M. Scott Peck, M.D.
wrote a most important book for our times, People of the Lie,
The Hope For Healing Human Evil, published in 1983 by
Simon & Schuster. Its a study of human evil. Peck said
he chose the title because lying is both a cause and a
manifestation of evil. It is partly by their lying that we recognize
Pecks analysis of the Mylai massacre,
its massive cover-up and the deceptions made by our government
in the Viet Nam war should not be missed for its lessons for
Peck wrote, The cover-up was a gigantic
group lie. The troops of C Company of Task Force Barker
killed between five and six hundred unarmed villagers. Significantly,
a young officer by the name of Colin Powell participated in the
Peck cites MyLai
as an example of group evil. Writing twenty
years ago, Peck told us back then: Twenty years from now,
when Vietnam has been largely forgotten, how easy it will be,
with volunteers, to once again become involved in little foreign
adventures. Such adventures will keep our military on its toes,
provide it with real-life war games to test its prowess, and
need not hurt or involve the average American citizen at all
until it is too late.
Today, people on talk shows are touting
the war in Iraq as the greatest military victory in history.
A wild national fever of pride burns across the country. But
what justification is there for such arrogance? Armed Iraqi soldiers
were no match for the might of the American army. Pickup trucks
went up against tanks. Rifles competed against heavy artillery.
One U.S. Marine Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Bryan McCoy told
Time magazine (April 14, 2003) reporters: Lets
quit pussyfooting and call it what it is. Its murder, its
slaughter, its clubbing baby harp seals. McCoys
men had just killed 92 Iraqis and taken 44 prisoners, with no
injuries to the American troops. Once the peace came and protests
began with Iraqis shouting, Americans Go Home, American
soldiers fired into crowds of unarmed civilians, killing many.
Peck draws a profile of the evil: they have
no regard for the truth; they lie and live in a world of lies.
They are masters of disguise and cloak themselves with masks
of respectability, goodness and often piety. (Peck tells us that
religiosity is a common and effective disguise.) But it is the
appearance of propriety and respectability that is the
important factor. Peck defines evil as: The exercise of
political powerthat is, the imposition of ones will
upon others by overt or covert coercion
Or in other
words: it is the use of political power to destroy others,
for the purpose of defending or preserving the integrity of ones
sick self (or group).
There is today in America a disease, a sickness
of hatred. Its very existence is a universal form of group
narcissism. Peck calls it, enemy creation, or hatred
of the out-group. If a group does not have
an enemy, it will most likely create one in short order.
Peck wrote, The groups become cliques. Those who do not
belong to the group are despised as being inferior or evil or
Jerry Falwell was fond of telling the story
of how he learned the secret of being a successful pastor. As
a young man he went to an older minister and asked, What
do I have to do to be a success? The old pastor put his
arm on Jerrys shoulder and said, Son, if you want
to be a success, keep a good fight going all the time!
Peck wrote, It is almost common knowledge
that the best way to cement group cohesiveness is to ferment
the groups hatred of an external enemy. Deficiencies within
the group can be easily and painlessly overlooked by focusing
attention on the deficiencies or sins of the out-group.
Thus the Germans under Hitler could ignore their domestic problems
by scapegoating the Jews.
Today scapegoating has been refined to appear
almost reasonable. Sean Hannity once said, I talk to liberals.
Ill have them over for a barbeque as neighbors. I just
dont want them in office. I dont want them in positions
In contrast to the sickness of evil, Peck
defines mental health as an ongoing process of dedication
to reality at all costs.
In the last few months we have watched Secretary
of State Colin Powells seemingly impressive performance
before the United Nations only to find out that his strongest
points were lies. And according to columnist Nicolas
Kristof, Mr. Powell and Mr. Bush knew their evidence was
false, but used it anyway. (N.Y. Times
May 6, 2003)
The Bush team has more than demonstrated
its willingness to lie to the UN; to use forged documents
to prove its case; to cite a plagiarized paper to win a point;
to resort to wire tapping diplomats rooms; and to stoop
to badgering CIA analysts to lie so the administration could
have false intelligence data to present to the public and to
Add to this list the fact that lucrative
government contracts were handed to favored corporate contributors
with ties to Cheney and Bush, while the White House pushed agendas
that rob the poor to pay the rich. This team agreed to the survivors
demand for an investigation of the events of 9/11, but the White
House deleted an enabling $11 million from the budget. Since
that time the White House has refused to release the 800 page
investigative report on 9/11 related agency failures, written
by a bipartisan committee of the Senate. The report reveals that
the administration was warned as early as July of 2001 of the
coming imminent attacks. The President, himself, received
copies of the reports from the CIA. But the administration
But this is a White House that thought nothing
of placing two convicted perjurers in high-level government positions.
And this is a White House that caused America to invade another
country for its oil and for global domination. After men have
done and said such things, why need anyone tend to anything they
have to say? Surely these acts warrant an investigation
with special prosecutors.
Democracy cannot survive in a country where
lies reign. Citizens cannot vote intelligently when facts are
suppressed or twisted. The best course of action cannot be determined
if all sides of an issue are not debated openly.
Every time we believe a lie, our mental
health and the health of our nation is diminished. We as a people
must stand against the lies. They must be exposed for what they
Katherine Yurica was educated at East Los
Angeles College, U.S.C. and the USC school of law. She worked
as a consultant for Los Angeles County and as a news correspondent
for Christianity Today plus as a freelance investigative
reporter. She is the author of three books. She is also the publisher
of the Yurica Report.
you're interested in reading or
buying Scott Peck's book,
People of the Lie, click
to the editor
Traced to the White House
energy scam was
to a war for oil
Review of the Preemptive
about preemptive strikes based