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.