Noble lie, big lie and the ’cause’
P.T. Barnum, were he our contemporary, might now say, There’s a true believer born every minute.
Nice people these true believers, our cousins, brothers, friends (plus that one gazing back at you from the mirror), with whom you wouldn’t refuse an espresso at Starbucks.
America, no less that Russia, has experienced its mass hysteria. Lies..the cause? Before we start, we’ll define terms.
The Noble Lie
In politics, a noble lie is a myth or untruth, often, but not invariably, of a religious nature, knowingly told by an elite to maintain social harmony or to advance an agenda. The noble lie is a concept originated by Plato as described in the Republic. Noble lie – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Big Lie
A big lie (German: Große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” Hitler asserted the technique was used by Jews to unfairly blame Germany’s loss in World War I on German Army officer Erich Ludendorff
The noble lie and big lie serve
- a person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition. “the cause of the accident is not clear”
- a principle, aim, or movement that, because of a deep commitment, one is prepared to defend or advocate. “she devoted her life to the cause of deaf people”
A prominent current noble lie amongst us Americans is, I suppose, The Rapture, manifested in either its religious or secular form.
The (Religious) Rapture
False Messiah’s preaching end-of-time salvation are as common today as in Jerusalem 2015 years ago.
Evangelical ministers in America seem to forecast weekly the End of the World, wherein a few select are saved.
In early May 2011, Harold Camping predicted the rapture would occur at 6 p.m. May 21, 2011. Believers would rise to heaven while the rest would be left to wander a godforsaken planet until Oct. 21, when Camping promised a fiery end to the world.
The Left Behind, a book and HBO series sold gazillions of book and further gazillions viewed the HBO series.
The Rapture’s imminent and immediate end of the world is not only an American phenomenon. Russian Old Believers have periodically committed mass suicides in 16th century Russia. Soviet Communists engineered the murder of tens of millions to advance their march to the Soviet Worker’s Paradise, likewise Nazi Germany’s Götterdämmerung.
The Secular (Green) Rapture***
The UN Environment Program (UNEP) had warned in 2005 that sea-level rises, increased hurricanes, and desertification caused by man-made climate change would lead to massive population disruptions (by 2010). In a map, the organization highlighted areas that were particularly vulnerable, such as the Caribbean. The prognosis was as false (or premature) as Harold Campings.
The Population Bomb is a best-selling book written by Stanford University Professor Paul R. Ehrlich and his wife, Anne Ehrlich, in 1968. It warned of the mass starvation of humans in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation, as well as other major societal upheavals, and advocated immediate action to limit population growth. as quoted from wikipedia
And so on and on….
And then there is the Bald Faced Lie and of course, the little white lie, which I’ll look at in next week’s post.
*I had recently read a poll somewhere (can not find it this morning) that 15% of the poll respondents believed The Revelation of St. John the Divine, i.e., the Rapture will bring the imminent end, while 15% assert Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming will to the trick–30% of the US population spiritualizing their own hysteria and joining in a movement.
**The term “Green Rapture” is not my invention. In Revelations, Chapter 6, the fourth horseman rides a pale green horse. Peter Hitchens in the Daily Mail uses it to describe Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming millenialists.