Deceived Or Delusional?

In this era of disinformation are we being deceived or are we delusional? I’m often asked: “How can so many buy into disinformation when the evidence to the contrary is so overwhelming?”

Whenever I get this question I’m reminded of a quote from the late Og Mandino’s book, The Greatest Salesman In The World, Part II. (opens in a new link) He says:

“Nothing is so easy as to deceive one’s self since what we wish is always easy to believe.

No one, in my life, has deceived me as much as I have.”

In other words, we are willing participants in the deception others attempt to foist upon us intentionally or through lack of thorough investigation. Upon reading this many of us will deny this vehemently. We view ourselves as rational, fact-based individuals who are anything but delusional. 

The reality is that we’re emotionally driven and our acceptance of what jibes with our beliefs is readily accepted, subconsciously if not consciously. When messages resonate with us we tend to accept them without further investigation.

Thomas Sowell, in his book Intellectuals and Society (opens in a new link), offers examples from stories about veterans returning from war zones. There were stories of veterans committing homicide. The implication being that the rates of homicide among veterans was the result of their combat involvement. When the homicide rates of veterans was compared to the general population, it was found that the homicide rate was one-fifth the rate of the general population of the same age.

Similarly, there were stories reporting that veteran suicides were “the highest since the Army began keeping records.” Again, a more thorough investigation showed that “suicide rates among people of the same demographic characteristics in the civilian population…were higher than among people in the military. “

While all homicides and suicides are tragic, to place the blame on military service when in fact the evidence points to the contrary is deception. And because our hearts go out to the brave men and women of the military and the sacrifices they and their families make on our behalf, it’s easy to believe the disinformation about the impact their service has on other forms of violence.

With the upcoming elections just a week away, I implore you to investigate the facts behind the news stories to find the truth. In many cases the truth is being hidden from us. At times, this is done intentionally to support the bias the media has or the sensationalism that enables them to increase viewership or readership. At times, because of sloppy research on their part. At times, because they trusted another source blindly. Whatever the reason, we become the recipients of incomplete and, in some cases, completely inaccurate information.

The internet provides us with tools that enable us to research topics in a few seconds that would have taken weeks or months to do just 30 years ago. There’s no reason why we should blindly embrace the sensationalized, incomplete and inaccurate reporting that seems to plague the “news media” today.

I’m not suggesting that this is fun, but it’s more fun than living with choices we’ve made based on the deception foist upon us in “news stories”…a deception we accepted because “what we wish is always easy to believe.” The choices I’m referring to are those you’ll make at the polls next week. I pray that we all choose wisely.

Thank you for taking your responsibility seriously.


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