For instance, Wolfowitz is going to be affirmed as head of the World Bank, despite the fact that he is known to insist on lying to the public. Now, the handmaidens of capitalism who function in governments in the US and Europe may have good reasons to bring Wolfowitz on as Official Liar, but it doesn't explain how or why he's allowed to get away with it.
But then there's social security. On its face, the Bush plan is clearly stupid. Subjecting public funds to the volatile stock market makes no sense - it's not "security" in any meaningful sense. Besides which, as very recent experience should amply demonstrate to anyone with an attention span longer than a moth's, the stock market also goes down. A $10,000 investment in NYSE blue-chip stocks in 2000 is now worth very nearly $9,000. Suppose we dump a bunch of social security money into the stock market. Will it go up?
Besides, the social security "crisis" is a fraud cooked up during the Reagan administration by nutjobs who didn't believe in any public good whatsoever. Social security is funded fully, with no changes whatsoever, for at least a decade - and "no changes" includes the usual expropriation of funds out of the system to make up for the deficit figures released by the administration (an accounting lie of some years' standing).
Lauren's theory is a simple, straightforward one: repeat something to people enough times, and eventually they'll parrot it back as though it were true. That makes sense, but I think because it annoys me to think of people being so apathetic, abject, gullible, careless, or stupid, I resist it. There must be something else, I imagine, some way in which people think that this will somehow benefit them. The hypothesis that fits here is that people engage in magical thinking: somehow, if they do what the wealthy elites want, they might get rich too. But again, that supposes people to be remarkably stupid, though it does realistically suggest they're motivated by greed.
I don't know. A couple years ago I struck upon the interpretative strategy of considering that people don't in fact believe any of it, but act in a sort of subjunctive mode, specifically, one that affirms a counterfactual. An example of this kind of thinking is: "If I were to sprout wings and gain the ability to fly..." So, perhaps people approach these official lies thus: "If it were true that there was a crisis in social security..." "If the stock market was necessarily always to rise..." "If Paul Wolfowitz weren't genetically incapable of speaking truthfully..."