Saturday, March 15, 2014

the big lie -- one million americans in mexico

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

It is a sign certain that I have come to no good end when I start quoting Goebbels for my hook. 

But there it is.  And despite the fact that it was uttered by a man whose very being embodied evil, it has all the marks of political truth.  Or, political lie in this case.

But today's moral lesson has nothing to do with Nazis or politicians.  It has to do with real estate agents.  A particular type of real estate agent.

As you know, my brother and I are about to embark on a house-hunting trip next week.  While gathering some information I ran across a relatively new real estate site* -- specializing in properties in Yucatán and Cancun.  I wandered over there because Mérida has long been on my short list of places to live in Mexico.

And there it was.  The Big Lie of Mexican Real Estate.  "Despite the exaggerated media news of drug wars and crime there [sic] more than one million Canadians and Americans living in Mexico."**  The missing verb and breathless bolding are the site's, not mine.

Don't you love that journalistic even-handedness.  Dismissing "exaggerated media news" by citing a number that is a stranger to reality.  But if you want to marvel at the subtle writing, you have to tip your toque to that little marketing twist of slipping "Canadians" into the sentence -- as if the extra layer would add a patina of credibility.

But we all know the truth.  We talked about the expatriate study conducted by the Mexican government in one million americans live in mexico.

There were only 262,672 foreigners living in Mexico on 31 October 2009.  That's the full total.  All foreigners.

Of those, 59,996 were Americans.  10,869 were Canadians.  (When I cited the Canadian statistic in January, a local Canadian said: "And I think they all live in Melaque.")

So, that is just over 70,000 Canadians and Americans.  It is hardly the one million that a certain class of real estate agents love to toss around.

But why would they assert such a transparent lie?  Because they want to put nervous northerners at ease.  If one million of My Kind are there, it must be all right.  Never mind that it is not true.

And, following the Goebbels play book, they seem to believe that if it is repeated often enough, it will have the appearance of truth.  Maybe even to the real estate agents.

It is good enough for me that you know it is not.

* -- No, I am not going to identify the site.  For the reasons I describe.  The site does not deserve any traffic from my moral high horse.  Anyone who tells whoppers like this should not be trusted with anyone's money.

** -- I was going to be satisfied with leaving a comment on the real estate blog.  But the comments section was disabled.

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