18th November 2003 | Draft
Complementary Truth-handling Strategies
Mediating the relationship between the "Last class"
and the "Liar class"
-- / --
This exploration was evoked by the lack of evidence for weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq and the affirmation by Ray
, co-founder of the Veteran
Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
(USA), that "No President has
lied so baldly and so often and so demonstrably" (Independent on
9 November 2003). The leaders of the Coalition of the Willing were complicit
in this approach to truth. The world is now witness to "Liars' Summits"
of the most blatant kind. But, as George Bush himself declared: "I'm sick
and tired of lies and deception"
offering opportunities of subterfuge
that offer hope of survival
|Truth handling strategies
- Conservative values
- Relative wealth (health, education, etc)
- Priority to credibility within peer groups (old boy
networks, secret societies, etc)
- Manipulation of bureaucracy
- Manipulation of political process (electoral promises,
- Exploitation of privileges and perks
- Manipulation of tax system
- Manipulation of legal system (influence on judiciary,
legal harassment, extrajudicial processes)
- Appropriating / Highjacking popular values and symbols
- Power high ground
- "Dirty tricks"
- Cultivation of status and recognition
- Survival values
- Relative poverty (ill-health, lack of education, etc)
- Gullibility (susceptibility to promises, consumer
- Challenged (self-discipline, work ethic, substance
- Disregard for property (graffiti, litter, etc)
- Neediness (begging, victimhood, etc)
- Fraud (benefits, etc)
- Exploitation (wages, taxation, cannon fodder, etc)
- Target (marketing, violence, propaganda, etc)
- Rule-bound ("by the book")
- Occupation of moral high-ground ("evil"
- Guardians of integrity (morality, etc)
- Appeals for (self) sacrifice
- Monopoly of vision of the right future
- Interpreters of truth ("priesthoods", those
- Change for change's sake
- Irresponsibility, recklessness
- Indifference to consequences
- Inconstancy, fecklessness
- Imaginative re-invention
- Medium is the message
- Today's truth is tomorrow's lie -- tomorrow's truth
is today's lie
- Technocratic values
- Socially irresponsible research (weapons, nuclear,
nano, racial intelligence, anthropological pillaging, etc)
- Invasive research (political surveillance, intelligence
- Covert (sneaky) research agenda (tobacco, GM, etc)
- Complicit in distortion of research process ("scientific
whaling", dubious pharmaceutical products, etc)
- Complicit in threat/benefit misrepresentation (star
wars, energy, "research" satellites, nano, etc)
- Sponsored research (predefined results on demand)
- Monopolization of intellectual property
- Politicized research (results on demand, political
- Frauulent research
- Enterprise and entreneurship
- "Business is Business" values
- Exploitative enterprise
- Environmental degradation
- Depletion of natural resources
- Destabilizing smaller enterprises
- Monopolistic agendas
- Transcendental values
- Re-making others in one's own image (proselytism,
- Constraining others "for their own good"
- Hypocrisy ("rice Christians")
- Double standards (clothing the naked, burkha, hajib,
- Exploitative mystification (elders, shamans, voodoo)
- Self-reliant / Grounded values
- Promoting traditional knowledge (TEK)
- Community development
- Non exploitative technology
- Self-reliant innovation / repair
- Participative democracy
- Fragmented remedial initiatives
- Inability to apply apply critical analysis of other
classes to remedy own dynamics
- Non-violent strategies
Complementarity between classes
The classes in the above figure are interrelated in complex ways.
- Opposition: Those classes indicated as opposite in the figure above
have a particular relationship:
- "Liar class" and "Last class": Both are focused
primarily on survival. In effect both lie, but the "Last class"
lies in the event of force majeure, whereas the "Liar class"
lies because it is the force majeure. The former is at a major
disadvantage and seeks to avoid the consequences, whereas the latter has
a major advantage and seeks to exploit it. The former lies to live and
the latter lives to lie. The "Liar class" only tells
the truth to sustain a larger lie, whereas the "Last class"
only lies to sustain a larger truth. This relationship has been extensively
studied in politics down the ages in terms of the exploitation of the
"Last class" by the "Liar class" and
the often desperate and violent struggles of the "Last class"
for freedom and justice -- despite the vested interests of the "Liar
class". The "Liar class" may be readily seen
as a predator preying on the "Last class" as its prime
source of sustenance. The condition of the "Last class"
encourages this relationship because of its dependence on the "Liar
class" for leadership and sense of coherence and order. The "Liar
class" lies to the "Last class" as a prerogative
of power -- "because it can" -- and because of the ease with
which it can evade responsibility for any misrepresentation for which
it is subsequently challenged. Lying is evoked from the "Last
class" as a consequence -- "because it has to" -- in
order to ensure its survival.
- "Righteous class" and "Reframe class": Both
are primarily focused on working with truth. In effect both are dedicated
to vision: the "Righteous class" to the vision inherited
from the past (whether as a sacred text, the law, a military or training
manual), whereas the "Reframe class" derives its essential
dynamics from revisioning the future. The former honours the old "book
of truth", wheraas the latter is dedicated to writing a new "book
of truth". The mutual dependency of these classes is due to the gradual
exhaustion of the apparent validity of the truths promulgated by the "Righteous
class". The "Reframe class" is called upon to
develop "new thinking" and "reform" that the "Righteous
class" can then appropriate to promulgate as the new truth (as
a reformulation of the orginal truth). This is most evident in reformist
thinking in religion, but is equally evident in the case of the military
(who, in the case of the Pentagon, recently called upon Hollywood to enable
them to develop better military scenarios and war games). Of course factions
within the "Righteous class" may be highly resistant
to, and critical of, the new thinking of the "Reframe class"
(as in the case of the Vatican response to "liberation theology"
in Latin America). The "Reframe class" tends to "dance"
and "play" with contrasting visions of its opponenents, whereas
the "Righteous class" is extremely attentive to the struggle
against any opposition, whose role it may even simulate to hone its skills
diabioli, Red Team, etc)
- "Alter class" and "Business class": Both
are concerned with tactical and strategic action in response to imbalance:
the "Business class" is preoccupied with "profit
and loss", whereas the "Alter class" is concerned
with perceived "inequity and injustice". The mutual dependency
here is is evident on the one hand in the highly critical attitude of
the "Alter class" to the "Business class"
as typified by attitudes towards capitalism (over the past century) and
globalization (over the past decade). At the same time, as many have remarked,
it is the "Business class" that keeps the system working
in which the "Alter class" is able to continue its critical
activity. Some fruitful partnerships have resulted from their collaboration.
The "Business class" is also happy to benefit from some
of the radical thinking of the "Alter class" in redesigning
those of its operating structures perceived to be outmoded or inappropriate
(as typified by the use of "Alter class" consultants)
- "Salvation class" and "Research class":
Both are primarily concerned with out-manoeuvering an opponent: for the
"Salvation class" this takes some form of "evil",
whereas for the "Research class" this takes the form
of out-smarting competitors and opponents (whether to ensure primacy of
publication, obtain funding, acquire patents, gain political advantage,
or obtain a Nobel Prize). The complicity between these two classes is
related to their directive involvement in top-down change -- a preoccupation
with an over-arching value framework. For the technocratic "Research
class" this is associated with the identification of technologies
that will reinforce technocratic values and the position of those who
control them -- a world order empowered, enabled and sustained by technology.
It is most evident in high-tech, high-investment undertakings (nuclear
energy, telecommunications technology, etc). For the "Salvation
class" the transcendental values are non-material and associated
with the human spirit, variously understood. But, just as with technocracy,
it is associated with a form of theocracy -- whether explicitly hierarchical
- Proximity (peripheral triangles): Those classes indicated as contiguous
in the figure result in intermediary conditions:
- "Liar class" and "Reframe class": The mutual
dependencies of these classes give rise to an intermediary "Research
class" typified by government- or lobby-funded "think tanks"
that are expected to orient their research on demand to legitimate certain
strategic priorities (weapons, nuclear, etc), threat/benefit misrepresentation
(star wars, energy, "research" satellites, nano, etc), security
(political surveillance, intelligence research, etc), dubious research
(tobacco, GM, etc), distortion of research process ("scientific whaling",
dubious pharmaceutical products, racial intelligence, anthropological
pillaging, etc), and monopolization of intellectual property. It is of
course the "Reframe class" that is most skilled at creatively
reframing the strategic research priorities of the "Liar class"
in order that they appear to be for the highest public good (satellites
for "environmental monitoring", or genetic engineering to "safeguard
babies with birth defects" and "provide food for the hungry").
- "Liar class" and "Righteous class": Here
the mutual dependencies give rise to a "Business class"
that is best understood in terms of "business as usual", irrespective
of any questionable ethical context. Historically this has been most evident
in the complicit association of religions with highly unethical actions
of government -- notably in the case of repressive dictatorships or nationalistic
movements. It is currently more evident in the willingness of key governments
who plead publicly for a reduction in the arms trade but act covertly
to facilitate the sale of arms wherever possible. Analogous situations
apply with respect to human rights and environmental issues. The "Business
class" may even frame its activities in terms of "God is
good for business" -- to associate the values of commercial enterprise
with the highest ethical values.
- "Last class" and "Reframe class": The interaction
between the deprived and underprivileged "Last class"
and the innovative "Reframe class" is evident in the
emergence of an intermediary "Alter class" that seeks
to address the challenges of the "Last class" in new
and more fruitful ways. This is the application of "new thinking"
to empower the challenged. The "Alter class" is however
most challenged in the application of its own practices to empower itself
and to counter its tendency to imitate the dysfunctional dynamics of those
it criticizes or engages in altercation. The creative, innovative -- even
reckless -- quality of the "Reframe class" tends to translate
into a "revolutionary" approach to the challenges of the "Last
class" -- with its own dangers.
- "Last class" and "Righteous class": The interaction
between the "Righteous class", as "those who know"
what action is appropriate, and the "Last class", most
in need of remedial action, leads to the emergence of an intermediary
"Salvation class". This is typified by the action of
so-called "do-gooders" who endeavour to remake the "Last
class" in the image of the "Righteous class"
(caricatured by early efforts to cover nudity in hot climates, to be later
followed by exhibitions of nudity by tourists to those climates). In its
extreme form the concern is the salvation of souls -- at any cost to traditional
cultures or lifestyles (or even to the life of the individual concerned).
- Sub-Hemispheric triangles:
- Research class -- Liar class -- Business class: Defining
an arc of expropriation
- Business class -- Righteous class -- Salvation class:
Defining an arc of directive imposition.
- Salvation class -- Last class -- Alter class: Defining
an arc of concern and empowerment.
- Alter class -- Reframe class -- Research class: Defining
an arc of development.
- Hemispheric triangles:
- Reframe class -- Liar class -- Righteous class
- Liar class -- Righteous class -- Last class
- Righteous class -- Last class -- Alter class
- Liar class -- Reframe class -- Last class
Hegemonic impact of the "Liar class"
This exploration was inspired by the euphemism in the travel industry by which
"first class" is distinguished from "economy class"
-- and the recognition that in terms of truth-handling the former might be better
understood as the "Liar class" and the latter as the "Last
class". Ironically it is those in the "Liar class"
that are most economical -- with the truth.
The beginning of the 21st century, with the aid of the internet, has made the
degree of lying by establishment leaders apparent to a far greater proportion
of the population. It is no wonder that a declared strategy of the Project
for the New American Century (PNAC), in the Rebuilding America's Defenses:
Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century (2000) specifically included:
"Control the new 'international commons' of space and 'cyberspace,'...".
Steps towards this are to be seen in the proposals for the US-dominated UN to
control the internet -- to be discussed at the World Summit of the Information
Society (Geneva, 2003). [more].
The challenge for society is that when the core leadership of the United Nations
is so evidently associated with lying, the question is why should anyone
assume that the influence of such leadership with regard to truth-handling should
not permeate all such institutions in which their standards apply. An interesting
example is the case of the Statistical
Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) whose "mission is to
provide the European Union with a high-quality statistical information service".
In 2003 it is however the subject of a major investigation into long-term fraudulent
financial transactions that enabled three top officials to divert millions of
euros into secret bank accounts [more].
More interesting is the fact that this fraud was discovered by chance. But even
more interesting is the fact that no question is raised as to the possibility
that the statistics produced under such corrupt leadership may themselves have
been fraudulently manipulated in some way -- at the request of interested parties
-- and in exchange for further financial rewards. The focus is on tracking the
fraudulent financial transactions and not on the possible distortions in the
"high-quality" of the information service and their strategic implications
for European policy-making.
This case illustrates the major dilemma for the "Liar class".
How does a member, or representative, of the "Liar class"
prove that he or she is not lying? How can Eurostat prove that its statistics
have not been falsified in some subtle way under such leadership? In the UK,
the Labour government under Tony Blair is faced, after the Iraq WMD disaster,
with the consequences of its long-term policy of "spin". How does
it prove that it is not being economical with the truth in its management of
information? How indeed can it prove, for example, that official statistics
on "unemployment" are not being falsified, if only by selective presentation
Given the long string of broken promises associated with failure to act on
electoral manifesto commitments (UK Freedom of Information Act, etc), and on
formal aid commitments to developing countries (Afghanistan, etc), for example,
why should it be assumed that any declaration by a member of the "Liar
class" should be taken at face value? As suggested in the figure
above, members of the "Liar class" distort the truth at their
convenience, because they have the power to do so.
The irony is that the efforts of the "Liar class" to control
the internet and the media, through which the degree of lying is revealed, have
resulted in ever more invasive measures to obtain the truth about others through
electronic surveillance. But, as the intelligence debacle associated with WMD
revealed, the processing of "intelligence" gained in this way is now
distorted and politicized to an unknowable degree in response to the strategic
needs of members of the "Liar class". As with traditional leaders
surrounded by sycophants, they themselves are now faced with the greatest of
difficulty in determining the truth relating to any situation -- if indeed they
have any need of it.
The obvious response by the "Liar class" -- to any implication
of being economical with the truth -- is denial. As figures of authority they
are able to add to any simple denial an expression of outraged affront that
their honour is being impugned by such "totally unreasonable implications".
Regrettably they are able to use the power of their position to go even further:
- bribery may be used to discourage revelations unwelcome to the "Liar
class" -- whether with govrnments (aid for votes), their representatives,
or potential whistleblowers.
- legal threats may be used, because legal harassment may be sufficient
to discourage those with lesser means. Members of the "Liar class"
are therefore able to use the system that is designed to ensure justice in
order to protect their degree of perfidy. It is no accident that they have
even ensured that key members of their class are immune to legal prosecution
-- whatever the facts. This has been only too evident in the case of members
of the legislature -- and those holding the highest office -- most notably
in democratic countries of western Europe.
- physical threats to life and property may be used, especially now
that political assassination has acquired new official legitimacy and the
forces required to implement it are available. The extent of "dirty tricks"
practices by corporations has been widely documented -- notably including
the "accidents" to which those seeking to expose their lies are
- career threats may readily be used to ensure that the individual
is assured of no further advancement in his or her profession, or may be excluded
from any such employment
- cover-up is widely used by tampering with evidence or witnesses so
that no case may be effectively presented
- manipulation of time and space can be achieved to undermine due process.
Scheduling can be delayed as in the case of publication of reports of "public
inquiries" (eg the Hutton Report relating to WMD in the UK) or in the
case of legal proceedings involving prominent persons (as with the pedophile/murder
trial in Belgium). Space can be manipulated as with the policy to distance
protesting demonstrators from the White House, whilst allowing demonstration
of support in its proximity (as with the policy of distancing civil society
venues far from parallel UN Conference venues).
- revisionism is a procedure used to "clean-up" the historical
record, whether by suppression of information or the investment in presentations
of alternative versions of the truth. It may include documented demonstrations
that it was members of the "Liar class" that were the originators
of some much appreciated social innovation, denying the often sacrificial
role of others when its value was questioned
- public relations in the form of news management and spin is used
to forcefully present alternative images so that any questions relating to
past truthfulness is quickly forgotten. In fact public relations has become
the acceptable vehicle through which the "Liar class" disguises
the blatancy of its operations.
But, perhaps much more regrettable than any of the above, is the facility with
which members of the "Liar class" collect, appropriate and
celebrate symbols of righteousness, honour and moral integrity as a cosmetic
concealment for their continuing propensity to lie. This process -- enhanced
in every way by public relations -- may be seen in operation in:
- deception: A lie is necessarily explicit. But deception is a much
broader practice that can include all kinds of deliberately misleading omissions,
suggestions, and nonverbal implications. Although natural to human relationships,
as a means of gaining advantage, members of the "Liar class"
transform it into an art form that undermines human relationships.
- human rights: Members of the "Liar class" are fulsome
in their praise of "human rights", making every effort to be associated
with heroic symbols of response to injustice. It might even be asked whether
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was put in place, with the
dedicated support of the "Liar class", in order to provide
a decorous cover for its activity -- for all time. The Declaration provides
a menu of criteria behind any of which the activities of the "Liar
class" can be concealed.
- awards: Members of the "Liar class" need to use
a full array of awards and prizes to give recognition to the values with which
they need to be associated in order to conceal their degree of dissociation
from such values. The cynicism with which members of the "Liar class"
associate themselves with awards, and fail to recognize merit in the wider
population, introduces a degree of cynicism that undermines the values of
society that such awards are designed to honour.
- degraded fashion: In order to be perceived as leaders, members of
the "Liar class" are under considerable pressure to associate
themselves with innovations in design and taste in decor, clothing, cosmetics,
art, lifestyle, and entertainment. Since others then follow their leadership
the continuing pressure for further innovation results in a greater and greater
degree of devaluation of the simpler qualities of life to which members of
the "Liar class" attach little significance. Others are therefore
pulled by tastes, acclaimed as superior, to undermine their relationship to
qualities that are more accessible to them -- in favour of a pace of changing
fashion tastes to which they are challenged to rise and maintain.
- corruption of the legal system: If ever members of the "Liar
class" fail to manoeuver successfully and are embroiled in legal
proceedings against them, it becomes quickly apparent that -- even if convicted
-- somehow their sentences are reversed on appeal, or they are given suspended
sentences, or subsequently their sentences are drastically shortened. This
recognition that the system of justice favours the "Liar class"
is one which significantly influences the perception of other classes and
completely undermines confidence in the legal system. All recognize that it
is foolish to seek redress against the "establishment" by legal
- spurious argument: Through their use of specious and spurious arguments
-- presented with appropriate gravitas, brio or charisma -- members of the
"Liar class" accustom the wider population to a degraded
form of dialogue
Suspect framings by the "Liar class"
|Questionable framings of truth
||Military / Government
|Reinforce power base
Enlarge military appropriations
||Reinforce power base
||Medical benefits of research
||Food benefits of genetically modified
||Food industry and science
||Energy benefits of research
||Enlarge laboratory budgets
||Pharmaceutical / Biotech industry
||Civil / Human rights
||Indigenous peoples (third world)
||Free trade areas
|Morals / Ethics
||Religions and government
||Religions and government
||Religion and politicians
||Design / Marketing industry
Recognition / Prizes
Salary differentials (CEOs)
||Freedom of information
The above schema does indeed provide a useful way of reviewing the activities
of the different classes and their relationship -- as widely documented in the
media and via the internet. It is psychologically convenient and reassuring
to identify with the positive attributes of one class -- and to recognize the
problematic attributes of other classes with which one has to deal.
But, perhaps more interesting, is the value of the schema with respect to one's
personal involvement in all the classes -- to whatever degree:
- "Liar class": Who does not lie or engage in deception in
some measure -- if only in games of skill and bluff? Survival in a competitive
environment currently requires a degree of deception.
- "Last class": Most would consider themselves to be deprived
in some way. Indeed it has been argued that the richest are those who feel
most deprived, even to the point of "starvation" -- but at a psychological
level at which "hunger" may be difficult to satisfy.
- "Righteous class": Who does not feel righteous about some
issue? Who is not prepared to articulate vigorously (in some field of expertise)
what is right, how things ought to be done, and what it is appropriate to
- "Reframe class": Who lacks the imaginative ability and inclination
to reframe how the world should be understood or organized -- whether artistically,
through innovation, or through some new philosophy?
- "Business class": Who is not engaged in some kind of "business"
on which their survival, if not their thrival, is dependent? And despite the
horrors of the world and the challenges to one's community, is the attitude
"business is business", and "business as usual" then often
- "Alter class": Is it not the case that most people engage
in some measure in criticizing the existing regime, including their own behaviour,
and endeavour to think through alternatives -- if only as the wishful thinking
of armchair revolutionaries? But this may well take the form of a creative,
fix-it mentality in response to immediate challenges and opportunities.
- "Research class": Who fails to respond to the pressures
of their environment by seeking ways to reposition themselves to their particular
advantage -- whether through socially or environmentally irresponsible initiatives,
complicity in their misrepresentation, or covert action?
- "Salvation class": Who is not involved in some charitable
action to remedy the condition of others -- if only advocating to them actions
and beliefs that derive from a particular philosophy or belief that one would
like them to adopt (for their own sake)?
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