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The reason people tolerate governments who lie

(70 Posts)
Whitewavemark2 Tue 17-Nov-20 20:59:18

I watched an interesting interview this evening on Amanpour CNN. The interview was with a psychologist sociologist (I think was his title).

He was asked how people appear to believe the most outrageous lies told to them by politicians.

His explanation is that when you say to the apparent believers that their politician or policy of choice is a lie, they don’t hear that it is a lie, but that the politician is going to deliver what they want. So, yes, they know the politician is lying constantly, but they are willing to overlook it to get to their goal.

It is a phenomena that is new and is changing the face of democracy.

The traditional values of trust and honesty are being entirely undermined .

We are, he argues at a crossroads and it can go either way, where we continue down the road of accepting lies providing the politician delivers what we want, or we pull back and re-establish the values of trust and honestly.

That explains so much

Dinahmo Tue 17-Nov-20 21:56:15

I think that some people cannot admit that they were wrong in believing what they were told in the beginning. Think about Johnson. How many of the people who supported him in the beginning will admit to having made a mistake? Very few I suspect. There are some GNers who continue to make excuses for him.

Hetty58 Tue 17-Nov-20 22:15:51

The 'reason' voters often give is that things would be far worse with the other party. It's as if they are quite content with 'the lesser of two evils' and now expect nothing better.

The media and social media have an awful lot to answer for.

The unaware are easily led down a path where views, however mistaken, bizarre or deluded, are affirmed, balance is lost - and there is no reality check.

Everyone really should take the time to watch 'Social Dilemma' (on Netflix or YouTube).

Bathshe Tue 17-Nov-20 22:21:23

Agree with everything you've written, Hetty56 I've watched Social Dilemma. What an eye opener

Interesting points as to where we're headed, Threat to democracy.

Definitely worth watching

M0nica Wed 18-Nov-20 08:45:40

I think this is an over sophisticated, over complicated explanation of a trait that is hard wired into the whole DNA of human kind, we all lie, white lies to huge whoppers, some are to keep things running smoothly, others to cheat people..

Since the beginning of time there has never been a government who didn't tell lies. Whether people believe them is another question, I do not think many do. They just vote for the party that they think will bring in policies that are most advantageous to them.

The other question is the one Pontius Pilate asked: What is truth? My truth is your lie.

If I say, on this forum that I think the whole of the Labour party manifesto of the last election was a a tissue of lies and deception over the cost of implementation, no matter how much evidence I can bring forth, GN-ers, almost the last handful will rise up and tell me that it was truthful and committed and that Jeremy Corbyn and all his mates are sea-green uncorruuptibles. If I say the same thing about Boris Johnson and the Conservatives, everybody will agree with me.

As I said. What is truth? Until you can define that you cannot define lying.

lemongrove Wed 18-Nov-20 08:49:18

What M0nica says.

LauraNorder Wed 18-Nov-20 09:06:16

What MOnica says.

Kandinsky Wed 18-Nov-20 09:09:15

If this is about Brexit then I think most of what the ‘vote remain’ team said was lies ( & I genuinely do )

Remainers believe anything the guardian or C4 news feeds them ( or whatever pro remain media they follow )
They believe it because they want to believe it. Just like millions of people believe in what Nigel Farage says. Or the daily mail etc.

Lollin Wed 18-Nov-20 09:09:54

I agree Hetty the media have an awful lot to answer for.

25Avalon Wed 18-Nov-20 09:16:07

If all politicians lie then whatever your party politics we all have to accept lies from our politicians. I don’t think many of us believe everything politicians tell us- we just vote for one or two issues. A large number of voters for Boris, for example, were voting for Brexit. If Brexit had already happened I doubt he would have had the number of votes he did.

travelsafar Wed 18-Nov-20 09:17:34

The worse thing about their lies and skullduggery is the fact they are insulting our intelligence when they think we can not see right through it all!!!!!

Whitewavemark2 Wed 18-Nov-20 09:25:52

monica Yes we all lie, but I think you have missed the point entirely.

This is talking about bare faced lying by politicians that are absolutely unequivocally not true, but people vote for them as if they are true.

Yes politicians have always lied, but I can remember a time when a politician was found to have lied to the House was asked and did resign.

Now they as often lie as tell the truth.

This has extremely dangerous implication for democracy and trust in government.

I bet most reading this thread can recount a lie told by a politician.

40, or 30 years ago this would never have happened or at least the politician knew enough to try to cover it up as he/she understood what would happen if found out.

Now - they lie with impunity, people know that they lie but are willing to set aside those values in order to achieve what they see as their goal.

eazybee Wed 18-Nov-20 10:00:35

I agree with MOnica's post. There is far more surveillance of people in power and their actions available today and it is far easier to expose deception; the electorate makes its choices, and is underestimated at your peril. You are being extremely naive if you think this is a new phenomenon.

Whitewavemark2 Wed 18-Nov-20 10:12:57

I am not talking about deception that is uncovered!!

I am talking about standing up or tweeting a bare faced lie that everyone knows to be a lie right from the word go!

Head getting sore at the moment.

GillT57 Wed 18-Nov-20 10:14:34

Interesting discussion. I think we can all agree that most politicians, of all persuasions, have been economical with the truth or bend it a bit or said what they think people want to hear, in an effort to persuade the electorate to vote for them, and in a way, we all know this and hopefully try to sift through what we read and hear to arrive at what we find acceptable. What is different now I think is that it is more blatant, more easily disproved, and still the electorate choose to hear what they want to hear. At the risk of being shot down, this is what I think happened with Brexit; the press, Cambridge Analytica and others were able to press the right buttons, use the right words such as 'sovereignty' and phrases such as 'take back control', all emotive and designed to influence. But, back to the point, Gove and Johnson are both on record as having said that a no deal Brexit would not happen, would be a disaster, but we are now heading towards this at their guidance, so what is the lie? Then or now?

GillT57 Wed 18-Nov-20 10:22:34

As a prime example of people voting for what suits them, even if it goes against their beliefs; my cousin lives in USA, and I was horrified to hear from her Mother, my aunt, that said cousin is bereft at the Trump defeat. Cousin and husband who are extremely well off, became even more so due to the tax cuts introduced by Trump. Money they just didn't even know what to do with, the kind of annual increase in take home income that means you can buy another house without a mortgage, obscene amounts of money, all while complaining about people claiming food stamps, the costs of paying for other people's health problems through Obama Care. I find it hard to understand how the blind selfish greed can lead a staunch Christian to cast aside her morals. It is even harder to share DNA with someone who voted for Trump.

Whitewavemark2 Wed 18-Nov-20 10:22:58

This might help

theconversation.com/why-people-vote-for-politicians-they-know-are-liars-128953

Doodledog Wed 18-Nov-20 11:19:46

I think that people are exposed to so much media these days that it is very difficult to pick our way through them all. Also, we have been encouraged for many years to look down on media studies education, which pays right into the hands of unscrupulous people who use media for their own ends.

One thing that illustrates what I am saying is the way in which a lot of people willingly share memes and so on that chime with their world view, without checking them out first. They are not telling lies, but they are spreading untruths.

Another thing is the way in which a lot of interested parties claim ownership of 'the facts'. This can be very persuasive, as once something is presented as 'fact' it seems heresy to disagree, yet the choice of which 'facts' to mention and which to suppress can make a massive difference to the believability of an argument. To use an obvious example : we spend £X on membership of the EU, but no mention of getting £Y back in other ways, or the same argument in reverse (we get £Y from our membership without mentioning that to do so we have to spend £X).

Also, we have so much information at our fingertips that it is easy to think that we can all educate ourselves about all sorts of things, forgetting that we don't have the expertise to contextualise them. If you heard that there was a move afoot to give your grandchildren all of the following ingredients on a daily basis, how would you feel?
Ethanol
Propyl acetate
2-Methylpropyl acetate
Propanol
n-Butyl acetate
2-Methylpropanol
2-Methylbutyl acetate
n-Butyl propanoate
n-Butanol
n-Pentyl acetate
2-Methylbut-3-enyl acetate
2-Methylbutanol
3-Methylbut-3-enyl acetate
3-Methylbut-3-enol
3-Methylbut-2-enyl acetate
n-Pentanol
n-Hexyl acetate
E-Hex-3-enyl acetate
Z-Hex-3-enyl acetate
Hex-4-enyl acetate
E-Hex-2-enyl acetate
n-Hexanol
Z-Hex-3-enol
E-Hex-2-enol
n-Hexyl-2-methylbutanoate
n-Heptanol
Camphor
n-Octanol
n-Oct-2-enol
1 -Methoxy-4-(2-propenyl)-benzene

Concerned? They can all be found in an apple (if my Google source is correct, that is grin).

Lolo81 Wed 18-Nov-20 11:28:48

As scepticism in the integrity of our institutions has increased so has the capacity for people to accept that lying or “alternative facts” are par for the course in political discourse.
Personally I think that the extreme commercialism and 24 hour media outlets play a huge part in this as the narrative is almost all pervasive for most.
The thing I have noticed is that the complete division (probably most notable in the US) for some leaves absolutely no room for a middle ground or compromise. No-one is willing to cede ground. The last time I checked, President Trump had spouted over 20,000 untruths publicly. This creates a dangerous precedent IMO.
I worry that when an overarching narrative is more important than facts we find ourselves in very dangerous territory, anyone with a basic knowledge of the rise of Nazism may recognise some of the tactics being employed and it is frightening to me that more people are not recognising the dangers involved by not holding politicians accountable to facts.

GillT57 Wed 18-Nov-20 12:05:44

I am frequently disappointed by political interviewers who just do not press the point, do not keep repeating their question, forcing the interviewee to answer. Why do they not put forward the information that is out there, not FB rumours, but reputable information from recognised sources. It is beyond frustrating watching, for example, Marr 'interviewing' Gove, and Gove just talking over him, obfuscating, wittering on. I would really like one of these interviewers to one day just say " unless you answer my question we will terminate this interview as it is pointless". Not rudeness, just taking control. It is the relentless repetition of untruths as Doodledog said, that wears everyone down. As things get repeated, so they seem to gain credibility, like all that anti EU nonsense about bendy bananas and sizing of condoms.

biba70 Wed 18-Nov-20 12:11:09

Kandinsky

If this is about Brexit then I think most of what the ‘vote remain’ team said was lies ( & I genuinely do )

Remainers believe anything the guardian or C4 news feeds them ( or whatever pro remain media they follow )
They believe it because they want to believe it. Just like millions of people believe in what Nigel Farage says. Or the daily mail etc.

Thank you Kandinsky for this valuable contribution, which totally proves the point of the OP.

M0nica Wed 18-Nov-20 12:16:25

This, essentially my point Kandinsky I think the Brexit campaign was a pack of the most outrageous lies.

Cs783 Wed 18-Nov-20 12:33:29

Thank you for that link theconversation.com/why-people-vote-for-politicians-they-know-are-liars-128953 Whitewavemark2 which makes complete sense to me. People need to have faith in the system before they lose faith in the populists.

I’m looking for remedies by changing the system towards more responsive democracy. PR, a written constitution, votes at age 16, consultative assemblies ...?

Whitewavemark2 Wed 18-Nov-20 12:36:58

Cs783

Thank you for that link theconversation.com/why-people-vote-for-politicians-they-know-are-liars-128953 Whitewavemark2 which makes complete sense to me. People need to have faith in the system before they lose faith in the populists.

I’m looking for remedies by changing the system towards more responsive democracy. PR, a written constitution, votes at age 16, consultative assemblies ...?

Hooray😄👍👏👏

That’s exactly what I’m saying.

MaizieD Wed 18-Nov-20 12:43:02

As I said. What is truth? Until you can define that you cannot define lying.

Oh dear, MOnica. Sophistry for the post-truth era.

So, when I drive through a red traffic light and am subsequently prosecuted for it, but I swear that the traffic light was not red, but was green, how do we establish that my statement is true?

Or, when a big red bus says that we send £350 million to the EU every week and the National statistics Authority says that this is not true, how do we establish what is the truth?

How ironic:

I think the Brexit campaign was a pack of the most outrageous lies.

What is your definition of 'truth' then?