The technique of “The Big Lie” is this: if you repeat a lie often enough, and loudly enough,
people will buy into it.
Adolf Hitler writes in Mein Kampf (James Murphy translation, page 134):
“All this was inspired by the principle – which is quite true in itself – that in the big lie
there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses
of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their
emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive
simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie
than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little
matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would
never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would
not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth
so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be
brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will
continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly
impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed
down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all
who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too
well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes.”
And, I hate to say it, Hitler was absolutely right. But here he is talking about the Jews, accusing
them of using “The Big Lie” (herein from now on called “TBL”), which accusation in itself is almost
always part of the usage of TBL.
People who use TBL to promote a viewpoint ALWAYS at some point will point to their
enemies and accuse them of using it. That’s part of the TBL game plan. In this country in
this decade we have seen TBL rise to a fine art by right wing talk show hosts and TV (particularly
Faux, er, Fox News) pundits. The rules are simple:
1) Repeat the lie as often as is possible.
2) Repeat the lie as loud as possible.
3) Get others who believe the lie to repeat it loudly and often.
4) Accuse your enemies of using “The Big Lie.”
So it was with Hitler’s anti-Semitic rhetoric during WW II, and so it has been with the
conservative rage against liberals over the past couple of decades. Conservatives learned
this technique from fundagelical ministers, who have used the technique for years to
spread the gospel. Nowadays those same ministers and a plethora of right wing pundits
and radio talk show hosts are also (unwittingly in the case of the later, on purpose in the
case of the former) using TBL to spread the lie that the United States was founded by
Christians (a half-truth – many of the founding fathers were Christian, but NOT the
fundagelical kind (what I call “fundagelical” has only existed since around the turn of
the last century.), and was intended to be a theocratic republic, and not the liberal
democracy it is in fact. In this worldview (and the part they don’t tell us) is that
only Christians (and they mean fundy Christians, not reasonable people like Catholics
and Episcopalians and other traditional Christians) are true citizens of the United States
and only Christians are covered by the Bill of Rights.
Anyroad, I have come to expect the use of TBL by Republicans, fundy-Christians, Nazi’s
and White Supremacists. It shocks and disappoints me when I see Pagans resort to it.
For several years, my Druidic Order (Order of the Mithril Star (OMS)) was a proud
participant in a bigger group, the Reformed Druids of North America (RDNA). We
were very proud of our affiliation, always putting the name of the reform above our own;
always keeping our self identity as part of the greater group. We were accepted at first,
because, despite some minor differences (like our promotion of naturism, and Polyamory
and our affection for Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land (SiaSL), and our adaptation
of some of the principles from that book), we were considered no less quirky than any
other branch of the RDNA. Orders and Groves of the RDNA are autonomous after all, and
even though we were pioneers in that we were doing some things none of the other branches
were doing, we were also promoting the Reform, and gaining for it new members and new Groves.
The RDNA is wholly disorganized. There is no central governing body. There is no guru or head
per se. Individual Orders within the RDNA have heads and somewhat more organized, and OMS
is more so than others in that respect. Basically, this is part of what makes the RDNA special
and unique and a good place to hang out — no government — no authority. Or is there?
With the internet great changes have come about. One of them is that the RDNA now has
a central meeting place, a Yahoo group called RDNAtalk. For several years, OMS members
have participated in this group, and shared with it much of what we were doing to promote
the Reform. Then we left. That is where “The Big Lie” came into play.
Keep in mind that the RDNA itself is known to have about 4,000 members. Of those, about
175 (.04%) participate in RDNAtalk. Now, about 20 members of RDNAtalk are part of
a splinter group (a schism in fact, according to the A Reformed Druid Anthology (ARDA),
called New Reformed Druids of North America (NRDNA). These folks are a lot more dogmatic
in their approach to how Reformed Druid groups should run, and thus the schism. These folks
are also the more active members of the RDNAtalk group (and, not really relevant – most are
located in California).
OMS has a large, extensive website, and one member of RDNAtalk objected to it, and especially
our use of the RDNA logo and name. This was because she said she would be embarrassed if
any of her family saw it, and associated her with us. We after all, promote naturism (people
who take their clothes off outside of the bedroom are just disgusting exhibitionist perverts
after all), and Polyamory (just an excuse for “swinging” and orgies.Now, the fact that you
find mention of those things (but not any kind of hard-core promotion) on the website I
guess is enough to paint the entire 4,000 member Reform as a group of perverts.
Anyway, it began with that one objection. Then a few others (six total, out of 175) chimed
in, but not about those things (oh no, because a majority of Pagans embrace one
or more of those lifestyles anyway), but about our “differences:” we added a tenet to the
two tenets of the Reform (but no where is it said we couldn’t); we use water in our rites
instead of whiskey (again, no where does it say we can’t, and many other RDNA Groves
do likewise due to former alcoholic members being amongst them); we have a “sacred book”
(yes, we consider SiaSL a kind of “sacred writ” but those quotes around those words mean
we really don’t (what high school English course did these folks fail anyway?) Quotes used in
that way always imply sarcasm or facetiousness). A handful of other things were added to list,
but none of the ways we were the same were mentioned. Nor was the fact that we openly promoted
the Reform (for example, we began a Druidcraft 202 class, essentially taking the self-study course
on the ARDA and adapting it to an online class) and were trying to support the RDNA mattered.
Lastly, how we came to join the RDNA came into question: After much study and research, we
decided to join the RDNA as a group, just like anyone else does it: by proclaiming we were RDNA!
Again, no where in the ARDA does it say that can’t be done. To our enemies though, it became
obvious that we did so for some (still unknown) unscrupulous reason.
And so evolved two ” Big Lies” : “They’re not like us at all!” and,
“* They’re trying to speak for the RDNA.”
Over about an eight week period, these got repeated over and over, and louder and louder, (without
anythingto back it up, and without any consideration as to how we were “like” RDNA). We were
painted with a broad brush. We were “The Borg”, attempting to assimulate the entire Reformed +
Druid movement. If that were true, we certainly would never have backed down, but finally we couldn’t
bear it any more (and the importance of it all was escaping us (we’rejust not that serious). The
Arch-Druid of (the Mother Grove) OMS, Ceridwen Seren-Ddaear, after consultation with the
OMS Mother Grove, proclaimed a formal schism from the RDNA. We are still, adamantly, a part of the
Reformed Druid movement, but rather than part of the main body of the Reform, we are now a
separate component — An autonomous collective of Reformed Druidry.
So a handful of people (6) out of 4,000, were essentially able to kick out an entire group, because
they disagreed with that groups moral code. An examination of who these 6 were though is revelatory
of just how ugly TBL can be. For these six were not even members of RDNA! They were members
of the schismatic NRDNA! They were doing EXACTLY what they had been accusing us of doing:
*they were speaking for the RDNA! They were “protecting” (remember what I said about
those quotes) a group they had schismed from themselves! Further, most of the six were middle
aged women with poor self esteem and even poorer body image, who hadn’t had sex in years! At
least one was even on record as saying that she didn’t like sex! So, that’s what it was really all
about: sex and nudity (or rather, other’s enjoyment of sex and nudity).
Oddly, that is what fundagelical Xtians seem to object to the most as well:
sex and nudity. Makes one wonder, don’t it? I mean, why bother with
Paganism at all, when you seem to like the fundy-Xtian lifestyle so much?