PostHeaderIcon A State Of Deception

In addition to the constant stream of allegations I see on the television, a number of recent personal incidents have convinced me, beyond doubt, that we live in a culture that is mired in deception. (Much of it self-deception but that is another article.)

As a for-instance, just last week, I and one of my daughters, got a letter from a law firm, addressed to “The Family of Xxxxxxx Robinson”, Xxxxxxx being a substitute for the name of my ex wife, and the mother of the daughter in question. The letter went on to explain that Xxxxxxx had been killed in a collision caused by a commercial vehicle; to deeply sympathize with our loss; then went to offer to represent us in the case.

Needless to say, both my daughter and I were at first shocked (having heard nothing of the sort), then we were totally disgusted when we figured that these unethical ambulance chasers had done sloppy research and had contacted members of the wrong family. However, when I called the law firm to complain, not only did they fail to offer any sort of apology, they went on to defend this method of “shotgun relative identification” as a totally ethical business practice. Can they really believe I would use or recommend their firm were such to occur in reality?

I will offer only this one example but I am certain anyone reading this can offer hundreds if not thousands of their own examples – whether driven by evil intent, unethical and uncontrolled greed, sloppy business practices or simple lack of concern for the feelings and well being of their fellow humans.

Our political “leaders”, of both parties, regularly stand before us and make statements that they know to be deceptive – and, often, outright lies. And they know that most of us, excepting only the most poorly informed, know that we are being methodically deceived. Why don’t these politicians care?

Otherwise presumably honest product manufacturers make deceptive claims on product labels – my favorite being the manipulation of “serving size” and mathematical rounding such that they can claim that foods containing fat are “fat free”, that foods containing sugar are “sugar free”. Most of us know better. Why don’t these manufacturers care?

Everyday citizens loudly proclaim beliefs, affiliations and accomplishments that they do not have simply to gain some phoney sense of respect from others. Why don’t we care?

Why do so many of us continue to do this, even when there is no high office or increased sales at risk? In other words, why do we feel the need to deceive, even when there is no logical need for it?

I fear the answers are that deception so pervades our culture that it now seems normal. If so, what a tragedy for us all!

Are we that unsure or uncomfortable with what we think of ourselves – or with what we perceive others think of us? In addition, can’t we realize that most of the deception we practice is easily seen through by the very people we seek to persuade?

Why can’t we open our eyes, and our minds, and see the extent to which this cheapens our institutions, our culture, and, of course, our individual selves?

For your own sakes, can’t we each simply be what we are? If any of us are truly not satisfied with who and what we are, then improve! If you are satisfied with who and what you are, how can it matter what others think?

Did it ever occur to you that you might well garner more respect and admiration by openly and un-apologetically being who and what you are rather that constantly practicing this transparent deception that all but the block heads see through like glass?

Part of my conclusion is that this is part and parcel of a national attempt to evade reality. And, I will venture to speculate that this goes a long way toward explaining such things as recent mass killings, especially those involving innocent children. When one has rejected the real world, what can it matter what one does in the world of unreality?

Can it be that we simply cannot face the real world that WE have created? I refer, of course, to a real world where values have no value, where our once noble government has become a tyrant, where levels of national indebtedness surpass our comprehension, and where, seemingly, nobody can be trusted?

Think about it!

Troy L Robinson

13 Responses to “A State Of Deception”

  • Larry Andrew says:

    Troy….I have a doctorate in psychology and have often considered this issue. While it may be hard to accept, it is clear to me from my experience and study that the hard truth of the competitive marketplace is the primary culprit. combine the efforts of corporations and politicians to sell products as well as themselves with the vast use of communications alternatives has caused a continuing upward spiral of such sales efforts in pursuit of the dollar. All seem to be reaching for the one little modifier that could give them an edge.

    In the food area, corporations are constantly opposing labelling requirements that would provide consumers with full disclosure of ingredients. The whole “pink slime” hamburger debacle is the best example in recent times but there are currently less visible efforts underway by corporate lobbying groups to fight labelling requirements.

    The legal profession is a good example having modified their ethical controls to open up marketing options.

    As business and professional groups loosen their ethical principles for business reasons, their members will push the new limits, if there are any, as far as possible. When that happens, people look to government to control the abuse which expands regulatory efforts that we tend to oppose.

    In my view, openness and attention to abuse thru media dissemination is the best control. Again, the “pink slime” hamburger issue is a good example of that. Once people knew it was in the hamburger and had a choice, they quite buying and caused the closure of several “pink slime” plants. the media outlet that exposed the practice is now being sued by the company involved for doing so.

    Combine openness in information, communication of abuse or bad practices along with Caveat Emptor is about the best we can do.

    • Troy says:

      Larry,
      I think it unfair to place the blame on commerce — or even government. The sad fact is that our present culture practices and tolerates deception from individual to institution and everything in between. If the culture did not willingly tolerate it, businesses people who deceive to sell products would soon be replaced by those who do not. Likewise with politicians.

      It is sure that we live in a very competitive marketplace but honesty and integrity are as much a part of customer appeal and customer choice as gimmicks and deception. Except, that is, for those who are too uninformed to have a clue. For them, there is no hope and their numbers are growing.

      Thanks for responding,
      Troy

  • Chris says:

    I think anonymity breeds comfort in dishonesty. I can tell you that I’m the ceo of Microsoft right here and now. You have no way of proving I’m not and I have no investment in not being proved a liar. In those immortal words “what difference does it make?”

    We are free to lie with impunity when we don’t have to look another straight in the eye while doing it. Without that returned look of skepticism there is no accountability. Businesses and politicians can lie into the lens of a camera without the discomfort of a watchful eye scrutinizing what they say. This is most evident with their recent aversion to “town hall meetings” where they are actually held under scrutiny.

    The age of “communication” has allowed the few to reach millions. It has also allowed them a one sided conversation devoid of dissent or substance save their own interests.

    • Troy says:

      Chris,
      You are most certainly correct as regards internet-originated deception. For my part, I think each computer should have a digital signature such that there is no anonymity on the internet.

      I have never had respect for those who hide bad behavior behind a mask of anonymity — that is why I attach my real name to all my blogs.

      Thanks for responding,
      Troy

  • Larry Andrew says:

    Chris…agree totally….I billed myself in my response to Troy as possessing a Doctorate in Pyschology to boost my argument amongst those who might be impressed that such a degree provides special weight for my argument.

    I doubt if my lie impressed anyone here but it would most people in a larger forum who would likely have given my post and their response a bit more weight when considered with others who might have less bonafides rather than take the time to check. It just takes a little lie to produce a bit more support for an idea or to generate a few more customers than the other guy.

    • Chris says:

      Good one Larry. I don’t know you well enough to know any better but I will tell you that for a moment your little “lie” actually caused me to read your response with more skepticism than credence. That’s just me and past experience with those who claim to know the minds of others but spend little time examining their own. 🙂

      You mentioned the “pink slime” thing in the past. It’s funny because when I heard a fast food advertisement claiming “100% all beef patties” it always conjured a vision of a huge meat grinder that they just passed a whole cow through. Head hoof and hide. Seems I was closer to right than I ever knew.

      Troy,
      I think it extends even beyond the internet. When you watch an ad on tv you have no ability to question the assertions being made and the advertiser is under no pressure to prove them. It’s only after you purchase the product that your able to make an assessment and recourse is limited if your dissatisfied. Prior to mass communication a producer would have to stand before you face to face and tell you why the product was good, answer your questions, and possibly even sample or demonstrate the product. Now all they have to do is create the most colorful eye catching attention grabbing 30 second spot on tv. The guy with the skimpiest bikini clad girl or the catchiest tune or slogan gets the sale. At the root the process is ripe for dishonesty. The infomercials for supplements and cures come to mind. Those guys are hucksters of the worst kind because they prey on the most vulnerable weakness of everyone with promises of impossible results.

      • Troy says:

        All that both of you say is true to some degree. However, the point I am trying to make is that deception pervades our culture. If we as individuals were not also practitioners, I suspect that we would not so readily ignore the practice in others such as businesses and governments.

        I also submit that deception among individuals has become so pervasive that many of us, especially the young, actually begin to believe our “fantasy life” is more real than the real thing, thus my linking the problem to mass killings and the like.

        Add to this the fact that so many among us spend hours immersed in the fantasy world of alternate reality “games” and it becomes more understandable that increasing numbers of us escape a reality in which we feel helpless by living in a world of fantasy driven by self-deception in which we can pretend to be the controllers.

        It should be no surprise that unethical people, such as the Obamanation and his butt kissers, would leverage this situation for their own ends. Likewise with people trying to sell us useless products.

        Therefore, I dispute the idea that we individuals are the victims of an evil world when, IMHO, we are the source of the problem. When one has learned how to believe his/her own internal BS, how much easier to believe that coming from others? Especially when it sounds so much like what we would rather hear than what we would know to be the truth, would we but face the real world.

        Troy

    • Troy says:

      Sorry Larry but I have known too many people who possess advanced degrees yet seem to know nothing worthwhile, particularly as pertains to reality.

      Troy

  • Larry Andrew says:

    Troy…I, of course, had no expectation that you or anyone on this forum would care whether or not I had a doctorate in the discussion. I was making the point that the way I responded with that inclusion is comparable to how companies, lawyers, individuals in the blogosphere try to grab just a few more customers than the other guy. There is big money in doing it successfully whether it is vitamin supplements, diet systems, lawyers or whomever is involved in commerce these days. Very few limits and ethical standards are disappearing. Without some limits, individuals are guided by greed, plain and simple.

    • Troy says:

      Indeed it often seems people are greedy for things they actually don’t really want. I guess it is a manner of keeping score rather than satisfying some actual need or want. I don’t know for sure where this society is going but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to go there with it.

      Troy

  • Mut says:

    Troy,
    One of the things I am gong to do on my blog is write about who I am voting for in the Governorship, Senate (if applicable), and House races. I am also going to create a dream team for Governors, Senators, and House Members across all states to be published in my book (based on my blog – it’ll be an appendix).

    My challenge for you is to do the same. I want to know where you fall on the spectrum exactly. I know for a fact that there will probably be some Democrats you take to be on your “dream team,” though very few and far between. I want to know why you’d choose those particular Democrats and why.

    In short, I’d like to see which of these candidate embody the very views you espouse above, and why you think they do.

    …of course, doing every state is optional, but I’m still interested in your top 10 and why.

    Mut

    • Troy says:

      Mut,
      I haven’t thought much about a dream team because, given my politics, it would be more of a fantasy team.

      However, I offer the following comments, although they are nowise completely well thought out. Note that I will rate each choice with a “confidence factor (CF)”, that being my confidence in my own judgement, where 0 is none whatever and 10 is complete confidence:

      For Texas Governor: Gregg Abbott. CF – 7. (No viable Libertarian is running and the Democrat candidate is a political disgrace, leaving Abbott the only choice.)

      For Texas District 25 Representative: Roger Williams. CF – 7. (No viable Libertarian is running.)

      Now, looking forward to 2016 on a national scale:

      For President: Gary Johnson. CF – 10. (He has leadership experience in both the private and public arenas and has an excellent track record in trying to contain government expansion.)

      For Vice President: Rand Paul. CF – 8. (Serving as VP would give him some much needed international perspective. Note that his extreme stand on abortion (anti) does turn me off a bit.)

      For appointed positions:

      For Attorney General: Trey Gowdy. CF – 10 (It would sure be nice to have our national laws enforced again.)

      For Secretary of Defense: General Stanley McChrystal. CF – 9. (I like non-political generals.)

      For FED Chairman: Ron Paul. CF – 10. (I expect he would begin with that full audit he has urged for so long. After such audit, I have little doubt that his next task would be to oversee the FED’s shutdown.)

      I have no current suggestions for other departments including Treasury and State. In my fantasy world, the departments of Energy, Agriculture, Education and Commerce would be eliminated. Some others (perhaps Interior, HUD, etc.) could be consolidated into one department? I would also hope new leadership would begin immediately to divest the government of all its excess land holdings.

      This is the best I can offer without a lot more time and research — but, it should suffice to expose my political leanings.

      Troy

      • Larry says:

        Troy,..late response but I will vote for your fantasy team. In fact, I did vote for Johnson last goround. I really like Rand Paul and you have suggested a way to get him in the mix but limit his role pending more experience. Lately, he seems to be adjusting well. Putting the old man over the Fed is brilliant. I can’t wait…

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