American Greatness

The Anatomy of a Lie

BRANDON J. WEICHERT & CHRIS BUSKIRK | AMERICAN GREATNESS

In the 2010 hit film, Inception, the lead character—portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio—explains to his protégé—played by Ellen Page, “An idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. And even the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.” The story centers around DiCaprio and his team kidnapping a corporate CEO, invading his dreams, and planting into his subconscious a false notion about why he should destroy his own company. The most effective lies—or disinformation—work in exactly this way.

What began as a simple false notion from the American Left―that the Russians hacked the 2016 presidential election to benefit Donald Trump’s candidacy―slowly evolved into a full-blown constitutional crisis. Soon, that false notion—that lie—could work its way from the far Left political fringe and into the political mainstream. If the lie is repeated enough times and by enough different voices that it becomes indistinguishable from other, more believable news (i.e., that Hillary Clinton used her family’s charity as a sop for illegal campaign donations when she was Secretary of State), then just as it did in the movie, the false notion will begin to consume the target audience. It will proceed until the target acts according to the dictates of that false notion—in this case, to impeach (or otherwise to turn against) President Trump.

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