September 5, 2012

#1 Enemy Of Business As Usual: The Truth

People are more likely to fall for a big lie than a small one

Nazi Germany seems to have unwittingly wrote the template for all consumerism propaganda of the past 50 years. The lessons they taught were that 1) The masses are more likely to fall for a big lie than a small one, and 2) Repeat the big lies ad nauseum, and people will eventually believe them.

The lies of consumerism have been appropriately big, and they have been repeated to the point that most of us are brainwashed. But inconvenient truths are starting to leak in around the edges in recent years.

The Big Lies

The following is a selection of Big Lie Propaganda that has been perpetuated by the purveyors of business as usual.

  • unchecked global consumerism is sustainable
  • if some is good, more is better
  • buying our goods and services will make you happy
  • nature has no value other than as assets that we are obligated to turn into a source of profit
  • we should support the continual increase of personal wealth regardless of the consequences
  • humans are greedy by nature, and acquisitiveness is good
  • the person with the most stuff is the most successful
  • everything is fine, keep shopping

But even the best big lies, whether told by the Nazis or by the consumer capitalists, can only be maintained until people start to feel the effects of the fibs. Then the truth starts to niggle at the back of our brains.

So how then, do you keep people from realizing the truth, and thus perpetuate business as usual?

Maintaining lies, the propagandist would advise, is dependent on sticking it to the defenders of truth, and subverting the truth by any means. Germany's propaganda minister during the second world war showed he knew as much when he said, "the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy.”

That is why you won't find the truth about consumerism being taught in schools. You won't find these truths published in the mainstream media. And you won't hear too many people speaking truths that endanger their belief in the comfortable, familiar big lies. And yet, there is that niggling that tells us that something is not quite right.

The truth is dangerous. It is messy, and causes change. It is not profitable.

But the truth is the only thing that will set us free. Let us be honest with ourselves, and each other. When we speak and live the truth, the lies that are leading us to our doom will shrivel up and blow away.

The truth is the greatest enemy of business as usual.

“In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.”  - Czesław Miłosz


  1. Anonymous9/05/2012

    I've been wondering lately how so many can not see they are being led into a false and dangerous place. The truth will certainly set us free.

    1. I wonder, also, but then I think - 1) our parents train us as good consumers, 2) hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on advertising and marketing every year, and 3) social pressure to conform and consume is all-pervasive.

      It is amazing anyone ever gets out alive. I consider those of us that have liberated ourselves from the "false and dangerous place" as very fortunate.

  2. e.a.f.9/05/2012

    consumerism was based on countries having a middle class with disposable income. That has changed. People are finding it harder & harder to meet the basics so there is little to no money for the extras. We may see a decline in consumerism simply because people are maxed out on their credit & have no more money left.

    It might not be good for people but the enviornment might get a break.

  3. It seems that the consumer burnout that is happening in North America and Europe is being counterbalanced by the newly-middle-class populations in the BRIC countries and other nations that are industrializing.

    The environment could use a break. To help in this regard, we can spread the message of what consumerism has done here so that newly consumeristic countries can avoid our mistakes. There may be comfort there, but there are also massive sacrifices to be made, and in the end it is hardly worthwhile.


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