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Sep 11

Dupes Are Born Every Minute

In Brief—With apologies to P.T. Barnum (sorta), the author points out how humans will believe what they want to believe despite solid evidence that they are wrong, whether it’s politics, religion or science.


“There’s a sucker born every minute.” (falsely attributed to P.T. Barnum)—

Machiavelli deceveYou can dress it up and put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. You can grind up the leftovers of a slaughtered pig and make baloney, but it’s still baloney. Similarly, a politician’s slick lies, a preacher’s promises of salvation and surcease from pain or a demonstrator’s belief that a fertilized egg denotes pregnancy is baloney. Believing does not make it a fact. Those who accept this baloney are dupes.

A naked majorette can march down Main Street ahead of a sixty-piece band and a huge float carrying large signs and banners proclaiming reality, but all the crowd will notice is the naked majorette. I can write dozens of pieces giving enough facts and evidence to choke an elephant, but like that crowd and the majorette, people will believe what they want to believe, see what they want to see. I might as well be shouting into a rain barrel.

My blog pieces on the FIB Theory illustrating how fear, ignorance (NOT stupidity) and brainwashing are the basis of belief might as well be written in a foreign language. Most readers will nevertheless believe what they want to believe.

Governments, ISIS, the Taliban, Boko Haram and other extremist groups recruit cannon fodder who may experience patriotic feelings but are still dupes. I can hear the cries of outrage from here, so what follows will explain how these people are dupes.

What is a dupe? A dupe is defined as one who is deceived, gulled, misled or fooled. Such a person may be sincere but s/he is blinded by some form of belief. Government propaganda or religious convictions can easily lead someone to become a dupe. The deceiver plays on a person’s belief, needs or fears. No matter the motivation, the person is not using his/her brain to decide whether it’s a lie or not. That person is being duped.

America pumps out propaganda that is slavishly reported by the mainstream media telling us how our society and our very existence is threatened, what we should believe, how we should act. The films America produces, its TV, the fashion world all contribute their fair share to the all-inclusive propaganda designed to dupe us.

Similarly, extremists throughout the world inflame the devout with the belief that death and destruction will result in victory for their group. Many believers accept this and sign on the dotted line. Frightened civilians are subjugated or killed by the extremists in the belief that these acts of violence assure that their side will win. Belief is the key. They are dupes.

The Israeli government believes that expanding into Palestinian land and that killing the oppressed and angry Palestinians will assure peace. Trampling free expression, they falsely shout “anti-Semitism” intended to destroy the BDS movement because it threatens their policy. Many Israelis and politicians believe these lies. Belief is the key. The Israelis who believe this and those in other countries who support the Israeli government’s lies are dupes.

Former football player Pat Tillman and all those who bought the government’s line may be patriotic, but they are dupes. Those who believe that military service will put bread on the table while ignoring the risk of death or injury are dupes. They hold the belief that they are serving their nation. In fact, they are serving the rich investors who profit from war. They are dupes.

Somebody with a degree in geology tells us that climate change is a fraud. Some preachers tell the faithful that a fertilized egg denotes pregnancy. Both are peddling lies. A corporation assures one and all that dynamiting the tops off mountains for the coal beneath or that injecting chemicals into the earth to extract the oil are telling lies in order to assure their profits. These are dangerous lies that condemn all inhabitants of Earth to destruction. Anybody who accepts this claptrap is a dupe.

A politician who takes part in obstructing rational progress toward the future is acting in his/her own self-interest or adhering to pure partisanship instead of acting in behalf of the nation. Voters who accept this behavior are dupes.

A voter who hasn’t the faintest idea what the party platform sets forth, what his/her representative votes for or stands for and merely votes for the party is not using his/her independent brain. This voter is a dupe and probably stupid, i.e., willfully ignorant.

Religious believers who listen to and believe so-called holy men, priests, preachers, rabbis or imams and repeat the traditional prayers are not using their independent brains. They are dupes.

Are we all dupes to believe without question what we are told, what we read or hear? Are we failing to use our rational minds to logically question what’s done in our behalf? Are we dupes?

6 comments

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  1. Dave Meyers

    When computers first hit the scene and all of us were struggled to learn to use and understand them, a saying was floating around; ‘Crap-in, crap-out’. Meaning that the computer will give you crappy results if you enter crap data into it.
    The same is true for humanity. If it’s feed crappy information, it will develop crappy ideas. As an example; FOX News and other conservative outlets supply the crap and their viewers digest it and form crappy beliefs……simple really.
    To be fair, not all conservative ideals are crappy, likewise, not all liberal ideas are good.
    But, do not fear, soon we will all live in truth and prosperity and wealth and freedom and full employment and acceptance and honesty and happiness……….so say the candidates. Are we being duped?

    1. Don Bay

      Your closing question raises the issue of whether we believe what we are told by any politician, the media or other source. My position is that we should always be skeptical of anything we are told. Always doubt. Always be skeptical. Use that brain to question whether the evidence supports what you are told. If it does, good; if not, don’t buy it…unless someone puts a gun to your head and says, “Believe it or die.” Live to fight another day.

      We live in a society where we are expected to believe what what we are told. If you refuse to accept everything you are told, you may not be popular, you may be considered eccentric, but you will be making an independent evaluation. Keep that independence as long as you can. Used prudently, it can be a shield against dupedom.

  2. Susan

    We ARE all dupes. Some more than others.
    Did I see the word ‘independant’ in the political dupe section?

    1. Don Bay

      Yep, we are all dupes at one time or another. Some people more than others, as you say. Youth is a particularly vulnerable time. Let’s hope we grow out of that tendency as we age.

      I don’t know if you saw independence in the piece, but if you look carefully at the last couple of paragraphs, you will see it. Independence of mind can be helpful in avoiding being a dupe.

  3. Donna Boe

    I like your FIB theory. Fear, ignorance and brain washing certainly are responsible for much of what people believe contrary to facts. I see the appeal to fear as one of the main reasons Trump has gained as much support as he has.

    1. Don Bay

      I put a lot of thought into the process before arriving at FIB. Looked for holes in the logic and couldn’t find any. The FIB Theory feeds into being a dupe. As has been pointed out, people will believe what they want to believe and that belief is driven by FIB. Trump is just one example. I appreciate your pointing out the link.

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