The Big Lie Theory and Human Behaviour

The Big Lie Theory and Human Behaviour

Sandhya Sutodia ( and Shiferaw A. (
Aug. 2014

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

                                                                                                Joseph Goebbels

The big lie theory or commonly known as Goebbels’ principle states that if one wrong is reverberated many a times then people will accept that wrong as right. Joseph Goebbels believed that “the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over”.

If one tells something repeatedly that is utterly false, for example, the sun rises in the south, and there will be a time when a section of people will think it to be true.

In other words, a big lie (German: Große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” Hitler asserted the technique was used by Jews to unfairly blame Germany’s loss in World War I on German Army officer Erich Ludendorff.

Paul Joseph (29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler’s closest associates and most devoted followers, he was known for his zealous orations and deep and virulent anti-Semitism, which led to his strongly supporting the extermination of the Jews when the Nazi leadership developed their “Final Solution”.

In 1926 he was appointed Gauleiter (regional party leader) of Berlin. In this position, he put his propaganda skills to full use, attacking the Social Democratic Party of Germany and Communist Party of Germany and seeking to win over their working class supporters. Goebbels stressed the need for the Nazis to emphasize both a proletarian and national character. By 1928, he had risen in the party ranks to become one of its most prominent members.

Goebbels came to power in 1933 after Hitler was appointed chancellor; within six weeks Hitler arranged his appointment as Propaganda Minister. One of Goebbels’ first acts was to organise the burning of ‘decadent’ books. Under Goebbels’ leadership, the Propaganda Ministry quickly gained and exerted controlling supervision over the news media, arts and information in Germany.

“Goebbels was the propaganda man of Hitler and his principle was successfully used by communists across the world,” feels Aparup Pakhira, assistant professor, School of Law, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India.

Now to answer that how the big lie theory has affected people, Pakhira further explains that subconsciously what we do that is governed by the law of nature. By applying intelligence, human beings either accept or reject such law of nature. What is accepted and inhibited in everyday practice becomes natural law. “The inherent nature of general public is that they are habitually obliged to believe the people those are famous in their respective fields. These people when say something wrong, then first time people can distinguish between wrong and right until or unless they apply their own mind. But subconsciously they accept the wrong. Until or unless the application of mind can overcome the sub consciousness, people will not believe the wrong,” he said.

“But listening many times will make such an effect that people will fail to apply their mind and ‘law of nature’ will take its own course and will start to believe the wrong,” he said.

How long a person can apply his mind and will not accept the wrong that depends on the personality of an individual. It is needless to say more illiteracy will lead to less personality. Personality also depends on different traits and that is the subject matter of sociologists.

Now-a-days media is also applying this policy. Inferences can be drawn with the last parliamentary election in India. Media was so biased towards one side that induced the people.

To answer if there any government which is still applying the big lie theory to abuse human rights, Ram Das, a political analyst said: :The Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee, a state in the eastern region of the country India, knew of all evil activities of Saradha Chit fund scam. She was warned of these even before she became the CM. Some even urged upon her to ban all Money Market Companies. She did nothing even after becoming CM. When Saradha case exploded, she lied that she came to know of that company only on April 15, 20 13. This is now proved a BIG LIE. She had awarded IRCTC Contract to a Saradha entity as a Railway Minister and for that held a meeting with Sudipta Sen in Guest House in Darjeeling. This has ruined the image of TMC who used the chit fund company as a milching cow at the cost of millions of poor people who deposited their hard earned money in this company. Mamata may get votes from rural areas where she is still regarded as a Didi but her soiled image shall certainly hurt TMC in the next elections in KMC and State. LIES DO NOT WORK in the days of info technology.”

Many believe that a political leader’s image is built on his/her vision and the person is judged on whether he/she is able to build a team to deliver on that vision. Consequently, the outer image is also relevant.

May be Mamata Banerjee always cladded in white saree that often does not look that crisp, those rubber flip-flops, and that studied lack of any baubles that typically characterise Indian women….is an image of a fiery protester and a true dedicated politician who is concerned for all. But a small and yet a BIG LIE has forced intellectuals to think and not believe what they hear from West Bengal administration anymore!

While another class of experts feel that State is just one player, the big lie theory seems to be part of every aspect of human life particularly in the country like India where lie is not a serious offence and where judiciary is perpetually busy, the practice is rampant. The only remedy is that the society should be aware. But unfortunately we are not!

Application of Big Lie Theory

George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four refers to the Big Lie theory on several occasions. For example: “The key-word here is black white. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts.” It also mentions a definition of doublethink: “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed….”

Frank Zappa continually referred to “the Big Lie” in his book, The Real Frank Zappa Book. He used it to describe organized religion, government, and the music industry. The song “When the Lie’s So Big” from Zappa’s 1989 album Broadway the Hard Way also dealt with the concept.

In 2002, French journalist Thierry Meyssan wrote a controversial book called 9/11: The Big Lie, which argued that, the 9/11 attacks were the result of a conspiracy by the United States government.

There are lots of big lies being told today in the USA.

Religious nuts say that god hates Faggots; that’s a Big Lie. Nobody has talked to God and asked his opinion. And one verse from the Bronze ages should not be a basis to running a nation.

While Conservatives say liberals are out to get their guns that they’re going to come disarm everyone. That’s a Big Lie! Conservative Leaders only say that as a talking point because they know their followers fear it because guns allow them to scare those who don’t agree with them, to compensate for their small dicks and to make up for their massive inferiority complex.

Conservatives say all homeless people are bums and crack heads. Then they plead for fewer services expecting that this will solve the homeless problem. his is a Big Lie. Not all homeless people are bums! And leaving them to starve will just mean they will break into houses and steal more, and if there’s enough of them not even your gun will matter.

Conservatives say taxes need to be lowered. That is a Big Lie. Conservatives always lower taxes, same way as a Baboon scratches its ass. It’s just their reaction to every situation.

Conservatives say that women belong in the kitchen. That’s a Big Lie, a bunch of sexist pap.

Don’t listen to the Big Lie! Tell the Conservatives and the Religious nuts to blow it out their ass; you’re not going to listen to their lies.