Dunning-Kruger Effect: How the Politicians Lie to the Masses

During his dictatorship, Joseph Stalin came to one Politburo meeting with a live hen. He slowly plucked out its feathers as the hen quaked in pain, with blood oozing from its pores. He threw the animal to the ground, took some feed and began to throw it at the poor creature. The helpless hen followed him around, eating up the crumbs. Stalin exclaimed, “this is how easy it is to govern stupid people. They will follow you no matter the pain you cause them, as long as you throw them worthless treats once in a while. They will even forget that it’s you who brought them to that situation in the first place”. Bizarre! A story by an Anti-Stalinist in his biography of Stalin.

The dunning-kruger effect states that “the less you know, the more confident you are”.

This is one of the ways the politicians and media deceive the masses. It’s not that knowledge is directly proportional to confidence. It’s just that we blow people’s knowledge out of proportion because of their confidence. You would find Ministers in positions they have zero education and knowledge in. They would pay the media to advertise their social skills and gain the confidence of the masses. Yet, they lack the basic knowledge for the job.

Confidence is Truth

Why does it get us every time? Confidence is associated with truth. We tend to think that confident people speak the truth. If you had nothing to hide and someone asked you a sincere question, you would confidently give your answer. Once the answer loses enough confidence, people tend to think you are not sure of what you’re saying – which is true most of the time.

One of the ways our brains detect if someone is speaking the truth is the emotion they express the truth in. Therefore, if you can tell a straight lie but say it with enough confidence, you can easily convince the masses. It’s the wrong use of confidence, but it works every time.

It’s an unspoken important rule in the political arena, that if you don’t know the answer to something, just say anything with great confidence as if you know what you are talking about, and some people will believe you. Lie to the masses but believe in what you are saying so that they believe you too. We see that in their propaganda and interviews all the time.

The dunning-kruger effect can also be seen in this way; The less the masses know about the intentions and inner workings of a political party, the more confident they are of them.

You see this used by frontrunners of major political parties. When you’re in opposition, never go into details about how you are going to solve a problem. Intellectuals within the masses will find fault with your strategy and punch holes in it. Just make general statements. Talk more into detail about the gravity of the problem, not your solution. Every good speaker says a thousand words about the seriousness of the situation and concludes with a one-sentence solution. Simple.

Another instance is this; if die-hard supporters of the political parties got to know that the political party offers blood sacrifices for victory, adds a percentage to the national budget for their benefit and even has their front-runners involved in the whole scandal, they will immediately lose faith in them.

The masses like to think that the front-runners themselves (President, Vice-president etc) are not corrupt. It’s those a little below the pyramid who are squandering the money and it’s making the leaders look bad. This is far from the truth. Democracy is a bureaucratic system of running things that makes sure that the main bosses are aware of all operations – both the corrupt ones and the not-corrupt ones – and are usually the pretenders because they are directly involved in every scandal.

Once someone has too much information about the inner workings of a party, he/she is handed a position once they are in power; Both to avoid blackmail and to shut them up from revealing too much to the public. It’s like seeing your friend discover $30 million under the carpet and before you can make noise to someone else about it, he gives you a quarter of it. Everything can be bought at a price.

As much as possible, anyone who comes to reveal a dirty lie to the masses must not have credibility. They should look paranoid. Thus, the masses find it difficult to believe. For instance, if I went to Joy FM to say the government stole $30 million from my carpet last night, nobody really cares. Yet, it would be headline news if the President or Vice-President said it. That’s what I mean by credibility.

Interesting, right? What’s more interesting is going through all this stress to lie to the masses. No wonder politics is now tantamount to cunningness to the layman.

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