Posted on December 13, 2017 by Robert Ringer


Watching the lies coming out of Washington — “tax reform,” “Russian collusion,” “sexual harassment,” to name but a few — reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Charade. 

There’s a profound line in that classic that explains perfectly why lying is a way of life for politicians.  When Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) asks Peter Joshua (Cary Grant) why people lie, he answers, “Usually it’s because they want something.  They are afraid the truth won’t get it for them.”  Politicians are purveyors of charades because they know that telling the truth won’t get them the votes, power, perks, and adulation they so desperately want.

Charade is just a fancy word for a clever kind of lie that is defined in the dictionary as “a blatant pretense or deception.”  It’s not surprising, then, that members of the Radical Left are masters of the charade.

Their constant feigning of indignation is a charade.  Their perpetual, sanctimonious posture is a charade.  Their cries of racism, misogyny, and Islamophobia are lies.  Virtually everything they say and do is make-believe, yet millions of people buy into their deceptions.

I believe the reason so many people are taken in by the Radical Left’s tired old charades is because conventional wisdom, myths, and fairytales tend to gain strength with the passage of time.  After all, if something has been around for a long time period of time, it must be true, right?

History tells us that when an outrageous lie is repeated often enough, it acquires “legs” and becomes self-perpetuating.  And if it attracts enough believers, it spreads exponentially.  This is precisely how dogma evolves into “fact.”

As Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, boasted, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”  In other words, through repetition a lie can be transformed into truth.

How is it possible for political charades to continue to fool millions of people even as so many lies have been publicly exposed?  I believe it’s because people love to be deluded.  After all, it feels so warm and fuzzy compared to the harshness of reality.  Just as people get the governments they deserve, they also get the charades they deserve — and want.  

Worst of all, when evil or ignorance prevail, there is a tendency to believe that perhaps some people are immune to the consequences of their self-destructive tendencies, which only encourages bad behavior.  Delusional citizens of the Roman Empire apparently believed this, but they found out otherwise.  Ditto with the delusions about communism in the old Soviet Union and other now ex-communist countries that fell under the weight of their own charades.

Sadly, citizens of Western countries are not much better.  We continue to accept the charade that freedom and equality can coexist … the charade that debt doesn’t matter … the charade that everything in life is relative and that there is no such thing as right and wrong … the charade that the most heinous criminals — even those from other countries who are here illegally — have the same rights as law-abiding citizens.

There are those who might insist that such beliefs are noble, but even if they were, they are anathema for the longevity of a civilization.  Like it or not — and many people don’t — the hard reality is that a civilization cannot exist without a generally accepted code of conduct.

Even so, the resiliency of the human race is awesome.  We have survived the Dark Ages, dictators, slavery, and worse.  But I do not agree that there are no consequences to our actions.  If knowledge is power, ignorance is a recipe for disaster.

In closing, I am reminded of the tiniest of all mammals, the shrew, which weighs less than a dime.  The shrew is a voracious eater and will not hesitate to devour other shrews.  In fact, when he’s hungry enough and there is no other prey around, he is capable of eating himself to death — literally — beginning with his own tail.

Likewise, I believe that if a person tries hard enough, like the shrew he can devour himself.  Man, of course, does not engage in self-cannibalism.  Instead, he relies on charades to do the job for him.  Kind of like a person who commits suicide by forcing the police to kill him.  Make no mistake about it, ignorance can be fatal.

That said, in a world embroiled in turmoil like never before, it’s wise to be vigilant about monitoring your perception of reality as a protection against buying into the charades that surround you.  If you are too wrong too often — if you canot resist buying into the lies promulgated by the government and the media — sooner or later, it will catch up to you.

Caveat emptor.

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.

27 responses to “Charades”

  1. Kelley says:

    Truth and Wisdom speak…

  2. John Rodi says:

    We let others think for us while we tend to frivolity.

  3. Keith says:

    Outstanding as usual, Robert.

    Only one minor clarification, which becomes big when trying to "educate" the great unwashed…

    Freedom and equality CAN coexist – as long as it's equality of OPPORTUNITY and not equality of outcome.

    The fallacy many non-thinking people buy into is the fairy tale that freedom can be "allowed" while simultaneously constraining some people's freedom to FORCE equal outcomes. The Law of Nature's God – and millenia of history – prove otherwise.

  4. Jean says:

    They say that you can't cheat an honest man. The people who are most easily fooled are those who have a history of lying to themselves. The Russian people have always tended to be fatalists, so the lure of communism and its promise to create a heaven on earth was more palatable than their widely held sense that you suffer through life and then die. The traditional American culture fostered a sense of optimism and self-determination that was unlike anything eastern Europeans had known. This is why traditional American values are under constant assault and labeled as "sexist, racist, homophobic" et al. The culture, combined with the human attribute of desiring more, shaped Americans into a dynamic people willing to take risks in order to gain earthly rewards. In the long run, everyone benefited despite not all outcomes being equal.

    • Blank Reg says:

      That same guy (W.C. Fields) also said “Never give a sucker an even break, or smarten up a chump.” Wise words, and well understood by the Powers That Be(tm).

    • Jim Hallett says:

      You are right, Jean, in pointing out how traditional American values DID create a great culture, and as RR said above "no civilization can exist without a generally accepted code of conduct." The Radical Left "progressives" and their Cultural Marxism has destroyed that generally accepted code of conduct for the culture at large, so I suspect the "piper will be paid" BIG time in the near future. One cannot continue to chirp, "God Bless America" for a nation that does not follow in holy precepts at all, and expect that all will just work out fine. With shrews like Hildabeast Clinton and monsters like George Soros on the loose, we have to batten down the hatches of our own mind, and resist the disintegration of the culture. I turn off the lamestream liars, but am constantly reminded that most others do not, so fall victim to their lies, and as Robert said in his essay, the more the lie is repeated, no matter how big, it does gain legs and acceptance.

  5. Tony Lauria says:

    Reminds me of a confidence man and his mark or pigeon. The typical con man is proud of the fact that he doesn't steal – he doesn't have to because his mark GIVES him the money he's seeking. Why? Because the mark bought into the lie, the charade. As a refresher watch the movie THE STING once again. The mark played by Robert Shaw is shown begging the clerk in the cage to take his bet, a suitcase of money!

  6. LLLL says:

    The Clinton's political life was all a game of "CHARADE'S". They played the game masterfully.

  7. Scott theczech says:

    Lying is a great temptation. One of the paramount reasons is that even the one lying so often wants to, or does, believe the lie. Seeking truth takes bravery; one must desire the freedom that truth brings more than the perceived comfort and safety of the lie.

  8. larajf says:

    I hope the DNC continues to turn on itself and eat each other. The sooner they're gone, the better.

  9. Bruce says:

    Our politicians do not have to lie but just evade the truth and talk around it. The best are very skilled diplomats who understand the "need to know concept" for their followers and can lie with a diplomatic touch. Perhaps the best definition I heard of a diplomat is :
    " a diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip"

  10. Ryan says:

    As you demonstrated with your implication that accused and/or convicted ‘heinous’ criminals should not enjoy the same protections from state power as everyone else, the Bill of Rights is indeed a charade – one that statists of a prior era relied on in order to ram through their big-government agenda we now refer to as the U.S. Constitution.

    ‘Heinous’ criminals, like ‘heinous’ speech, are actually test cases for how resilient a society is to the crisis-seeking opportunists who want to both increase the power of the state and wield that power in increasingly arbitrary ways (subject only to periodic popularity contests).

    As various global freedom indices empirically demonstrate, Americans are failing the test. That is in no small part because their educators and thought leaders are, when it comes down to it, intellectually bankrupt idolators of state power.

    Americans are programmed from birth with irrational fear of utterly improbable events, as well as irrational trust in an ever-present Big Brother that is — statistically speaking — the actual clear and present danger to life, liberty, property, and everything else they hold dear.

  11. Pitch says:

    Carpe diem.

  12. John Van Epps says:

    It never ceases to amaze me that so many liberals – once 'slapped' with facts and hard reality – still hold dear to their positions. In my day (I'm 60), our education consisted of history (world, US, and state), and our teachers didn't shy away from the ugly realities of our past (world wars, slavery, etc.).

    I suppose to some extent, we too, were 'indoctrinated', as today's youth are as well. But I surmise we saw a fuller, more vivid picture. Additionally, our parents had lived through the 'Great Depression', and at least WWII. Their viewpoints shaped our world differently than the current generations.

    Our parents weren't 'saints' by any definition. Many were prejudiced and bigots; not completely unlike the 'Archie Bunker' character of the TV series. As many of us matured, we realized the so-called 'faults' of our parents – but it does seem we kept many of their values – work hard; help your neighbor; save for the future.

    In college, we were taught to think empirically, but not lose faith in that which we couldn't see.

    Ultimately, I think it's the lack of (so-called) Christian values (basically, what many of us refer to as the "Ten Commandments"), coupled with a corrupt educational system that promotes ideologies, rather than the facts of history. Our parents were involved in school curriculum, and had the fortitude to discipline their children for 'stepping out-of-line' (and also allowing the schools to do so) – and a generation of self-disciplined, hard-working young adults emerged. And that's the group that keeps this country running.

    I can only hope a few 'rational thinking' young people come along to correct (what I perceive as) wrongs, perpetuated on society as a whole…


    • Old girl says:

      It takes one to know one. Living in the 30’s gave credence to hope. If our youth of today could see beyond the current fads and learn from history it might produce some sane thinking. Many in that generation did not have the luxury of current thinking that the problems of poverty and lack of money would be solved by the generous government. They just did it themselves

  13. Rocketman says:

    Wow! Really, really excellent column Robert. I sort of compare the Democrats and Republicans to watching a professional wrestling match. They are really two sides of the same coin, but to pretend they are adversaries because that way they can keep a third party that may not be anything like them from getting any traction politically like the Libertarians.
    Both major parties want more big government, more spending and want to take away the citizens rights. The only difference is which rights to take in what order and how fast to do it.

  14. Cara says:

    it's so easy to sit on your ass and gripe while letting someone else think for you until you get in a bind (for one reason or another) Some folks are actually smarter than others at the same time do not have best interests at heart for others. Therefore, taking away others rights in a methodical manner, so to speak, is like taking candy
    from a baby, not noticed until that bind I mentioned. Ignorance, stupidity, sloth, pure laziness – until it's too late….

  15. Robby Bonfire says:

    Nobody on the right or on the left has diagnosed the real problem as to what is wrong with this country, and for good reason. If the truth came out, young people could not be motivated into "dying for Democracy" around the world in these defense contractor/politician-fabricated profitable (to the special interests) wars we love to indulge in so much.

    Yes, that's it, Democracy has been reduced to the rule of the rabble in this country. The fact that anyone can be elected president is horrifying, for its implications, and we have seen what an unmitigated disaster a succession of professional, crassly corrupt politicians occupying that office has brought home to roost.

    What this country desperately needs is a benevolent monarchy, a first family which cannot be turned out by popular ballot, every four years. All the Democrats do for a living now is stigmatize the Republicans with the aid of their media lackeys.

    Democrats are sympathetic with the terrorist world, but maliciously spiteful toward Republicans, who, for all their faults, have always put America's best interests first, unlike their Democratic counterparts who are acting psychopathic at this time, such is their fantasy-world denial that the electorate put them out to pasture, at least for awhile. So they continue to act like they own and are running this country, at the cost to us all of the unprecedented undermining of the agenda of an administration which actually has America's best interests at heart.

    • CaliConservative says:

      Yes, the topic of Robert's article was CHARADES
      If you think either party gives a damn about the common American you are mistaken
      Pass the Koolaid please!!

      • Angedur says:

        Very true. And reason why Hitlery lost. An elite calling peeps deplorables and low info voters who think anyone voting Trump is kkk, nazi or fill in the blank, dems not much and well off rino's dont understand the working class needs.
        Not much not to vote for.

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    A few decades ago making 30 k a year was an okay life. Now with a rise in property and health insurance, 30 k a year, folks will be struggling. Not sure why these folks are paying any fed income tax.

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  19. admission es says:

    Really people must know that sometimes political charades full them and to be more awared use the Lucky you.

  20. Imre says:

    I completely agree. For us, in Hungary, the great lie of the government has been going on for 3 years now, with the aid of an imaginary enemy. The goal is to win the elections and retain power.

    • B Wilds says:

      This seems to be how it works everywhere. The system is geared at getting politicians re-elected and fulfilling the most pressing needs of today. Things like profit, greed, and quenching our unrelinquishing desire for growth is placed far in front of longer term issues and needs.

  21. B Wilds says:

    I have just watched "Meet The Press" with Chuck Todd and must say it was difficult to stomach. It is difficult to ignore that shows designed to discuss the Washington beltway and current events continue to bash President Trump and pile it on. A major concern surrounding a media that is constantly banging away at the President is the cultural damage it inflicts by widening the social divide we already have in our heavily polarized country.

    News heavily skewed to disparage Trump and comprised of an unrelenting barrage of attacks do little to inform, bring us together or create calm between Nations. The article below explores this obsession and argues America would be better served with less focus on Trump and more focus on the important major issues of the day.