Go here for the start of this series on 10 Ways Lies Grow.
The last stage involved letting other people start to tell the lie for you. A pretty insidious stage for sure. However, stage 8 is when…
8) They suppress critics.
Now things get really ugly. The only thing worse than a liar is a liar with power. When someone has power of any kind they use it to suppress those who question their lies. It can come in many forms. Some physically intimidate the questioners; some emotionally manipulate them. Lying politicians will triangulate the media, their supporters, and the opposition. Lying pastors will stoop so low they spiritualize things to their benefit. A lying millionaire athlete might threaten lawsuits. A lying friend might even use their knowledge of your secrets to blackmail you into keeping their secret for them.
A liar at stage 8 will do most anything to keep the lie quiet. They will even move into some very deep unethical behavior, and even criminal activity, to keep the lie going and suppress the truth. Whatever power they can weild will be wielded—so if you are someone who has a lot of influence and power be very careful about lying—because you can end up supporting your lies, and even seeing them last longer than others would, because you have the power to suppress the truth.
Consider this: those who are viewed as less honest, less trustworthy, and less truthful in our society are those with more power. It’s because we’ve seen the powerful defend lies with their power before. Beware a liar with power.
Can you escape a lie that has gone this far? Well, as always, the lie grows and so does the risk. And the escapes from the lie are more and more messy as we go along. At this point, however, the lies might actually end up with you going to jail. Perhaps survival instinct might kick in for you by now. Before you suppress the truth from coming out and risk jail time you might just choose to lose your good reputation. Is your success really worth risking 5-10 in the slammer?
There’s a point when a liar really becomes rotten to the core—becomes an evil person. It’s hard for me to say when that is. Are people ever themselves “evil” or is evil something that is “out there” and a person is torn between good and evil? I don’t know. Part of me wonders if someone at stage 8 has really “turned themselves over” to something darker—something more scary, something my grandmother would have called “demonic.”
Let’s hope you and I are never at stage 8, and never run across someone who has spun a web of lies and powerful suppression this extensively. I don’t even like to think about it.