The Effectiveness of Big Lies

An article in yesterday’s New York Times about political lying, its long lineage, and its effectiveness illuminates Trump’s mode of operation. I had wondered at how he not only falsely claims to have won the election, but to have won in a landslide and at least once to have won every state! Wouldn’t it be more credible if he claimed that recounts and audits and investigations of fraud would show that he won? That’s certainly a more reasonable claim than saying that not only did he win, but his victory was a landslide. More reasonable, yes, but more persuasive, not necessarily. It’s the big lie, magnified far out of proportion and relentlessly repeated that seems likely to sway the minds of many people: Surely he must have at least edged out a victory if he says it was a landslide! The readiness of so many people to be swayed by relentless reiteration of big lies is a lamentably common characteristic of our beleaguered species.