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The Ignoble Lie by William de Berg

In Plato’s Republic, Socrates describes how a society could rationalize the existence of different classes of society by using what has been translated as a “noble” or “royal” lie.[1] What Socrates threw out, somewhat half-seriously, was something closer to a founding myth, which like religious myths are either prehistoric (e.g., Dreamtime, Valhalla, Garden of Eden) or ahistoric (e.g., certain apocryphal stories concerning the beginnings of modern religions that are not documented in the contemporary historical record). There are advantages to such myths, of course, such as the instilling of societal cohesion and moral purpose—as long as they don’t contradict the actual historical record. But when such “noble lies” on a massive scale contradict or violate true historical events in the modern era for nefarious purposes, they acquire a very sinister purpose.
Lying is a trait exhibited by leaders throughout history, but it was once mainly used to achieve a tactical advantage, as in betrayal of foes in Roman times, or the acquisition and wielding of power by nobles, as in Machiavelli’s time. But a massively false historical narrative foisted on the people of Rome or any other ancient civilization by its own rulers is not to be found. Roman legions may have been sent out to defend the borders of the realm, but they never did so on the basis of a gargantuan false flag or lie to trick the citizens of Rome.

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