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Many years ago, a beloved mentor told me a story—a parable, if you will—about a wife who came home one afternoon to find her husband in bed with another woman. She screamed and fled the room, sobbing.

A few minutes later, her husband emerged, still buttoning his shirt, and asked her what was wrong.

“I saw you with that…that…woman!” she sputtered.

“What woman?” replied the husband, calmly tucking in his shirttails.

“That woman you were in bed with!”

“What are you talking about? There was no woman.”

At the time, I found the story mildly amusing. I understood that my mentor was trying to convey some deeper truth, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I was still young enough to believe no one would really lie that blatantly and transparently when the truth was plain to see. 

A decade later, I watched my mentor’s parable play out on national TV, as President Bill Clinton repeatedly denied having sex with an intern, Monica Lewinsky, in the Oval Office. (Old joke: A few weeks after their fateful liaison, Bill allegedly wrote to Monica to say he missed her. However, the FBI crime lab proved otherwise.)

Ten years wiser and correspondingly more cynical, thanks in large part to my mentor’s tutelage, I understood that Clinton’s denials were a conscious strategy: Just lie and keep lying, like the cheating husband in the story, hoping people would come to doubt the evidence of their senses. I just didn’t know back then what the strategy was called, or even that it had a name. It would be another decade, at least, before I first heard the term “gaslighting.”

Clearly, gaslighting has been around a long, long time. Remember the old Groucho Marx line? “Who you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?” But it seems that, in recent years, it has come to be standard operating procedure for our “elites,” as well as the prevailing theory of communication among Western governments and the institutions that both support and feed off them.

We have certainly seen this, for example, in the politics of the last few years. Whatever you may think of Donald Trump, there’s no question the Deep State and its subservient corporate media have been lying about him since he first declared as a candidate for president in 2015.

Remember “Russian collusion?” “Fine people?” “Inject bleach?” All hoaxes. All based loosely on offhand remarks made by Trump—who, admittedly, has no filter and thus brings some of this on himself—which were then twisted beyond recognition and taken completely out of context. Not only are these invented “scandals” provably false; they’ve actually been proved false, time and time again, by abundant documentary and video evidence. Trump never colluded with Russia. He never said Nazis were fine people. He never told people to inject themselves with bleach. All lies.

And yet the Deep State, et al. continue gaslighting us about those things to this day. Commentators still insinuate that Trump might be a Russian agent. Politicians—including the current occupant of Bill and Monica’s former love nest—still insist that Trump cozied up to Nazis. Journalists and “public health officials” still claim that he recommended injecting bleach—even though we know very well he did none of those things.

This pattern of gaslighting as a communications strategy became even more evident during the “pandemic,” as Western governments and institutions lied to us about practically everything from the very start—and continue lying to us, despite the wealth of information disproving their claims.

I recently saw an interview with NPR’s new CEO, Katherine Maher, in which she stated that “Covid was a novel virus, which means we knew absolutely nothing about it.” But that simply isn’t true. We knew from the beginning, for instance, that SARS-CoV-2 was a respiratory virus and thus cloth or paper face masks would be useless against it, as Anthony Fauci himself acknowledged at the time both publicly and privately. We also knew that developing an effective vaccine would be difficult if not impossible, since there had never been a vaccine that worked against a coronavirus.

In addition, we knew within a few weeks that Covid was not particularly dangerous to young people and that, while it could be deadly, it overwhelmingly targeted the elderly, the infirm, and the obese.

And yet the authorities lied to us about this for years, as schools remained closed and young, healthy people were mostly confined to their homes while being locked out of their places of business and worship. All for no reason. All in service to a lie, or rather a litany of lies. And they were rather obvious lies, becoming more so with each passing day, at least for anyone paying a modicum of attention.

The consequences of these blatant and frankly diabolical lies have been catastrophic, just as many of us predicted four years ago. Several of my colleagues here at Brownstone have written about those consequences in detail, but suffice it to say, for our purposes, that society was completely upended, civil rights were abandoned, academic progress cratered, and suicides increased.

Yet the gaslighting on Covid continues unabated. You can’t peruse the social media accounts of Western elites without seeing constant rationalization of their disastrous decisions. Yes, learning loss and skyrocketing depression among the young are terrible, but shutting down the schools was necessary, don’t you see? We didn’t know what we were dealing with. Kids and teachers could have died.

And then there are the “safe and effective vaccines”—which, in the first place, were never actually vaccines by any definition that existed prior to September 2021. The government and “public health” authorities were gaslighting us about that from the first rollout. And of course they were never “97 percent effective,” either. In fact, they weren’t effective at all in preventing people from contracting or transmitting the virus. Nor were the shots particularly “safe.” Indeed, based on VAERS reports, they have been by far the least safe “vaccines” ever marketed.

Of course, Pfizer and Moderna knew all this even before the rollout, as did the relevant authorities. They just lied, to first encourage and then force us to get their dangerous, largely useless mRNA shots. And they’re still lying, routinely telling us how great the jabs were, even though we can see the results for ourselves. It’s abundantly clear that most people who got the shots still got Covid, anyway—so much for “effective”—while many suffered severe adverse reactions, putting paid to “safe.”

That’s classic gaslighting. And the problem with it is, the more the liars insist they’re telling the truth, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the more people are likely to ultimately believe them. This may be due in part to sheer fatigue. When somebody tells us something over and over, at some point we get tired of hearing it and just want them to shut up and leave us alone. “Okay, okay! Enough already. The shots saved millions of lives. Trump is a Russian Nazi science-denier. Got it.”

But it’s also due, I think, to the fact that most people are fundamentally decent and thus can’t fathom someone repeatedly saying things that are obviously untrue. Therefore, what they’re saying must be true, or else they wouldn’t just keep saying it. We can almost imagine that poor wife, in the parable above, eventually starting to believe her husband, if he just insists vociferously and repeatedly enough that there was no other woman. I mean, who’s she gonna believe—him or her lyin’ eyes?

That’s why we here at Brownstone feel compelled to continue telling the truth, to the extent we can determine it. I know some have asked, “Why do you keep beating that dead horse? Covid is so over. You need to let it go.” But it’s not over, not so long as the people in power continue to lie and rewrite history.

And ultimately, of course, it’s not just about Covid. Without the truth-tellers to keep them at least somewhat in check, what will they gaslight us about next? The answer is anything they want—and quite possibly everything.

Rob Jenkins is an associate professor of English at Georgia State University – Perimeter College and a Higher Education Fellow at Campus Reform. He is the author or co-author of six books, including Think Better, Write Better, Welcome to My Classroom, and The 9 Virtues of Exceptional Leaders. In addition to Brownstone and Campus Reform, he has written for Townhall, The Daily Wire, American Thinker, PJ Media, The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. The opinions expressed here are his own.

republished with permission. 

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