The "Art" of Deception
(This article last revised 2.22.2012)
Many people have been deceived, and they still are because there is an art to successfully deceiving people. A Deceiver must masquerade as good, and the most successful ones managed to do that effectively because they convinced themselves they were good, and righteous.
So, the Deceiver doesn't think he is deceiving people. He's convinced himself and his followers that he is being honest and acting in their best interests, even though he actually leads them down a slippery slope toward destruction.
That is often the case when the Deceiver is a partisan politician fighting for the power of the throne, especially when he claims he serves all the people when he actually serves the interests of the wealthiest few who financially support him.
It is also often the case when a false shepherd or false prophet masquerades as a religious leader in order to recruit people to his blind flock, leading them to believe that he knows God, and that if you believe him you will be blessed by God.
However, usually it is in the political arena that the Deceiver is the most harmful and divisive.
In partisan politics, the Deceiver usually resorts to being an Accuser. He resorts to false or misleading accusations in order to denigrate his opponent, portraying himself as a righteous judge who is exposing wrongdoers (as he judges them to be).
However, the Deceiver is the opposite of the prophet, because the Deceiver serves "Mammon" and seeks personal power, wealth, and domain, while the truly righteous prophet selflessly serves God and seeks peace, freedom and justice for all the people.
The Deceiver-Accuser has a deluded ego which has been tempted and corrupted, so it wrongly judges, falsely accuses, and offensively speaks and acts against good people. So the Deceiver's mentality is the opposite of the divinely inspired prophet's mentality, which is truly righteous and good, fair and yet firm, gentle and yet honest, and loving and yet frank.
A deceptive partisan politician masquerades as good but is the opposite of good. He must deceive many people to gain enough followers, supporters and financial backers to get elected. And, at the same time, he must defeat an opponent who competes with him for political power, so the Deceiver also resorts to accusation and slander.
Many people are aware of such tactics and are not deceived. However, many people are deceived, because in partisan politics the deception is sometimes very cunning, clever, charming and demagogic, appealing to emotions, pride, and prejudices.
Furthermore, many people are deceived when the deception is not deliberate but unintentional, because a partisan politician who is actually sincere can lead people to believe he is a good guy because he actually believes he is a good guy, even though he is actually a self-deluded demagogue.
See, an egocentric man can rationalize and justify his political ideology to the point of deceiving himself and convincing himself that he is a good and righteous judge, and even a superior judge. Thus some partisan politicians manage to actually believe that their initiatives, policies and doctrines are helpful and good, even when that is not true.
The epitome of that, and the most obvious case in point, was Adolph Hitler, who rose to power in the 1930s claiming in his book and in his speeches that he was a Christian "doing God’s will." He didn’t just claim that his nation and race were superior and should rule the world. He claimed that his religion (Christianity) was superior to all other religions in the world and should rightfully rule the world in the name of the Lord, even if it meant conquering all other nations by force of arms. Hitler even claimed that he was ushering in a thousand year reign of the Lord, as mentioned in the book of Revelation in the Christian Bible. And Hitler’s claims of religious, racial and national superiority enable Hitler to make scapegoats of certain groups of people who he judged and condemned, simply on the bases of their religion, race, nationality, culture, sexual orientation, or disability.
Here is a very relevant video, translating German into English, showing Adolph Hitler’s Campaign Promises and Justification for Gaining Power for the "Fatherland."
Hitler no doubt believed his rhetoric, because such belief, however deluded and self-serving, is empowering. That’s why deluded but charismatic religious zealots are able to incite their followers to do their bidding even if and when it leads people down the slippery slope to conflict, division, violence, war, death, and destruction.
However, there is a more modern and far less obvious case in point, and another example of a demagogic Deceiver — one who was not and is still not widely recognized as such. In fact, many Americans still think he was a hero.
That one, of course, was the 40th President of the United States, as is explained in the articles on Ronald Reagan’s Real Legacy; Ronald Reagan’s Real Record; Ignored American History; Poverty: America’s Hidden Shame; and The American Economy. But here we can delve more into the psychological motivations and methodology of Reagan’s success.
In America, because of the flawed, corrupt and divisive partisan politic system, and because of the illusion that it produces government of, by and for the people, many of the American people were deceived 30 years ago, and that deception enabled President Ronald Reagan and the Reaganites to virtually wipe out and negate the successes and needed reforms that had been brought about by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, and by the legitimate, valid protests of the 1960s against racism, against violation of civil rights, against unjust and needless war, and against suppression of dissent, free speech and free assembly.
What happened in America in the 1960s was much like what is now happening in the Mid-East (such as in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya) where the people are protesting against the abuse of power. Their protests have been much like the protests in America in the 1960s, which brought about a brutal reaction to try to suppress dissent and protest. That’s why there were brutal police riots against anti-war demonstrators in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. There were brutal police riots against the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley in 1969. There was killing of student anti-war protestors at Kent State University in 1970. And there was other brutal and violent right-wing political suppression of protest and dissent, which left America deeply divided and terribly polarized.
Ronald Reagan, as Governor of California in 1969, was responsible for the bloodbath in Berkeley, which he had warned would occur if the protesters did not stop their demonstrations and their assembling in the streets. He refused to allow the protesters to voice their grievances, and he ordered the Regents of the University to refuse to negotiate with the protesters. Instead, he used brute force to crush them and make them fear (and hate) the police, which further polarized Americans.
In the 1970s, President Richard Nixon gained power, supported by Ronald Reagan, and like Reagan, Nixon waged war on protesters and dissenters, especially African American or black groups who were still fighting for civil rights. Moreover, the Nixon Administration simply dismissed dissent by labeling protesters as "nattering nabobs of negativism" as if they were illegitimate and not valid.
Then in 1981 along came Ronald Reagan, who with the support of the Reaganites very effectively pulled the wool over the eyes of many gullible Americans by appealing to pride and prejudices, and by waving the flag and thumping their bible as they rattled their sword.
As the articles on Ronald Reagan’s real legacy and record shows, he was a politician who actually believed that he was doing the right thing, and 30 years ago he was able to sell an extremely partisan right-wing political ideology as if it was to "restore Christian values and American pride." In fact, he was able to sell it so well that even today about 30 percent of the American voters still believe it — even though it has been proven not true.
The actual legacy of his ideology is that 90 percent of the nation’s wealth has been successfully redistributed to the wealthiest few. It has caused steadily increasing income disparity, a steadily shrinking middle class, a steadily growing working poor population, and increasing poverty, hunger and homelessness.
That is largely because the right-wing partisan political ideology of Ronald Reagan is actually what enabled political and corporate corruption, which began to come to light in 2001 and finally brought the nation to its knees economically in 2008. And it still plagues us with an inequitable political economic system.
The articles about Ignored American History, Partisan Politics, The 21st Century Declaration of Independence, Ronald Reagan’s Real Legacy, and Poverty: America’s Hidden Shame, provide some details and some facts of the matter, and explain how and why so many Americans have been so easily misled by the forces that are driven by greed and self-interest.
Basically, it is because they are, and have been, very cunning and adept in the art of deception — making it appear as if they serve the best interests of all the people and the nation, when they in fact serve the interests of the wealthiest few. That is why there is so much opposition to their schemes, because many people see through their deception. And that, in fact, is why they usually have to fight dirty against their opponents, believing that their best defense is a vicious offensive attack.
The forces driven by greed and self-interest are elitists who believe they and those who are "most deserving" should rule, and they, of course, believe they are the most deserving and entitled to rule. That’s why they fight for the power to rule in spite of all opposition. That inevitably makes it necessary for them to try to appear as if they serve all the people in order to get elected, when in fact they serve themselves and their wealthy supporters, to the detriment of everyone and everything else.
They, of course, deny that, but history proves it is true.
In fact, that has been painfully evident many times in America, perhaps most notably in 1929, 2001, and 2008, when some of the terrible consequences of their greed and corruption caused so much harm and suffering to so many people.
Of course, forces driven by greed and self-interest have always sought personal power, wealth and domain, at the expense of others. They’ve done it throughout history. And, in America, even a few of the Founding Fathers followed that tradition.
Perhaps the most conspicuous example of that was Alexander Hamilton, who had been an aid to General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War, and then became President Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury.
Not that Hamilton was a "bad" man. In fact, many people respected him and, in fact, in some ways he was a great man. President George Washington would not have chosen Hamilton to be in his cabinet if he wasn’t. But then, Washington was of English ancestry and steeped in British traditions, and Alexander Hamilton was an economist in the British corporate tradition, and thus he was a strong believer in corporate capitalism, corporate banking, and rule by the wealthiest few.
To express his views, Hamilton was the main author of the Federalist Papers. That was his most influential work, because it was considered by many wealthy Americans as a correct interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
However, it was an interpretation that many of the writers of the Constitution did not agree with. In fact, many Founding Fathers disagreed with Hamilton. People like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison considered Hamilton a monarchist sympathizer, and they even declared Hamilton’s interpretation of the Constitution as too loose, biased, too partial to moneyed interests, and very obvious in its favoritism for the wealthy, and in its lack of regard for the common man.
By 1800 Hamilton had formed the right-wing partisan political Federalist Party, and he ran against Jefferson for president. Hamilton said he wanted the U.S. to be a "Meritocracy," and he claimed his form of government would provide rewards and prosperity to those who deserved it because of their hard work, skill, education, and entrepreneurship. And he said government had no business promoting the general welfare of the people, because the people should be totally self-reliant. Hence the idea of a Meritocracy.
However, Hamilton lost his bid for the presidency, and Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801. Part of the reason for that was because many Americans found Hamilton a bit pompous, but it was also because Jefferson pointed out what motivated Hamilton’s elitist schemes. Jefferson clearly saw through all the schemes of the forces driven by greed and self-interest, just as he saw through the schemes of the theocratic right-wing preachers who wanted to rule in the name of Christianity in violation of the U.S. Constitution. (See the articled on Ignored American History.)
Not that Jefferson was against Christianity. In fact, Jefferson sincerely loved and understood the core teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, but he was far from a biblical literalist, and he believed and said that a man’s religion was between him and God, and no one else’s business. That’s why he famously wrote that the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution was expressly to establish a "wall of separation between church and state."
That is significant because, unlike Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton assumed what’s been called an "opportunistic religiosity," using Christianity for political ends and insisting that Christianity and Jeffersonian Democracy were incompatible. Then, after Hamilton lost the presidency to Jefferson in 1801, Hamilton began to assert what he called "the truth of Christianity," and he proposed a Christian Constitutional Society in 1802 to gain power or to elect "fit men" to office.
This is very relevant to what’s going on today, because Hamilton was much like those today who demonstrate an opportunist and politically expedient religiosity to gain political power, once again, in violation of Article 6 and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the intent of the vast majority of the Founding Fathers.
Fortunately, because Jefferson prevailed over Hamilton in 1801, Jefferson was able to work on serving the people, with the first public schools and many other things that were to the benefit of all the people and the nation. Jefferson set a precedent of fair treatment of all U.S. citizens, and of Native Americans, and established Jeffersonian Democracy, which is still regarded as an exemplary model of good government. In fact, that is why Abraham Lincoln later said: "The principles of Jefferson are the axioms of a free society."
Unfortunately, it wasn’t very long before Jefferson’s ideals and precedents were ignored and not followed, because the forces of greed and self-interest are very persistent, aggressive, and powerful, because they can utilize all the things that money can buy.
In the late 1800s and in the first decade of the 1900s, progressives managed to hold off the forces of greed and self-interest, and they even managed to institute some reforms. However, most of their successes were undermined and negated in the 1020s.
In the 1920s, the forces of greed and self-interest called themselves Republicans. They negated a lot of successes that had been made by progressives, and instead revived the Hamiltonian notion that the ideal of self-reliance should trump all others. The ideal of self-reliance justified the idea that government should not or "meddle" in the affairs of the stock market, banks or businesses, or "burden" them with regulations or impede their ability to profit.
That, of course, inevitably led to a terrible financial and economic crisis, the stock market crash of 1929, and the Great Depression.
That is why, in 1932, the great Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt had to start cleaning up the mess, establish needed regulations and public service programs, and provide a New Deal for the American People. (See the article on Ignored American History.)
Unfortunately in the 1950s, because some Americans forgot what made America great, the forces of greed and self-interest found a new, even more deceptive strategy.
That new strategy enabled them to label good, fair, conscientious Americans as "communists." It was called "Red-Baiting," and perhaps the most notable of those who resorted to such tactics in the 1950s were Senator Joseph McCarthy, Senator Richard Nixon, and Screen Actors Guild President Ronald Reagan. They were among the most zealous in slandering their fellow countrymen, labeling them as "communists" and "black-listing" them, thus ruining many careers and lives.
Those they slandered and labeled as "communists" were people like folk singers Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Paul Robeson; singer Lena Horne; actors Charlie Chaplin, Sam Jaffe, Burgess Meredith, Ruth Gordon, Lee Grant, Zero Mostel and Edward G. Robinson; composers Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copeland; writers Dashiell Hammett, Arthur Miller, Dorothy Parker and Langston Hughes; scientists J. Robert Oppenheimer and Linus Pauling; among many other good, great, conscientious people who merely tried to stick up for the common man and "the little guy."
In 1968, in reaction to progressive successes, the forces of greed and self-interest were represented by Richard Nixon when he ran for president. Republican Nixon won the presidency because the Democratic Party was badly divided, but he also won because he claimed to serve "The Silent Majority." In fact, it was a distinct minority of eligible voters who enabled Nixon to be elected, and when he was he tried to revive the Hamiltonian theme of self-reliance again. And, when he was forced to resign the presidency because of his notorious "dirty tricks," he made a point of claiming: "I am not a crook."
In 1980, in reaction to progressive successes of the 1960s that Nixon hadn’t been able to negate, the forces of greed and self-interest were represented by Ronald Reagan, who adopted a new winning strategy.
Mind you, as is explained in the articles on Ronald Reagan’s real legacy and record, Reagan no doubt was sincere in his beliefs. However, he was quite willing to accept the support of right-wing Christian evangelical fundamentalist leaders like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. In fact, that was Reagan’s ace in the hole, because that seemed to legitimize a lot of bible-thumping along with the flag waving and sword rattling.
Thus the Hamiltonian doctrine of self-reliance was not only revived, but expanded. Reaganomics perfectly served the interests of the wealthiest few, with the idea that if they were enabled to profit without restraint, their greater wealth would somehow "trickle down" to everyone below and benefit the whole nation.
With Reagan’s alliance with the Christian Right, he also revived Alexander Hamilton’s tactic of opportunistic religiosity, using Christianity for political ends. Reagan, Falwell, Robertson et al claimed to know "the truth of Christianity," just as Hamilton did. They formed the "Moral Majority," which later became "The Christian Coalition," which has blatantly and shamelessly distorted and used Christianity for political ends. In fact, following Hamilton’s tactics, they formed political action committees and special interest forums in order to elect "fit men" and "proper Christians" to office, from local school boards, city councils, state legislatures, the U.S. Congress, and the presidency. And again, that has been in violation of Article 6 and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the clear intent of the Founding Fathers.
In spite of that, the Reaganites and the Christian Right succeeded, and they have essentially ruled ever since, because Ronald Reagan was a very effective corporate television pitch man who was able to convince most Americans that he served all Americans. He appealed to the pride, prejudices, religiosity, patriotism, and even to the bigotry of Americans who liked hearing that their nation and religion were superior to all others.
Granted, the Reaganites were impeded a bit when Democrat Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1993. But, in order to win, Clinton had to move to the right of middle. Clinton even betrayed traditional democratic values when he went along with the Republican-dominated Congress and signed the so-called "Welfare Reform Act" of 1996 which created increasing poverty, hunger and homelessness.
Reaganites really still ruled despite Clinton’s presidency, which is why in the 1990s the wealthiest few and their huge corporations were further enabled and given freer rein, which is why in 2001 the inevitable consequences of their greed and corruption began to be exposed in terrible scandals caused by the top executives in corporations like Enron, Adelphia, Global Crossing and WorldCom, among others.
The problem was that only the most conspicuously corrupt executives were punished and some lower level executives were made scapegoats, and only the tip of the huge iceberg of corporate corruption was revealed. And that was partly because Hamiltonian Reaganism was continued and even expanded under the presidency of George W. Bush, who was elected in 2000, and the corporate executives had thought they’d be able to get away with anything they wanted.
That, in fact, is what led to the financial economic crises which inevitably plunged America into the economic and financial crisis we still face. And it’s why so many Americans are suffering.
Again, President Thomas Jefferson and President Franklin D. Roosevelt Called Them "Economic Royalists." Now they are Reaganites with a Global Religious Military Industrial Agenda, and they have a very firm grip on political power in America. They did not accept defeat and the will of the majority in 2009, and through slander and deception they’ve managed to take power back in spite of a globally popular democratic president.
All that is to say that during the last 30 years there has indeed been a vast right-wing conspiracy, and it has been successfully executed by the Reaganites, also known as Neo-Conservatives, who belong to forums and groups that have deceptive names, like the Republican Party, the Moral Majority, the Federalist Society, the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, The Family, the American Family Association; the Heritage Foundation, The Tea Party, and many other names designed to sound patriotic and religious, and touting family values and Christian values.
However, the historic record and the state of the nation reveals the impact of their words, deeds and actions. And it’s not a pretty picture, because their values are far from Christian. For while they claim to serve God and Country, they serve themselves and Mammon.
They’ve waged class warfare and won. They’ve redistributed most of the wealth of the nation to the richest one percent of the population. They’ve practically created a Theocracy by ignoring the Constitution and distorting Christianity to suit their own political purposes. And they’ve successfully deceived many, thus dividing us and pitting us against each other.
That’s what happens when The Art of Deception is practiced by cunning, devious minds, and by self-deluded, self-important and self-righteous minds.
Therefore, what we need is to advance beyond their divisive partisan political game (because it’s stacked against us), choose a better way to unite in common purpose for the common good, and use the tools and the vision the Founding Fathers gave us to establish real democracy, with real freedom and justice for all.