Big lie

From metawiki

The Big Lie at the time of this writing refers to the embrace of election conspiracy theories by the American right wing following the 2020 presidential election.

Authoritarians in general use tactics like the Big Lie to force their supporters to fully commit to their cause by embracing a falsehood so egregious that no reasonable person would believe it, thus drawing a clear distinction between political loyalists and everyone else. Once a person abandons their critical thinking in favor of social and political acceptance, they become blind followers who can be easily persuaded to commit irrational and immoral acts in the name of their cause. Once the lie is believed, saying no to the liar means admitting you believed one of the most obvious and damning lies ever told, and the ego will not go quietly into that good night.

Fundamentalist religion uses a similar tactic by encouraging believers to wholeheartedly believe that allegory is literal truth. Without literalism there is not necessarily a Big Lie effect, since the believer is free to adopt an interpretation that doesn't obviously contradict reality. Religion in general does provide a set of fantastical beliefs that nobody who is raised outside of that religion would ever espouse, thus making it easy to determine who is a member of the in-group and who is not.

Religion could be seen as laying the groundwork for acceptance of Big Lies later in political life.

Universalist interpretations avoid this by refusing to put any humans in the out-group.