What needs explaining is not why Donald Trump and his staff tell lies. Many recent leaders have lied.
What needs explaining is why Trump and his staff tell obvious and easily disprovable lies, such as the claim that record numbers of people came to see his inauguration.
My own thought was that it served two purposes. One was to confuse the issue, because most people don’t have the time or resources to check facts. As long as you stick to what you’re saying and never back down, a certain number of people will believe you.
The other purpose was to distract the attention of the press from more serious issues. The time spent by reporters in covering arguments over crowd sizes is time spent not covering things such as Trump’s infrastructure plan.
But economist Tyler Cowen has a more sinister explanation.
By requiring subordinates to speak untruths, a leader can undercut their independent standing, including their standing with the public, with the media and with other members of the administration. That makes those individuals grow more dependent on the leader and less likely to mount independent rebellions against the structure of command. Promoting such chains of lies is a classic tactic when a leader distrusts his subordinates and expects to continue to distrust them in the future.
Another reason for promoting lying is what economists sometimes call loyalty filters. If you want to ascertain if someone is truly loyal to you, ask them to do something outrageous or stupid. If they balk, then you know right away they aren’t fully with you. That too is a sign of incipient mistrust within the ruling clique, and it is part of the same worldview that leads Trump to rely so heavily on family members.
Source: Tyler Cowen – Bloomberg View
Donald Trump has said that one of his basic principles is to trust no one. Another is to always get even with anybody who crosses you. That is how you have to operate if you can’t give people reasons to trust you.
Why Trump’s Staff Is Lying by Tyler Cowen for Bloomberg View.
Trump Tweets Crazy Like a Fox by Steve Berman for The Resurgent.
Distracted Media Fails to Catch Trump’s Policy Decisions by Moon of Alabama.
Trump’s Infrastructure Plan = Developer Welfare by Michael Hudson.
Trump Promised to Resign From His Companies — But There’s No Record He Has Done So by Derek Kravitz and Al Shaw for ProPublica.
Karl Rove’s Prophecy by Karel Van Wolferen, a famous Dutch journalist. Bush and Obama also were liars, but more effective liars than Trump.