Pants on Fire
FTR: I wrote this well before Charlottesville. Despite Nazi references, it has nothing to do with Charlottesville.
"The Big Lie" is most often attributed to Adolph Hitler's evil genius friend and Reich Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945, Paul Joseph Goebbels. However, Mein Kampf described and named it first, attributing it to Jews. (Regardless of who may have first described or named the technique, I'd bet its use dates to the invention of hominid communication.) In any case, Goebbels only paraphrased Mein Kampf as to the Big Lie, albeit scapegoating a different ethnicity:
The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.
Although he would never admit it, George W. Bush, knew how to work the Big Lie stragedy (sic). And, why not? Master propagandist Lee Atwater worked for both Reagan-Bush and Bush-Quayle. Karl Rove, a "natural" mentored by Atwater, worked for both Bush-Quayle and Bush 43-Cheney. Anyway, with (much too) much help from media, Bush the Lesser once told us that we had to invade Iraq because Iraq had been involved in both the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and in 911. All the rest of the world knew better. Yet, Bush said it with a straight face, unless you count his perennial smirk.
Just to make certain that Americans knew the "need" to invade Iraq was not limited to anything so base as revenge, Bush also lied that Saddam Hussein had WMD that was likely destined for us. Um, the same Saddam Hussein who humbly esked if the US would mind if Iraq invaded Kuwait over a border dispute? The one who cowered in a hole for about nine months after the US gave advance notice that it would invade his country? That guy would have launched an offensive against the USA, rather than be pampered in his palace? Really? (Back then, we adorably pretended that we were bombing the Middle East only in retaliation for 911 and in oxymoronic pre-emptive "defensive" strikes. Now, we don't bother giving Americans excuses.)
Anyway....Bush 43 ungrammatically shared a thought about politicians and propaganda that was not very different from that described by Hitler and Goebbels, except that Bush claimed he was spreading truth:
In my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.
(President George W. Bush, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008) And, in 2014, just to frost that cake (and me) Congress lifted a 60-year old prohibition against the U.S. government's "propagandizing" US citizens, cutely as an amendment to the national defense budget. (Pop quiz: Would government require legislative authority to tell its citizens the truth, especially if so doing enhanced national defense?)
The Big Lie is not the only thing that our politicians seem to have borrowed. The following appeared in the psychological profile of Hitler prepared by the U.S. Office of Strategic Services:
His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.
Hmm. Does that sound like what Republicans do to Democrats and vice versa? Or what neoliberalconsTM do to those left of them? And what all of them do in so many contexts? How about how Hillary victimsplained her 2016 election loss? Or how the Obama administration and Congress .govsplained it? And so on.
FWIW, Hitler did not originate the faultless politician strategy, either. Some rulers, ancient and relatively modern, even claimed to be gods. And here's a Big Truth, from me: What wikipedia describes about the Big Lie propaganda, politicians who take no responsibility, etc. is still very much with us.
For sifting through whatever politicians and media try to sell you, I offer these: Question everything; assume nothing; "follow the money;" and ask yourself, "cui bono?" And, even after all that, at least half their lies would get past an Einstein. But the lies they try to sell us are not the half of it. Harder than falsehood to detect is the dishonesty of keeping very secret things they should disclose.
Maybe someone will now and again out the truth, as did Wyden and Snowden with the NSA and de facto, repeal of the Fourth Amendment without the consent of the governed (who happen to foot the bills). Or maybe someone will publish pics from the next Abu Ghraib or Bagram. Should we happen to find out, they'll likely mock us dismissively with the weaponized term, "conspiracy" theory.
Oh, and ignore the claims that the secrecy, deceit and "least untruthful" bs is all for our own good, to protect us. Our enemies, real and alleged, know more than we American plebes ever will because they have their own intelligence gathering and we don't. For example, who knew years before you heard of Snowden not to phone home or email? Well, among others, erstwhile Public Enemy #1 (literally), Osama Ben Laden, who used only couriers, much like a Caesar or a Spartan king. I bet Middle Easterners also knew about Abu Ghraib before you did, too, since it was in their midst. No, dear reader, their secrecy is far more about protecting them from embarrassment, and them from us, than it is about their protecting us.