Ross Barnett didn’t invent the big lie, but he was a practitioner. One might even say that Ross was to the manor born. The big lie had been a southern thing from the get go; comes with the turf. First you must lie to yourself, and so they did. Hitler appropriated, without acknowledgment, the concept in Mein Kampf, Chapter 10. That wasn’t all he appropriated from the American South; they had beaten him to a lot of the Nazi shtick.
Joseph McCarthy had given it a pretty good ride in the 1950s. Many a pol has flirted with it since then. Ross’s run was in the tumult of the early 1960s. Then, just when he thought he was being slick, he got exposed by northerners Jack and Bobby. Then, his whole career was flushed down the drain.
Of late, it has been Katy Bar the Door. After all these many years now, Newt is still purveying with all his little heart. Grover having done Goebbels proud; is still at it. Once the flood gates were opened, the Darrells, Treys, Dougs, Jims, Jims, Mitchs, Devins, Teds, Joshs, Mos, Marjories, Marthas, Cindys, Sarahs, . . . have just kept pouring in. The big lie, the profession, was not limited to politicians; in fact, in some cases, talk show hosts and opinion writers preceded the pols; paving the road to hell, if you will. Speaking of which, big-time practitioner Fox News paved the road for a lot of the political practitioners of the big lie. Not to mention any names, but a recently disposed SOB does come to mind.
Turns out, he, the SOB, that is, has long been a student of Adolf’s (Adolf ist SOB auf deutsch). Purloined the whole accusing your victim of what you yourself are doing, and so much more, von seinem lieben Anführer. Such as: leveraging a small percentage of support into the control of a larger group, co-opting law enforcement, defense, state, . . .
Tabloid politics has been around; Murdoch and Ailes didn’t invent it. They did weaponize it with propaganda and deploy it on a heretofore unknown scale. The recently disposed, epitomized, practiced, tabloid politics. Took him from the bowels of NYC’s tabloids to The White House. With a little help from Fox & Co, slimed his way to the top.
All of which has the psychologists still scratching their heads; why do so many of us like to be lied to?