire us as soon as business picks up.
My wife will be sympathetic instead of angry, my firing had nothing to do with me, nothing at all. She might be suspicious, since I lost my last two jobs due to petty embezzlement and lied about each of those, and she’d be within her rights to rage at me for another lie to cover another petty theft from my boss, but I can always convince her of a lie she wants to believe. Her short-term sympathy, gained by this harmless lie, will be worth it, especially since she’ll be mad as hell when she finds out in either case. By the time Dave calls my wife on Monday, snarling about my betrayal (he had done me a solid by hiring me, I did kind of betray him) and threatening to have me prosecuted if my wife doesn’t repay the money I stole, I will have had a peaceful, shame-free weekend basking in my wife’s sympathy. Better than nothing.
If you do something you’re ashamed of, you will often feel a strong need to deny it. There are various ways to do this, but if it takes a straightforward lie, so be it. Lying is better than feeling shame, by a mile. If you’re caught in the lie, well, shit happens. You’ll figure out the next lie as you need it.
I’m sure shame comes into the Big Lies too, especially ones based on national humiliation. Are the lies about a rigged, stolen election, and the $50,000,000 ad budget to promote the lie and a well-planned, well-financed ($3,500,000 that we know of) attempted insurrection based on that infuriating lie, based on shame? I suppose we could say so. If you claim, before and after two elections, that the election (even the one you legally won, in spite of an almost 3,000,000 “popular vote” loss) was marred by massive fraud — and you produce no evidence of fraud, beyond the 1 case out of every 2 million votes found by the Koch-backed Heritage Foundation’s election fraud database — does that indicate shame? After all, you were raised to believe that there are only two kinds of people, winners and losers. You are a winner. The only way you can lose is if some powerful force lies to cheat you. That’s how the victorious German army “lost” the First World War, after all.
If a lie is to gain a foothold in the minds of millions, it must be undeviatingly insisted on. Publicly and privately, it must be repeated over and over. Asked point blank if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won a fair election, supporters of the president’s baseless claim that radical Democrats stole it will point to a swarm of ornate talking points. Ask them on national television: Yes or No, motherfucker, did Biden win a fair election?
You can hear their straight answers to this direct question, from the intellectuals of the GOP, men like Senators Rand Paul, Lyin’ Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Rep. Steve Scalise, the head of CPAC:
Well, you see, that’s the kind of question you people always ask, and next you’re going to call me a liar, which is all you liars know how to do. But as even you have to admit, the real question is why the signatures of Black inner city voters were not verified as the state laws require, in state after state, city after city, or why millions of ballots, cast by mail– against state law, were accepted DAYS AFTER THE ELECTION. The real question is why illegal ballots were fraudulently harvested and counted, millions and millions of unverified Muslim, Mexican and Transsexual votes– and countless child-blood drinkers’ ballots. The real question is “fuck you, you fucking fuck!”
Yesterday’s hearing about the federal government’s unaccountable failure to mobilize enough police presence to prevent the January 6th insurrectionist riot at the Capitol featured this moving testimony from U.S. Capitol Police Captain Carneysha Mendoza. She describes, among other horrors, the rioters’ release of military grade CS gas, inside the building, mixed with fire extinguisher spray deployed by rioters, that resulted in chemical burns to her face:
Senator Ron Johnson , who comes from Wisconsin, reads into the record the alternative fact that it was not Trump supporters who clashed with police, sprayed them with bear spray, overran the barricades, crushed them in doorways, beat the police with flagpoles, carried Trump and Confederate flags into the Capitol, released poison gas, spread feces over paintings and statues of famous Democrats — it was, literally, a false flag operation! The violent ones were all antifa provocateurs! The Trump supporters were all peaceful — it was the outside agitators who made them look like an ugly mob who wanted to kill Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi!!!! Posing as Trump supporters, who were, to a man and woman, as peaceful as baby lambs, even as they trampled one of their own to death, her “Don’t Tread on Me” flag notwithstanding.
Where did Johnson, who had previously argued that the mob was not “armed” because most of them had no firearms (military grade CS gas, bear spray, improvised clubs and spears, brass knuckles, knives, tactical gear– not “arms”, snowflakes…), get this account that he read into the official record? A rightwing website, reporting on a single source who made this extremely far-fetched claim — he read directly from their post.
Prove Johnson knew he was lying. Fucking prove it, you fucking liars!
Is Ron Johnson publicly spreading this lie, on some level, because he’s ashamed? Were the GOP 140 Representatives who voted to block the certification of Biden Electors? Hawley? Cruz? Tuberville? The rest of the Senate Voter Integrity Skeptic caucus? Impossible to say, really. That’s what Ethics Investigations are designed to find out.