One of my favorite authors, Terry Goodkind, wrote a series called "The Sword of Truth". The first book in the series is called "Wizard's First Rule". It's amazing to me how astute the observations, of politics and human nature, that are found in this book have turned out to be. I'm currently listening to it as an audio book. Being a truck driver gives me lots of time to listen. At any rate, the premise for the title is that the wizard's first rule is the most important rule of all, "People are stupid." That statement is one of the most profound that I've ever encountered. And I know that the people that read this are immediately offended and have their back up at such a statement. To that I must ask that you just here me out and think about what I have to say. Then we'll apply it to the current events and you tell me if I'm that far off the mark.
First of all, the rule that states "People are stupid" illustrates how easy people are to control given the right circumstances. Given the proper motivation people will believe almost anything. They will believe a lie because they want to believe it IS true, or because the fear it MIGHT be true. People's heads are full of facts, beliefs, and knowledge. Most of which are patently false, but that they believe to be true. They can rarely tell the difference between a lie and a truth but are confident that they can, indeed, tell the difference. Therefore, they are all the more easily fooled. They need an enemy to give them a sense of purpose. It's easier to lead people if they have a sense of purpose. A sense of purpose is more important, by far, to ruling than the truth. In fact, truth has almost no bearing in it.
OK. So now let's put this into context with our lives, right here, and right now. Look at the political campaigns. Each side is saying "OOH those EVIL Conservatives ...." or "OOH those damnable Liberals want...." Because we WANT to believe that our side is right and the other wrong we believe almost anything that gets spewed at us in their respective talking points. Most don't even know how to question. For most people, a sense of purpose is more important than the truth, they will gladly accept a lie if it gives them a sense of purpose. Often the truth is hard to sell because it gives no sense of purpose. Black liberation theology is a very good example. Most people don't question. They believe what they are told because they want to believe or are afraid something MIGHT be true, and for most people the truth isn't what's important; it's the cause that's important.
Successful leaders give their followers a cause (change, change, change! sound familiar?) to rally behind. In this way, politicians get elected, countries are freed from oppression and are born, and despots lead armies into genocide. People will do whatever is necessary for "The Cause", because they are given a sense of purpose. The term that fits the most successful of these leaders is "Cult of Personality". They use charisma and lies to suck people into their cause. They pull people in by playing on people's fear, guilt, or pride and once a person joins "The Cause" they tend to absorb and regurgitate the party line and ignore or rebuff anything that tries to interject truth. Mostly, because they don't WANT to be proven that they are wrong. I've noticed lately, that the most ardent believers in supposed free speech and equality have in recent years become the most militant in suppressing opposing views. They resort to violence, individually, and demand state-sponsored censorship of opposing views, collectively.
I personally find it interesting how often art imitates life. Or goes a long way to explaining it. As I listened to Mr. Goodkind's book today, the above opinion came to me in what I would almost call an epiphany. From now on, I hope that regardless of the side you are on, you find yourself filtering what you hear. Learn to question what they say. Do research and don't just accept what you are given.