Social Psychology

The Truth is Out There: Saving our Ultrasociety from the Lying Bastards

If you’re like me, and I realize that, as my old dearly departed mother would so frequently remind me, no one is like me, but if you are like me, you’ve been alarmed by the severity of lying, deception, prevarication that has been going on in our society.

All of the Lies

When a liar so pathological that he bests Donald J. Trump at his own game is elected to Congress, you know you’re in trouble. George Santos doesn’t even bother to claim he’s not lying. He just shrugs and wonders why everyone is making such a big deal out of it.

When a news outlet knowingly lies about election results and directly participates in an insurrection against the government, you know you’re in trouble. What’s incredible here is that Rupert Murdoch is taking the stand and saying, Yeah, we knew we were lying. After the insurrection, I said, Ha ha, to them. What more could I do?

When a select committee of the House is openly lying about “evidence” that it has collected but cannot produce, you know you’re in trouble. The committee claims that it has heard from dozens of “whistleblowers” from the DoJ about how they were pressured into making politicized investigations, when reality says they have three disgruntled MAGA Republican ex-FBI officials who mishandled secure documents.

Truth as the Basis for Functionality

What does truth have to do with a functional fit society?

We live in an ultrasociety. An ultrasociety has a large dense population that has a complex division of labor and relies on a convoluted, but cooperative, interaction of people to coordinate its activities. ultrasociality is a complex society that is characterized by a large dense population, a complicated division of labor, and convoluted, cooperative, coordinated activities.

This means that we have to rely on each other to honestly do all of the things. Little things like drive competently and big things like build buildings that will actually stand up and withstand severe weather. When you drive a car, believe it or not, realize it or not, you are saying, I have achieved the minimum standard of being able to do so safely. I will not likely harm others as I drive. If you lie about your competency in driving, you’re likely to harm others, but we all expect you to drive competently and give you the benefit of the doubt.

When you build a building of any size, you need dozens if not hundreds of people to actually do the building. They have a multitude of skills and abilities. We expect them all to do their jobs competently so that the building is structurally sound and functions as it should. Once it’s built, it needs to be maintained. If it isn’t built or maintained correctly, then we are likely to have a big big problem on our hands a la the Champlain South Condo disaster.

Truth and Ultrasociety

In smaller societies like those we evolved in, we could rely on knowing the competencies of those around us. We knew who would do a good job with which task. We knew who was reliable and who wasn’t. But, when you have strangers coming to your house to fix your appliances, install your telecommunications devices, or deliver your packages, you have to rely on many many strangers to keep you safe from the potential harms that could befall you should anyone of them be criminally negligent or just plain criminal.

It used to be shame, embarrassment, guilt, and the need for an honest reputation would keep us all telling more or less the truth, abiding by the rules and laws, and working towards the common good. Now that lying and self-serving are the norms, we are less inclined to be inhibited by frivolous things like shame and gossip.

By eroding the trust we can have in one another, we are making it impossible to live as a vast complex society. With eight billion of us on the planet, we don’t exactly have a choice but to live in an ultrasociety. All eroding trust means is that our society will change, probably for the worse… at least the worse for the average citizen. It won’t be worse for the oligarchs and their lackeys, though, and that’s the problem.

The self-serving dark tetrad personality disorders among us smell blood in the water and figure it is time to grab with both hands. They have risen to the top and are producing a twisted self-serving self-fulfilling prophecy: You can’t trust politicians, reporters, the courts, your neighbors, whoever because everyone lies, including me, but I’m on your side so it’s okay. And by on your side, they mean condemning you to live in Cancer Alley, drinking Flint water, paying for Texas utilities, and dying quickly and quietly when you can no longer provide more than you cost all so they can get a bit richer.

Luckily, there does seem to be a backlash against our prevaricating comrades. The Republicans in office and those running for office seem to be betting that they can confuse the issues and use racist dog whistles to fear monger their way back into majorities in Congress and the Presidency. While we’ve held the line — just barely — in the last three elections, there is no guarantee that it will continue in 2024.

The truth is out there. We just have to demand that everyone live by it.

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Image Attribution

The Truth is Still Out There by Rooners72TP is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

10 replies »

  1. And, the demand has to be backed up by whenever legally possible exacting a sufficient price for lying. In that, “sufficient” means enough to change the incentive calculation by the next actor who or which sees some advantage or (as in the case of FOX) necessity in lying. We can, in a moment of optimistic mood, hope that the outcome of Dominion v. FOX will supply a persuasive example for some.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!

      I have high hopes that the judgement will go against Fox and be more than a token amount in damages. Several election deniers who were foolish enough to bring court case have been sanctioned, but (a) not enough of them and (b) not nearly severely enough.If Fox News looses and Alex Jones is bankrupted, then maybe we’ll see this ship start to get righted.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Because, these liars can, draw a crowd, and because the uneducated, too brainwashed are, believing, that’s why these people are still, on the news media, trying to, sway the masses, to have those who still need someone to lead them, even if it’s, into, oblivion, and, those, biased news networks, only feed to, the bad lies, and there’s just, no stopping those dho want to keep on, following the “leader”, down to, hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Taurus!

      Unfortunately it isn’t just biased news networks or perhaps it is that all US news networks are biased towards making a profit and a competitive presidential race helps guarantee an audience, it is all of the news outlets not effectively exposing the lies. Trump gets a pass when news networks edit his speeches to make them sound more coherent than they actually are. News networks give DeSantis and other politicians a pass when they don’t aggressively provide context for their claims of success like simply reporting Republican claims that they brought infrastructure projects to their communities when they voted against the infrastructure bill. The for-profit news media is one of our biggest problems.



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