I love this line! It comes from the 1991 movie An American Tale: Feivel Goes West, the sequel to the classic American immigrant story told through the eyes of mice.
For those that have never seen it, the plot of this movie begins when a cat manages to convince a whole bunch of mice at turn of the 20th century New York that out west, cats get along with mice in this sort of eutopia. He sells them tickets out west to a town he controls, with the end goal of a sudden and violent mouse exocution event, and a resulting gluttonous cat buffet.
The entire plot comes to a head when thousands of mice, positioned in “bleachers”, suddenly realize that they are actually seated on a giant mouse trap, thanks to an accidental and early reveal of the smashing mechanism. The cat leader, noticing that his soon-to-be meal all recognize their precarious position and anger, blurts out “Who are you gonna believe? Me or your own eyes?”
My conclusion could be that mice are smarter than most Americans, except, well, it was a cartoon. But I keep going back to this lesson over and over. There are real lessons that we can learn, because the story may be a cartoon, but with some relatively small changes in details could be a real story.
Lesson #1. People want to be fooled.
If you don’t believe me, just look at the history of the world. Every religion is just lots of people being fooled. (Except YOUR religion, of course. That is is the correct religion and you are definitely not being fooled, whichever one it is…) Every cult is populated by people wanting to be fooled. Everyone that supported a political candidate that turned out to be a brutal dictator. Everyone that married the stripper they met 36 hours earlier at an all-night coke party. Everyone that thought “trickle down economics” was good for the middle and lower class. Everyone that thinks the moon landings are fake. None of these things make sense, but they feed some need of the people, a need to think they know more despite what is in front of their own eyes. A need to feel smart without having to do the hard work of learning.
Lying assholes (preachers) have been telling people to be super prepared because the end of the world is upon us! For thousands of years. Any minute! Be ready! Who you gonna believe? Preacherman or your own eyes?
Lesson #2. Don’t trust people that won’t let you check things out yourself.
I added this specifically because we do require advice from experts all the time, and I don’t want to discourage the use of experts when thinking. However, actual experts will tell you the same thing. Check it out yourself. Ask an insurance agent, surgeon, pilot, or mechanic why they made a recommendation and they will walk you through the symptoms, which you are free to check out yourself. They will describe possible issues, which you are free to check out yourself. And they will explain why they arrived at their conclusion, which you are fee to check out yourself. You may not have their skill to personally do the task, but they are more than happy to let you satisfy your curiosity.
Religion is specifically designed, and the liars (preachers) specifically make excuses about why you can’t check things out for yourself. They will tell you prayer is powerful, meaning it will effect positive change in the world. Yet every study ever, even by religious institutions, very clearly shows prayer has no effect. The places in the US, and indeed any free country in the world where religiosity is high, are shittier places to live than the less religious places. But who are you gonna believe? The preacher or your own eyes?
Lesson #3. Yes, people will absolutely trust a lying con man over their own eyes.
Once again, look at history. Let’s look at a very recent event. On Jan 6th, 2021, thousands of supporters of former US President Cheat O’Lini literally cheered his words, then walked over to the capitol and put his specific words into action, attempting to kill or incapacitate congresspersons and disrupt constitutionally required proceedings with the goal of re-instating the man that sent them on this traitorious riot. That is what happened. We all know this, because it played out in front of our eyes. Any other explanation of what happened that day just adds lies and bullshit.
Look at the words of the cuckold Senator from Texas. His claim is that all the Trump supporters that showed up with body armor, zip ties, tear gas, clubs, pipe bombs, cached guns and ammo, and the materials needed to construct a fully functioning hangmans stand were all there to just peacefully voice their concerns, but in mere seconds were convinced to become terrorists and enemies of the United States and violent cop beaters merely by some plainclothes FBI agent that whispered in their ear for 2 seconds. Who are you gonna believe? Cancun Cruz or your own eyes?
Do you know what has not gone out of existence? Churches that made predictions that failed to come true. From the 7th Day Adventists to the Westboro Baptist Church, any objective review of the church is that they are false prophets and/or cons. But they still extist, with membership.
Lesson #4. Gullibility can get you killed.
Much like the mice on a giant mouse trap, being gullible is not merely a problem of looking stupid in front of friends and family. Being gullible can hurt you financially, or even get you killed. No better example of that exists today than the Covid-19 pandemic. Every country on earth recognizes this disease as a problem. Nearly every country on earth has enacted measures to try and keep people alive. Every organization of medical professionals in the world recognizes the threat of the disease. Every health organization, department, committee, group, or hospital in the world recognizes the threat of this disease. Every statistic from every organization gathering statistics from all facets of life all over the world all conclude that this disease is a threat. And by now, I’m pretty sure we all know at least one person that died of Covid-19.
A former police officer in Washington state, one Robert LaMay, refused to get vaccinated, despite Covid-19 being the leading cop killer for 2 years running. His reason, which will suprise none of my regular readers, was a stupid and illogical smattering of words including such standbys as Jesus, prayer, his loyalty to former President Darth Tax Evader, economic systems he doesn’t understand, and god’s plan. He was the hero of FOX Noise, with Laura Ingraham interviewing him as a hero of the stupid people movement. Only 3 months later, he is dead of Covid-19. He believed the con man over his own eyes.
The term “drinking the kool-aid” is literally a cautionary tale about the fatal effects of gullibility. And yet, every day people go around believing not what is clearly true, but instead on what sounds like a special secret they have been given. Jesus is the way. Agolf Twittler is secretly still President and will run again with a dead guy. The end is near. You have a soul. Being bad will sentence you to hell. The bible is against abortion. The earth is flat. Gravity is fake. Covid is fake. Hillary Clinton is a lizard person. Alien sperm causes sin.
It’s not a trick question. The answer is just as obvious as the results. Who are you going to believe? The con artists or your own eyes?
The Spartan Atheist