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Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015

Myers:How and why do people believe what is untrue?

A Mind of My Own


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I recently finished reading a couple of books that got me thinking about what people believe and why they support various tenets that others know are false. Think about some of the countries in the world that are unbelievably poor. Now I’m not talking about poor as represented in this country, but rather poor where people are truly starving, have either no housing or a hovel, and no hope of it ever improving. Many countries in Africa fit that description; areas in China also fit the bill and a good portion of North Korea. Historically, we can add almost every country except the elite in those countries who always lived well while the rest of the population survived.

Think about Joseph Stalin, the Soviet tyrant, who murdered tens of millions of his own people and remains a hero in his country. Mao Tse Tung, the Chinese chairman, who also murdered tens of millions of his own people and also remains a hero in his country. Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Song Il, of North Korea were responsible for the starvation of millions and the lack of growth in their country. They remain heroes and almost are looked upon as gods. Each of these people forced a government controlled economy on their countries and the results were disastrous. China and Russia have eased the central control, but maintain enough that it can grow. North Korea continues to be backward in everything except military and nuclear development.

When North Vietnam defeated the South, many of those who could leave did so because they had tasted what it was like to be the ownership of your labor and its rewards. When Fidel Castro took charge of Cuba, many of the people left after they realized that they no longer could enjoy freedom. The exoduses have declined probably because fewer people know the difference from what it is and what was.

These countries and many others that lack freedom portray the United States as a terrible country that has wrecked havoc upon peace loving countries throughout the world and has robbed smaller countries of their resources and wealth. I accept that for what it is — total propaganda. What amazes me is that the United Nations Building in New York has representatives and workers from all over the world. Granted that the key people live very well in their own countries, but what about the lower employed workers? After being told all the lies about the United States and its people what must they think after being here for a while? How can they continue to believe what they had been told when their eyes tell them something totally different? I know that in some cases these workers have relatives who remain in the native country and they are afraid of what will happen to them if they defect to this country.

I then thought about this country and some of the lies that are accepted by a large number of our citizens. Why do so many believe that when tax rates are reduced that tax revenues are also reduced? The facts show that revenues increase and that occurs all over the world when it is implemented. In my lifetime it happened under presidents Kennedy, Reagan and G.W. Bush. When expectations are low, performance generally is low for all except the self starters. Yet there are those who believe that demanding high performance will be detrimental to the self confidence of young people. That can be adjusted in a heartbeat by placing a positive leader in charge and results soar. Why do some coaches get superior results? They expect them and demand them.

When any type of behavior is rewarded, one can expect to get more of it. The increase in the number of food stamp recipients and the fact that we now have more than 90 million people not working proves that point. Yet our government continues to advertise and promote programs and then preaches that it wants to reduce the numbers. We are told that a certain percentage of our people are poor and that number has risen, but poor by what definition? I suspect many of the lies that are believed by some people because they profit from those lies either by being elected or being the recipients of the government largesse.

In other countries, many of the lies are accepted because of fear or ignorance. Similarly, I suspect the lies in this country also are believed because of ignorance and benefiting from the government in one way or another. We can deal with both of these, but it will take a lot of effort.

Donald Myers is a retired Marine Colonel and regular contributor to Hernando Today. He can be reached at

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