BP is Back
But Are They Telling the Truth This Time?

Forrest Gump's mother helped him see reality in the world in which he lived. I have used Forrest's learning from his mother many times in my life.

As Forrest and my generation grew up, we all remembered his mother's words of wisdom, "Stupid is as stupid does." She told Forrest and my generation to watch out for stupid things that people do. Forrest and the rest of us should avoid those types of people.

Just a year or two before I was born, someone said and is often quoted, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." Lie enough and people will get so used to the lie that it will be seen as true. That has always bothered me at an abstract level. Liars lie and many stupid people will believe the stupid lies.

Nonetheless, when "stupid is as stupid does" moves away from the abstract to how something affects us personally it rattles me. Case in point: BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in April 2010.

Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster

Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster

Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive officer, begins the lie that will be repeated until people believe him.

Interestingly, the US government estimates that nearly 5 million barrels of oil were discharged into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It was not a minor accident but the worst oil spin in US history. Finally, Hayward confesses....

Hayward said that he was sorry, but he wants his life back. Aside from getting his life back, what about getting the lives back of the 11-men who died on the rig? Additionally, millions of lives were affected directly along with animals, fish, and the ecosystem of much of the Gulf of Mexico.

This is Hayward's little spill and the prediction of its effect.

Then in the aftermath of the disaster, BP begins the lie again. They have moved on and are working for America producing jobs, petroleum products, and happiness for America. To be honest, in nearly 5-years of watching BP's TV advertisements, I have wanted to write an essay about how those ads come over as phony sounding.

Then this ad recently hit the airways.

Other than the normal phony sounding BP cares for America, was Janet Weiss, BP Alaska President, ad taped in the frigid north woods? You can see her breath during her talk. I would bet that Ms. Weiss is not standing on the frozen tundra of Alaska. However, if it is repeated enough times, some might believe it.

Finally, back to the person that first said, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." This is the complete statement.

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.

Joseph Goebbels

Joseph Goebbels

This is an excellent history of the BP disaster.