The latest Smithsonian magazine tells us of the ongoing research into the implanting in your brain memories of things that never happened. At MIT, a pair of neuroscientists prompted a fearful reaction by a terrorized mouse to a false memory of electrical shock. The key to this was the manipulation of the brain to cause the poor rodent to wrongly remember the pain of a similar event that never happened.
With all due respect to MIT and another laboratories working on these experiments, the past election proved that it's possible to manipulate the voters in the same way. The Republicans made you believe that President Obama was the villain who prevented unemployment from dropping to zero. Keen practitioners of Plato's noble lie, they made up a lot of traumatic things that led the voters to blame the president for inspiring President Bush to cause a serious recession.
Candidate Mitt Romney said it very well when he contended that the economy was improving but Obama made it worse. Even if it weren't true, never happened, it sank into the voter's memory lanes so that a worker at a plant gate could fume that he would have had a job today if Obama hadn't single-handedly bailed out the auto industry.
And when Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, an out-of-the-starting-gate critic of the Affordable Care Act predicted that it would soon bloat health care costs by 41 pct., it had a worse than chilling effect on many voters.
There is even existing today a False Memory Syndrome Foundation in Philadelphia that tries to be helpful in these matters, telling its online readers that "the professional organizations agree: the only ways to distinguish between true and false memories is by external corroboration."
We think a remedy lies well beyond that. As John Hay, Teddy Roosevelt's secretary of state. once glumly advised his boss: "Dealing with people to whom mendacity is a science is no easy thing."