People of the Lie

Posted on February 18, 2014 by Robert Ringer Comments (39)


The Big Lie is a tool used only by high-level, professional liars, as most people are not endowed with the genitalia necessary to employ it without smirking.  These professional liars fully understand that when you tell The Big Lie, you can’t be defensive even when the facts threaten to expose you.  On the contrary, you have to be prepared to feign indignation and immediately go on the offensive.

But there’s something even worse than The Big Lie.  There are people on this planet who wear personality masks intended to deceive.  They are, in the words of M. Scott Peck, “People of the Lie.”

A few examples include:

  • Famous media personalities who position themselves as professional commentators while relentlessly pushing their angry agendas.  They are, in fact, People of the Lie.
  • Politicians who cast themselves as saviors of “the little guy,” “the working class,”  or “the middle class” in an effort to gain votes.  They are, in fact, People of the Lie.
  • Psychics who employ verbal slight-of-hand to make gullible and vulnerable people believe they are connecting with their deceased love ones.  They are, in fact, People of the Lie.
  • Religious leaders and heads of state who make up revelatory doctrine as they go along in order to twist the minds of the angry and frustrated among us.  They are, in fact, People of the Lie.

And so on … the list is endless.

People of the Lie will always be with us.  They will do and say whatever they believe is necessary in order to accomplish their ends, which almost always include achieving power over others.  In fact, in many cases (e.g., politicians), power is the end.  In his book 1984, George Orwell, through his character O’Brien, underscores this reality when he says:

Now tell me why we [the Party] cling to power?  What is our motive?  Why should we want power? … The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake.  We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. … We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.  Power is not a means; it is an end. … The object of power is power.

Power and force are not mutually exclusive, because a person can use his personal power to act either constructively or destructively, and the ultimate destructive use of power is force.  Force is the use of physical or intellectual power to compel or restrain, so force robs other people of their power.

In bygone days, the civilized world did not hesitate to use overwhelming, retaliatory force to destroy People of the Lie who tried to establish their power over massive numbers of people through the use of force.  Despots like Hitler and Mussolini were crushed without ceremony.

Nevertheless, People of the Lie remain in positions of power and are taking ever-greater control of world events.  It’s highly unlikely that the world will ever be tyrant-free.  You and I have no control over that, but we can control how People of the Lie affect our own lives.  We can’t eradicate them, but we certainly can keep them at bay by being strong, vigilant, well informed, and willing to face up to the truth about who and what they are.

If it’s obvious that someone is wearing a psychic mask — trying to represent himself to be someone other than who he really is — it’s usually a mistake to try to convince yourself that it’s your imagination.  In my experience, when someone hisses like a snake and slithers like a snake, he always turns out to be a snake.  Further, in every encounter I’ve had with a snake, I came to find that, sooner or later, others were also able to spot the snake under the mask.

By all means, give family, friends, and seemingly well-meaning strangers the benefit of the doubt.  But when it comes to those whom you suspect to be People of the Lie, benefit of the doubt can be an invitation to a snakebite.

Do you really believe the teller of The Big Lie is going to respond to your presentation of the facts by saying, “Gee, I hadn’t really thought about it that way before.  I guess I was wrong.”  Forget it.  People of the Lie thrive on telling The Big Lie; it’s what they live for.

What I’ve learned through all too much firsthand experience is that the most rationally selfish way to handle People of the Lie is to respond with my feet.  Eradication may not be an option, but exit is.

Robert Ringer

+Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

39 responses to “People of the Lie”

  1. aga says:

    Excellent article.

  2. william says:

    Another Great One

  3. Yael says:

    One of the most intelligent folks I have had the pleasure to read, Robert Ringer – you. One of the biggest problems with dealing with People of the Lie is how charming they can be, how seductive. It's extremely easy for them not only to lie, but make you believe you're imagining things. And you really believe it! You walk around scratching your head, trying to figure out what the heck just happened, when the People of the Lie smugly sit back and think they've had you. It's a defense mechanism borne by enormous insecurity, and the lies just keep multiplying! Because there are inconsistencies that must be explained or hidden somehow. "What are you saying? How dare you talk that way to me!" Yes, but, … and the argument spirals out of control with the "Liar" feeling he/she has taken back control. Woe are you if you try to point out an inconsistency.

    Yep, walking away is the best remedy; but what if you can't?

    • Robert Ringer RJR says:

      Indignation is one of the most tools used by the People of hte Lie.

      • clifton says:

        I Don't understand why your book"How to find happiness during the collapse of western civilization"
        Your descriptions of liberals and lairs is spot on and still relevant today. I gave a copy to the civics teacher at the local high school years ago on the condition he present those ideas to his students.

  4. John E. Gabor says:

    It's a shame articles like yours aren't used in our schools. Instead we get No Child Left Behind, Common Core, and other forms of THE BIG LIE.

  5. Dean says:

    Amen!! Thanks Robert!

  6. James Parker says:

    It's worth noting, as well, that the "People of the Lie" can be divided into two broad groups:

    The "True Believers" who believe that they are good people and, in fact, working for some greater good. This group justifies the shortcuts they may take in attempting to achieve their result. This is the larger of the two groups, and fortunately, they may in some circumstances be reasoned with to reduce or eliminate the danger they present. The key here is to accept some form of their goal, if possible, and show how the shortcuts undermine achieving it.

    The "Sociopaths" who have no regard for others (except perhaps in a few cases), and seek power and control not for some actual purpose, but simply to have it. They tend to be the more successful, and the more dangerous, and tend to mimic "True Believers" in rhetoric, largely to attract other "True Believers" to their own purposes, as "Useful Idiots". They cannot be reasoned with, and attempts to do so will generally make you their enemy if you persist.

    • Robert Ringer RJR says:

      As Vladimir Lenin candidly put it: To tell the truth is a petty bourgeois habit, whereas for us to lie is justified by our objectives.”

      • John E. Gabor says:

        The end result of both is different only in severity. With one we get loss of freedoms. With the other we get persecution, detainment, and maybe even death.

      • Scott theczech says:

        "People do not believe lies because they have to, but because they want to" Malcolm Muggeridge.

  7. Murray Suid says:

    Robert, this is an enormously important topic. Thank you.

    It is not enough to alert people to the fact of lying. People need training in lie detection. For example, liars commonly use three techniques: 1) repetition, 2) emotion, and ) name calling or denigrating the other side. Kids should study examples of lying–in literature, in history, in politics–as a way of getting inoculated. Right now, for example, politicians and their backers who are struggling over control of the U.S. Senate are spending fortunes advertising on TV. The goal is not to provide information but rather to bang the drum over and over again, until naive listeners come to believe the lie.

  8. Kerry says:

    People of the Lie was a powerful, powerful book that I read in the late 80's. It had a profound impact on me, just as your books did, Mr. Ringer. Most people tell an occasional lie, whatever the rationalization may be. People of the Lie become the Lie in its entirety. It isn't something they do; it is who they are.

  9. Robert Ringer RJR says:

    Or to paraphrase Ursula the sea witch in "The Little Mermaid," "It's what they live for."

  10. Marte says:

    You put me in mind of a certain woman who pretends to be a gracious lady – but has a mouth that would make a sailor blush. And then of course – there is the liar in chief and his minions.

    Trouble is… most of us don't want to walk away from the USA.

  11. "People of the lie" often used social altruism to enhance their power. They position themselves as do gooders. Of course, in order to achieve his goals, the altruist promotes the anti-life philosophy of selflessness, which amounts to the demand that you sacrifice your interests for the "good of society." Our current system of extreme government interventionism is based on this faulty premise.

  12. Ragnar says:

    The biggest lie of all is that you can help a man by stealing his property.

  13. Harry says:

    I got just three words into your article, and immediately thought of the Obama's. It is a sad state of affairs when the "pied piper" is the dominate force.

    Keep up the good fight!

  14. Virginia says:

    Exiting is the cleanest solution. Don't respond – don't lower yourself to their level. Many liars also like their power that way – they've converted you to their lowness. Backstabbers and those telling "their truth" – while ignoring other people's opinions and actual facts – need to be ignored as much as possible. If they don't have an audience then they don't get their jollies. Deny their ability to get to you by walking away, hanging up, or not responding in kind in written form. Give yourself the satisfaction of being strong and sensible and caring.

  15. Wisdom says:

    Robert, you certainly have opened my eyes since first reading you in the 70’s. God bless you for that. I just don’t see how we can, “keep them at bay by being strong, vigilant, well informed, and willing to face up to the truth about who and what they are.” I don’t want to be a defeatist, but Rome and Caesar appear invincible. Did I miss the point?

    • Jean says:

      I can empathize with your position. When the People of the Lie are in power AND in the media, those of us who prefer to live the truth may have to look for the exit that was suggested. Unfortunately, the Lie that has been perpetrated on the United States during the past several years took hold in Europe and in Canada a few generations ago.

  16. Stephan F says:

    RJR's comments about truth & honesty still ring true, just as they did back in 1983 when I read chapter five of "How You Can Find Happiness…" (an imperative must-read book btw, and probably one of the most underrated of Ringers works). However, I must point out that words such as these uttered today simply flutter & gently fall to the ground and down the storm drain, never to be heard or absorbed by the masses. And why is that you ask?
    Because the every day schmuck on the street does not give a tinkers damn about truth, honesty, reality, or any other chivalrous adjective you can think of. They frankly are too busy trying to put the shaft to their neighbors by prodding their politicians to steal from those good folks. They simply are not in the least interested in morals or ethics, or anything else that has to do with common decency. They have a god-given right to their free goodies and don't care how the political parasites get them. Lie, cheat, steal; no problem, do it. Just give me my stuff !
    So I wish you good luck trying to sell moral conduct to an amoral public. Just try not to waste too much of your time.

  17. laleydelexito says:

    Thank you Robert, straight to the point!

  18. Daniel says:

    As I read this, Barack Obama kept coming to mind. Wonder why.

    • John E. Gabor says:

      "Not a smidgeon of corruption in the IRS" – if the person saying that doesn't think what the IRS is doing is corrupt, then to that person, that statement is not a lie.

  19. DOL says:


  20. M J anderson says:

    This ALL began & continuing with "political correctness" the ULTIMATE EVIL !!!

  21. Pitch says:

    Where do the "People of the Truth" exit to after America is laid to rest? Is there such an island of sanity left on our tiny little insignificant rock we all have to call home? Or are we all doomed to be sacrificed by the "People of the Lie?"
    Obama says it's his way or the highway and there are very few left in positions of POWER that will dare challenge the evil stream if lies and Twilight Zone verbiage that he espouses as the TRUTH on a daily basis.
    The smell of revolution, fear and death are in the air and the foul odor is becoming more painful everyday.

  22. Robert F says:

    As we found out today the FCC is attempting to censor the news we receive or are able to transmit. The Fairness Doctrine=Big Lie. NSA spying on us for our "protection"=Big Lie. DHS & TSA also here to protect us=Big Lie. Never use drones domestically=Big Lie. People of the Truth must eradicate People of the Lie because you can't walk- away from earth. They're after total global dominion of you and your assets. I struggle with "thou shalt not kill" but after googling The Act of 1871 and how our natural rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and owned by no one, have been superseded by civil rights, permitted privileges for citizens owned by the corporate UNITED STATES. The original constitution was changed not to protect our the republic but to collateralize the debt of the bankers. The Big Lie is much bigger than most realize and has been deceitfully inserted into all aspects of your unfree life. Are there legal scholars within the People of Truth who can lead us to how regain our individual sovereignty. Words, especially in legalities, and upper and lower case letters matter. Admiralty Law, Law of the Land, personhood, corporations, etc. Our eyes glaze over but the bastards are still doing it with how many pages in the "we'll have to pass it to know what's in it"; "you can keep your doctor if you want to and you can keep your insurance if you like it" Big Lie, Obama-Cares. Where will you go? How do we get away from a poisonous people intent on taking over the world? Guess I better go back and read your books again.

  23. Dana H says:

    It would seem that the lies are getting bigger and more people are believing them… but I believe the media is the biggest liar of all by covering up for all of the professional liars. And the people believing the lies are unwilling to seek out the truth for themselves.

  24. Liz says:

    Interesting that we all think you're talking about somebody else.

  25. Keith Sims says:

    He who would give away his essential liberty for a little safety deserves neither liberty nor safety.
    -Benjamin Franklin

    If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
    -George Washington

    The tenor of this your post certainly applies to what is going on in Washington–especially the White House–today, but the tactics by which those who use the "Big Lie" operate are timeless, and have been employed by every tyrant since man first learned to deceive. With the onset of modern communication Mao, Hitler, Stalin, and Roosevelt became the masters of the technique. I include Roosevelt because I sincerely believe that the only thing that held him in check was the powers granted our nation by the founding fathers.

    There are many who wonder what this all means, what the geopolitical wrangling is leading us to. The answers are entirely obvious to those who have studied totalitarian regimes throughout history. Unless those who love freedom, rise up and throw these monsters out of office, purge them from the halls of power and influence, this country is finished. We will have no one to blame but our increasingly godless– consumer driven–hedonistic—superficiality loving society to blame for our decline and fall.

    As it stands now, and unless the aforementioned happens rapidly, I can see no other course for this nation but degradation to utter communism under our "transformative" leader, or a free republic–that the result of the 2nd Revolutionary War.

    I would be very happy to be wrong in my speculations.

  26. John E. Gabor says:

    21 The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

    A lot of people fear we have been given the leader we deserve.

  27. Robby Bonfire says:

    I understand about 2/3rds of our representatives in government have a law degree. End of story!

  28. tPt says:

    short and to the point. writers: use breaks(bullets, commas etc.) to make it easier to read. break up the copy to make it easier to read. you prolly had something you said, that would make me think, but I couldn't get through the busy shit. TpTtPt

  29. Alan says:

    Does anyone know which of Robert Ringer's books named the biggest groups of liars? As I recall they were: Government, Lawyers, Liberals, Media. Thx.

  30. Isaiah Hanek says:

    Very nice blog post . I definitely like your site. Thanks!

Leave a Reply