“blue” lies—a psychologist’s term for falsehoods, told on behalf of a group, that can actually strengthen the bonds among the members of that group…blue lies fall in between generous “white” lies and selfish “black” ones.
…lying is a feature, not a bug, of Trump’s campaign and presidency. It serves to bind his supporters together and strengthen his political base—even as it infuriates and confuses most everyone else. In the process, he is revealing some complicated truths about the psychology of our very social species.
…while black lies drive people apart and white lies draw them together, blue lies do both: They help bring some people together by deceiving those in another group. For instance, if a student lies to a teacher so her entire class can avoid punishment, her standing with classmates might actually increase.A variety of research highlights...
...a difficult truth about our species: We are intensely social creatures, but we’re prone to divide ourselves into competitive groups, largely for the purpose of allocating resources. People can be “prosocial”—compassionate, empathic, generous, honest—in their groups, and aggressively antisocial toward outside groups. When we divide people into groups, we open the door to competition, dehumanization, violence—and socially sanctioned deceit.
If we see Trump’s lies not as failures of character but rather as weapons of war, then we can come to understand why his supporters might see him as an effective leader. To them, Trump isn’t Hitler (or Darth Vader, or Voldemort), as some liberals claim—he’s President Roosevelt, who repeatedly lied to the public and the world on the path to victory in World War II.
...partisanship for many Americans today takes the form of a visceral, even subconscious, attachment to a party group...Democrats and Republicans have become not merely political parties but tribes, whose affiliations shape the language, dress, hairstyles, purchasing decisions, friendships, and even love lives of their members.
...when the truth threatens our identity, that truth gets dismissed. For millions and millions of Americans, climate change is a hoax, Hillary Clinton ran a sex ring out of a pizza parlor, and immigrants cause crime. Whether they truly believe those falsehoods or not is debatable—and possibly irrelevant. The research to date suggests that they see those lies as useful weapons in a tribal us-against-them competition that pits the “real America” against those who would destroy it.Perhaps the above clips will motivate you read Smith's entire article, which goes on to discuss how anger fuels lying, and suggests some approaches to defying blue lies.