One should not as a rule reveal one's secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.~ Die Zeit ohne Beispiel, Joseph Goebbels, 12 Jan 1941
But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success
~"War Propaganda", volume 1, chapter 6, Mein Kampf (1925), Adolf HitlerI recently discovered the consequences of this in the classroom. I was teaching an ethics class comprised entirely of military veterans. During the course of the conversation, I asked them "What percentage of the population do you think is homosexual?"
In every case, each student put the percentage at above 30%. A few put it as high as 45%. I pointed out that the actual percentage was between 1% and 3%.
And that's when I got my surprise.
They uniformly (no pun intended) refused to believe me. They simply rejected the facts out-of-hand. "I know a lot more homosexuals than that," was the common response.
I tried to reason with them, brought forward scientific, peer-reviewed studies, pointed out that the International Lesbian and Gay Association testified to this number themselves in their amicus curie brief to SCOTUS in Lawrence v. Texas just a couple of years ago. I spent 20 minutes trying to convince them that their estimates were off by a factor of at least ten. They were having none of it.
"That percentage is too low," they replied, "People lie on questionnaires. They won't reveal their real sexuality."
"Oh," I replied, "so YOU know the truth, but none of the people who ran any of these surveys do?"
The answer, boiled down, was, "That's right. We know the truth. They don't."
So, why would a bunch of military vets refuse the facts of the matter? I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect it has something to do with a decade of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". From the soldiers point of view, the military emphasizes only what is necessary to survive in combat. That includes handling personal relationships so they don't interfere with combat duties. If the brass were so insistent on blowing up DADT into a big deal, then it MUST be the case that homosexuality was far more prevalent than just 1-3% of the population. DADT was nearly as big a deal as welcoming women into para-combat situations, and women make up 50% of the population, so...
Now we see the same thing happening in regards to guns in the hands of American citizens. Consider the response to this young man's pastry incident. A 7-year old took bites out of his poptart until it was in the shape of a gun, then pointed the pastry at his schoolmates and said "Pow." That was so serious that it merited a three-day suspension for the boy and, as icing on the cake, an offer of professional psychological counseling to any child who might have been traumatized by the event.
Make no mistake, because our opponents have not.
We are at war.