Politics Psychology

Intrinsic deception in appeals to the masses.

It would seem the case that no matter what kind of appeal is made to a mass of people, whether it be democracy’s appeal to voters or capitalism’s appeal to consumers, simply by force of its being an appeal directed towards a mass of people it is necessitated to be deceptive- either to some degree or to a total degree.

This is not necessarily due to the appellants having a deceptive nature, but because any mass of people are of such a nature that any appeal addressed to them must be of such simplicity that the appeals fundamentally cannot reflect truth.

Being forced to forego the complexity of reality so that the message can be received by the simplicity of the masses, the address—no matter how true the original message—must be turned into a partial lie.

Being inherent to the nature of human society, this is not intrinsically evil for so long the appellants remain earnest. However, in systems like democracy and liberal capitalism where power is derived from endorsement of the masses, it is quickly found that the greater an appeal’s simplicity, the greater its reception.

Owing to this, a high culture of public dishonesty becomes inevitable as the mechanics of power intrinsic to the system incentivises the increasing simplification of reality. Appellants are made to compete for power through bolder and bolder deceptions, the most powerful being those capable of producing the most simplistic appeals with the most reception.

This consequently privileges deceptive personalities in the accrual of power. The more tactful a deception, the greater the system rewards it. Though traditions of honour and morality delayed the development of this culture, the presence of either democracy or capitalism ensures the eventual decline of these traditions due to them inhibiting the accrual of power- a paradox which cannot be sustained within any ruling class.

In sum, dishonesty becomes staple among the powerful. Flowing from the high culture of dishonesty comes a mass culture of dishonesty with the total simplification of reality to such a degree that complexity is held in contempt, distrusted, and believed to be untrue.

All of this I think we can see is the case today.