It's Hard to Admit You Were Fooled
Nothing is as humiliating as getting conned. Especially when you've spent your life defending the con artist.
When the same people lie to you over and over again, you eventually realize two things:
They cannot be trusted. Ever. About anything.
You are easily fooled.
If you’re like me, the second realization often keeps you from accepting the first. The conversation in your goes like this.
Me 1: “He lied to me.”
Me 2: “Yeah, what are going to do about it?”
Me 1: “I’m going to call him out.”
Me 2: “And admit you fell for it? Admit you blew all that money on a scam? Look like a fool?”
Me 1: [thinking]
Me 2: “What’s your wife gonna say? [pause] Look. You’d be better off keeping this to yourself. Defend your choice. No one will ever know.”
Me 1: “Okay.”
We do this all the time. One time, I bought a new car. About six months later, I realized I could refinance it and save a lot in interest (from 6% down to 3.25%). But my refi application was rejected because the car had been in an accident. I argued with the lending company, but they sent me the Carfax report. Sure enough, the car had been in an accident at the dealership. $3,500 worth of damage. As such, it was not considered new when I bought it, and its trade-in value was $10,000 below what it should have been. I was technically the second owner.
I called the dealership. They admitted the car had been in an accident and that the aftermarket “upgrades” I signed for were not upgrades but repairs.
I didn’t want to tell anyone I’d been taken. It’s embarrassing. I should have run a Carfax report on the vehicle even though it was being sold as new.
The dealership in question is a large chain. They’d been forced to sell their Nissan dealership by the manufacturer because of rampant ethics and legal violations. Despite all this knowledge, I couldn’t bring myself to go public. Instead, I settled for a check and a promise not to publicize their name.
I was wrong. I should have shouted it from the rooftops so other people in the St. Louis area know never to do business with that auto group. (They’re really big, and they advertise a lot, and they give a lot of money to local charities.) They’re crooks from the ground up. You deserve to know who they are, but I can’t tell you. I promised in writing.
That’s why crooked people get by with crime. Because cowards like me won’t admit we were taken for a ride, fooled, ripped off, robbed, lied to, conned. It’s called “pride.” Pride is the absence of humility. Con artists thrive because their marks are too embarrassed to out them.
You might think that a humble man in my shoes would have just accepted his loss and moved on. He wouldn’t have even demanded a bunch of money to compensate for $10,000 loss in value hidden by the dealership. But, you’d be wrong.
The humble man is humble before God and cares not a lick what other men think of him. The humble man lives by John Wooden’s advice to UCLA basketball players: “Worry more about your character than your reputation. Reputation is just what other people think about you, but character is who you are.”
The humble man would admit he was fooled, that it was his fault, and that he deserves to be out $10,000 for lack of diligence. But he would make his loss known as a warning to others. He would do his best to see that that crooked auto group goes out of business. He would let the world think him a fool to spare others. Not out of vindictiveness (though it would be hard to avoid that trap), but out of duty to the community. The way Jesus called out the Pharisees.
I did the opposite. I protected my pride, left the community at risk, and pocketed the cash.
I also spent years defending the United States, both as a member of the Navy and as a citizen happily arguing with those who criticized the military, the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Justice, the Federal Reserve system. I scoffed at the idea that patriotism requires that people call out the government when the government is wrong. I attacked Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden and Wikileaks. I repeated the argument that their exposure of US war crimes put servicemen at risk.
I’ve learned that Greenwald and Snowden were right and I was wrong.
What’s worse, I began to suspect that I was wrong in about 2011 or 2012, but I kept my mouth shut. I was afraid of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. I was afraid of what my fellow Tea Partiers would think of me. In other words, I worried more about reputation than my character.
I took the easy way out. I suppressed my doubts and said things that my friends were saying. I stayed consistent to my previous public statements. (“Commitment and consistency” is probably the strongest persuasion principle.)
But I was wrong. And a liar. Instead of warning people that we’d been too trusting of the government—of the elites—for too long, I encouraged their blind obedience to authority. It’s bad enough being a fool—it’s far worse being a liar and fooling others. But that’s exactly what I did.
The truth is, even if I had championed Greenwald and Snowden, I wouldn’t have changed any minds. At least, not until Covid came along a decade later. Instead, I would have been ostracized from the Tea Party and mocked on the local conservative talk radio station. I’d have become a pariah.
Sometimes the price of telling the truth is a ruined reputation. Just read about the prophets of the Old Testament and what telling the truth did for them. (Unlike me, they told the truth and took the punishment.)
From 2014 to 2018, I read a lot of books about being wrong. For some unknown reason, there were a lot of books published at that time about the subject. Many people must have recognized that the worst part of being wrong is fessing up.
About this time, I read Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb where I came across a saying of his:
If you see fraud and don’t say “fraud,” you are a fraud.
I saw fraud and didn’t say “fraud.”
As you know if you read my Substack, I’ve gotten over that. I have disavowed the US Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and the entire US government. I have caused animosity with old friends over my attacks on the medical industry and the doctors who know better but, like me, keep their mouths shut. While I once defended the FBI and was fascinated by the CIA, I now tell you regularly that those agencies are so inherently evil I would never associate with anyone who ever worked for them—unless they, too, have repented, done public penance, and dedicated their lives to bringing down those dens of evil and corruption. (Yes, the FBI and CIA must be dismantled for our souls’ sakes. They cannot be reformed.)
And now it’s time to show mercy and patience to those who refuse to admit they’ve been wrong, for many on the left and right know the government, the medical industry, and the media are liars but, out of pride, will not say it out loud. They, too, see fraud but don’t say “fraud.” Like me, they are frauds themselves. They enable evil.
But they are no worse than me.
They see the scams of the past few years for what they are, but they refuse to admit they were wrong all along. They refuse to admit they were fooled, that they passed on bad advice to their friends and families. Admitting their error would take humility which is a grace from God that we are all free to accept or reject. Most of the time, we reject it.
In their defense, if your six-year-old were ruined for life because you forced her to get the mRNA Covid vaccine, could you live yourself? Wouldn’t just deny your culpability to yourself and to the world? Wouldn’t say, “at least she didn’t get Covid?” The alternative is to take full responsibility for ruining your child’s life, and that’s hard for anyone to do.
Put yourselves in their shoes for a moment.
These people hated Trump because they believed Trump colluded with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton. The Russia Hoax has been thrice proven a lie, but our neighbors refuse to admit they were wrong. Out of pride, they continue to repeat what they know to be false.
These people insist that the 2020 election was on the up-and-up, that Biden really got 81 million votes and Trump got only 75 million despite the fact that investigations in 5 key states showed more illegal votes for Biden than Biden’s margin of “victory.” They know Trump won Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin, but they ridicule anyone who speaks this truth. They’d rather be liars than wrong.
These people bought the CDC’s Covid narrative hook, line, and sinker. They washed their hands 129 times a day, disinfected every hard surface every time they looked at one, wore masks and maintained six feet of separation even while having sex, and said, “stay safe” to every person they Zoomed for two years. They proudly ratted out anyone—even their children—whom they suspected of violating any CDC recommended protocol. They believed that walking into a store without a mask would damn a soul to the fires of hell and kill everyone within a hundred miles. They took vacation to get their first dose of the mRNA vaccine, and the second. And the third and fourth. And they just applied for a day off to get the fifth. Oh, and they hate, Hate, HATE anyone who dares to challenge the safety and efficacy of their bi-monthly injection. The vaccine has become a holy sacrament to them, and this paragraph is to them the highest form of blasphemy agains their god and redeemer. Each morning as they wait for their responsibly source Fair Trade coffee to brew, they say the little prayer on the Dr. Fauci holy card attached to their refrigerator door. “Our Doctor who art in laboratories, hallowed be thy fame.”
These, too, know it was all a lie. Omicron killed the narrative they adopted as their own. But having permanently alienated their families, caused the firing of colleagues, and called the police on unmasked neighbors, they cannot bear to accept the guilt they brought upon themselves. Instead, they mask up to drive alone to get gas in their car. They tell their Facebook followers how grateful they are for their shot-induced blood clots and neuropathy because it spared them from Covid. They’re grateful to the pantheon of public health authorities that their four-year-old died from adverse vaccine reaction before experiencing the horrors of a runny nose and body aches.
Like those who still promote the Russia Collusion Hoax and the free-and-fair election scam, these Branch Covidians hear their own lies and feel a pang of guilt But they are comforted by the fact that television news anchors and their doctor repeat the same lie whenever asked, confirming for them that, sometimes, lying is the right thing to do, because we’re all in this together.
Then there’s the “low-fat diet” people who still preach the evils of whole eggs and meat, the virtues of soy milk, and the healthiness of grains and fruits. Among this group is almost every practicing physician in the United States. They would feel obliged to return every penny they made in medicine if forced to admit that 50 years of official, expert dietary advice was intended to increase the incidence of chronic conditions like obesity, Type II diabetes, heart disease, frailty, osteoporosis, hip and knee replacement, cancer, and Parkinson’s. (There’s a lot of money in those conditions.) So they put their patients on low-fat, high carbohydrate diets. They cash fat checks from insurance companies and take the gifts from pharmaceutical companies, justifying their fraud by knowing they can afford to send their kids (who were raised on strict Keto diets) to the best universities in the world. Imagine the humility it would take these doctors to admit it was all a lie for profit.
There’s the “my country, right or wrong, my country” crowd who want to Eric Snowden and Julian Assange hanged from a tall tree for exposing America’s surveillance state. How conflicted they must be now that the US military’s only mission involves climate change, extremism (which doesn’t actually exist), and sex change?
The list goes on. People just like me—people who harm others with lie to avoid dealing having been wrong. Guilty people.
Each time they repeat the lie, they feel guiltier. And the guiltier they feel, the harder it becomes to come clean. They can imagine the interrogation.
“When did you first become aware that your position on masks was wrong?”
How would they answer? If they tell the truth, “a year before I stopped lying about it,” they reveal themselves as horrible human beings. If they lie and say, “just yesterday,” they have a new lie to try to cover.
Again, I’m not saying these people are any worse than I am. I’ve done it, too. I’ve been fooled, and I agreed to protect the reputation of the company that fooled me in exchange for cash. You don’t get much lower than that. Who knows? For a little more money, I might have made a testimonial video extolling the company’s virtues. I’m pretty weak and shallow like that.
So, I’m not asking anyone to come clean and admit you’re lying about masks, vaccines, elections, etc. Just stop lying. And stop trusting the US government, media, and the medical industry. They’re no different than that St. Louis automotive group that sells wrecked cars as new. They lie and cover up for profit. You have no need to protect them.