My Authors
Read all threads
Short thread on lying and the threat democracy in Britain (with links to previous threads) - an important topic given events of the last few days, and the question of whether Dominic Cummings should keep his job as Johnson’s advisor, which I’ll return to later. 1/
So first, what's so bad about lying? Note that not all deceptions are lies. Smiling to hide our feelings isn’t lying. Note also that deception has deep roots in our evolutionary past – think of the cat that bigs itself up to a rival by arching its back and sticking up its fur. 2/
Lying is a specifically human type of deception - a verbal statement, believed by liar to be false, made with the intention that another person be deceived. Put another way, a lie is a calculated way of trying to manipulate the beliefs of another person to one’s advantage. 3/
Of course it is commonly said that we all lie in everyday life (“Does my bum look big in this?”) but there is good reason why pretty much every moral system on the planet – religious or secular - treats lying as abhorrent. 4/
Main objection to lying is that it undermines trust. Think what a society would be like in which everyone lied? How would you know anything without checking it yourself? Even a trip to the supermarket would be a nightmare, with long queues as everyone uses their calculators./5
This is why, in her celebrated book on the topic, philosopher Sissela Bok argues for the principle of veracity – a strong moral presumption that lying is bad. 6/
Undermining trust is dangerous. It’s no accident that the same people who lie to us tell us to mistrust experts and castigate universities for allegedly indoctrinating our kids. /7
You literally place your life in the hands of a (usually university educated) expert every time you get in a car, take an elevator, cross a bridge or see a doctor. Mistrust of experts (as in the anti-vax movement) literally leads to death. 8/
Our political system depends of trust, as I noted in this previous thread. We elect MPs to do our thinking for us on the assumption that we can trust them. We do this largely by judging their character rather than their policies/ 9
Which means we are all vulnerable to psychopaths - individuals who lie compulsively* while at same time using glib superficial charm* to fake trustworthiness (remind you of anyone?)./10

*In standard diagnostic criteria for psychopathy. Also having lots of kids by different women
Also, lies undermine your freedom. To make a rational, self-interested choice (e.g. about what brand to buy or support for Brexit) you need to know the facts. The liar steals your ability to give informed consent. You are no longer free; you have become a puppet. /11
Worth noting these arguments apply to ‘white lies’ as well as whoppers. If you tell your loved one that his/her bum looks fine, you are depriving him/her of the opportunity to choose a more flattering outfit and, in the long run, potentially undermining your relationship. /12
So how did a culture of political lying develop in the UK? I have addressed this in a previous thread about the strange death of the Conservative Party: /13

Bottom line is the Tory Party no longer exists – they have rejected every single conservative value (e.g. patriotism, preserving what is good) and morphed into a ruthless, amoral gang of revolutionary kleptocrats. People haven’t noticed because they've kept the brand name. /14
As evidence for this claim I bring you Exhibit A, Dominic Cummings, who told multiple lies directly to the nation from the No 10 Rose Garden on Monday. The first lie, of course, was his account of his trip to Durham, which beggared belief (testing his eyesight, my arse). /15
More egregious, he and his wife Mary Wakefield had previously published versions of their CV-19 episode (broadcast by BBC, who really owe us an apology) that were completely at variance with what we now know. Only one possible explanation – they deliberately decided to lie. /16
DC then offered another lie – that he had long predicted the pandemic – which forensic IT folk discovered was not true – he’d recently doctored some old threads to create that impression. /17
Really, how narcissistic and arrogant do you have to be to try and pull this kind of stunt? /18
Why do they do it? Because they think it’s ok to lie to the plebs. How do I know this? Cummings’ hero is Bismarck, the German chancellor who used lies to deliberately provoke a war between Prussia and France (which led to the unification of Germany)… /19
And let us not forget where this all began. Who was the architect of the Leave campaign, which sent targeted fake news ads on Facebook, which broke electoral law and overspent with the deliberate purpose of persuading people to vote for Brexit? /20
Which is why what is happening now is much, much more than about what happened in Durham in May. Cummings and Johnson (who seems to be too scared of Cummings to sack him; DC must really know where the bodies are buried) are a clear and present danger to British democracy. /21
We must fight these enemies of democracy with our last breath. /22 END
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Enjoying this thread?

Keep Current with Richard Bentall #FBPE Project We Told You So.

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!