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False promises to win elections

Filed under: Politics,Special Comments |

Socialist Party leader Fred M’membe writes:

One thing wrong with false promises, lying in our politics is that it can be manipulative.

Understanding why false promises, lying in our politics can be a form of manipulation involves understanding how a politician promising the electorate something can give them a reason to believe it, and understanding this requires seeing both how promising things can invite trust and how trust can be a reason to believe a politician and vote for them.

And we know that the more a politician makes false promises, lies, the easier it gets, and the more likely they will do it again. But the dangerous thing about false promises, lying is people don’t understand how the act changes us. Some psychologists even consider false promises, lying a developmental milestone, like crawling and walking, because it requires sophisticated planning, attention and the ability to see a situation from someone else’s perspective to effectively manipulate them.

But for some politicians, false promises, lying get limited as they develop a sense of morality and the ability to self-regulate. Politicians are less likely to make false promises, lie when they have moral reminders or when they think they are being closely and critically watched. We as a society need to understand that when we don’t punish politicians promising us heaven when they know very well they can’t even deliver purgatory, we increase the probability they will make false promises, lie again.

When politicians faced no consequences for dishonesty, their falsehoods tended to get even more sensational. If we give politicians multiple opportunities to lie for their own benefit they start with little lies and get bigger and bigger over time. They would rather win elections with false promises, lies than lose with their truth. Fred M’membe


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