If you have noted — and possibly pointed out to a Trump supporter — that his press secretary, Sean Spicer, was lying when he said Trump’s inauguration drew the broadest audience in history, period, then Trump has you right where he wants you. Bloomberg columnist Tyler Cowen explains why focusing on facts ignores what’s really going on, and the real reasons Trump’s staff is lying.
Cowen points out that some hardened leaders use loyalty tests that ask their followers to go against conscience. Spicer and Kellyanne Conway are passing their loyalty tests with flying colors.
By requiring subordinates to speak untruths, a leader can undercut their independent standing…That makes those individuals grow more dependent on the leader and less likely to mount independent rebellions against the structure of command. Promoting such chains of lies is a classic tactic when a leader distrusts his subordinates…and it is part of the same worldview that leads Trump to rely so heavily on family members.
But there’s even more to it than that.