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Saturday, September 22, 2007

We are all salespersons to different degrees, and use fallacies

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Why Politicians are Liars Darrell Williams
author's email author's web site view author's other articles September 19, 2007

All presidents are politicians. All politicians are salespersons. All salespersons are liars. This may sound like a brazen conclusion, but in today’s world it is a reality that must be confronted and dealt with.

To begin with, we are all salespersons to different degrees, in our everyday lives. We all have something that we want to sell. We want to sell our boss on our talent or skills. We want to sell our neighbors on our friendliness or personality. Almost everything that we do, the style of clothes we wear, the model of car we own, our mannerisms and behavior are all carefully selected to sell ourselves, to attract the opposite sex, to increase our income or just to become more popular. Everyone in almost all professions are salespersons. A lawyer is trying to sell the jury on the defendant’s guilt or innocence. All public speakers are trying to sell the audience on whatever subject they are promoting; a book, an idea, an ideology or whatever. A politician is also trying to sell to the public his agenda, his ideology or his qualifications for an office he is seeking.

The statement that all salespersons are liars needs to be explained. There many different way in which a person can tell a lie. There are simple straightforward lies in which the liar is simply stating a fact that is false. Sometimes this type of lie, if repeated often enough will be believed by many, especially if it comes from someone in a place of authority. However most of the lies that people tell are more complicated and are better classified as fallacies. These are complex deceitful statements that are used to sell an idea by misleading claims. This is done by different individuals to different degrees for different purposes. Some are harmless but some are dangerous and illegal.

There are over 166 different ways in which a person can use fallacies to deceive or mislead someone. These can be summarized in several general classifications: emotionalism, propaganda, suggestion, irrelevance, diversion, ambiguity and inference, confusion and inference, cause and effect, oversimplification, comparison and contrast, evasion and verbal ambiguity. The best and most successful salespersons are those individuals who are clever enough to use these fallacies in complex combinations. If a fallacy is complex enough, even a thoughtful person will not recognize it.

Why was the statement made that all salespersons are liars? This is because all of the sales tactics learned in any sales training class are based on fallacies and all fallacies are intentionally deceptive. This is the definition of a lie. A lie is a statement that is intentionally deceptive. Fallacies are all lies. Many examples could be given. If one salesperson was well dressed and friendly and another salesperson was sloppy and rude, which one would you buy a product from? People would almost unanimously choose the first. This is a fallacy because the buyer is not buying the salesperson, they are buying their product. Their choice should be based on the characteristics of the product and not the characteristics of the salesperson. This is true of almost all fallacies. The fallacies have nothing to do with the product.

What a salesperson says and what they do and their product should be evaluated separately. This is especially true of politicians. In today’s professional advertising campaigns, politicians almost always read speeches written by professional speech writers. What a politician says in a beautiful patriotic speech should be clearly separated from their actual experience, their character, their qualifications and their real accomplishments in relevant professions. These political speech’s are essentially lies simply because no matter what they say, they were written by another person. The speaker is simply an actor reading another’s words. He is misleading because he is pretending that the ideas are his own.

The obvious question is why do salespersons use fallacies? Why don’t salespersons simply tell the truth? The answer to this is very simple. They use fallacies because they work. They sell products. People in general don’t spend a lot of time analyzing a sales pitch. They are easily swayed by a friendly smooth talking salesperson. Simple fallacies are the most effective way to sell any product, whether it is a used car, a political ideology, a religious creed or any consumer product. A salesperson (politician, lawyer, used car salesperson etc.) does not want to tell the whole truth. They only want to tell the potential buyer the good features of their produce, not the bad features. The detrimental result of this practice is that the buyer can only make a sound judgment if all features of a product are known. However this is irrelevant to the seller, who is only interested in making a sale.

In most of our daily activities, many of these sales judgments we make are trivial and not of significant importance. Choosing between two different TV sets or two automobiles may have little lasting consequences. Unfortunately, the general public’s habit of not analyzing a sales pitch about consumer products, which is not especially important, also have the same attitude toward sale pitches in other areas, such as politics, economics or law, which are very important.
In many situations, these choices may be of extreme importance. If a lawyer uses misleading fallacies, a guilty person may be freed or an innocent person may go to prison. A jury must be critically observant when any lawyer is being deceitful.

The nation’s news media also have the highest responsibility to tell the whole truth. As the fourth branch of government, the news media are the sources of information that the public relies on to make sound judgments about everything local or national. Fallacies and misleading articles have no place in any news media. Unfortunately these are quite common and contribute to the public making bad choices in elections.

This practice of using fallacies to mislead may be of even greater importance to our entire nation when these deceptive, misleading statements are made by the nation’s highest leaders. Our democratic system of government, in which the people are required to make judgments about issues that effect the entire nation, our economic well being or the peace of the world, demand that the nation’s leaders give to the people the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In their critical positions, politicians and presidents must be held accountable for every fallacy or misleading statement that they give whether they are straightforward lies or deceptive propaganda. In general, selfish politicians lie to promote their own personal agenda and their own personal well being often to the detriment of the rest of the nation and the world.

The office of the president of the United States is not a private office to be used by any individual for private financial gain, personal ambition or self serving glorification for themselves or for any special interest groups. The office of the president exists to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and promote the peace and the best interests of the entire nation.

The president of the United States should never use fallacies, lies or any deceitful misleading statements in any speech either public or private for any reason whatsoever. The people must demand truthful leaders. The alternative can be disastrous. americanchronicle.com

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