The reversive blockade is a psychological manipulation meant to mislead. By insisting very strongly on the opposite of the truth, the one who uses it prevents many people from considering the truth as a possibility. In following "common sense", many people instead look for the truth "in the middle" – between the truth and its opposite.
Use by the pathological
The use of this tactic is uncommon among normal people; it is part of the special psychological knowledge developed by psychopaths. As most people are ignorant of it, and contemporary culture is strongly based on the assumption that generally, "the truth is in the middle" in a dispute, it often achieves the effect intended by the manipulator.
Reversive blockade: Emphatically insisting upon something which is the opposite of the truth blocks the average person's mind from perceiving the truth. In accordance with the dictates of healthy common sense, he starts searching for meaning in the "golden mean" between the truth and its opposite, winding up with some satisfactory counterfeit. People who think like this do not realize that this effect is precisely the intent of the person who subjects them to this method. If the counterfeit of the truth is the opposite of a moral truth, at the same time, it simultaneously represents an extreme paramoralism, and bears its peculiar suggestiveness.
We rarely see this method being used by normal people; even if raised by the people who abused it; they usually only indicate its results in their characteristic difficulties in apprehending reality properly. Use of this method can be included within the [...] special psychological knowledge developed by psychopaths concerning the weaknesses of human nature and the art of leading others into error. Where they are in rule, this method is used with virtuosity, and to an extent conterminous with their power.
Pathological norms and the "legal argument"
In her article "The Cult of the Plausible Lie", Laura Knight-Jadczyk elaborates on the point that the "common sense" assumption that "the truth is somewhere in the middle" benefits psychopaths. The assumption is at the foundation of the contemporary justice system – and in any conflict where one side is honest and the other dishonest, it favors the dishonest to the detriment of the honest.
People are taught to assume that, in any conflict, one side is lying one way, and the other is lying the other way, and people can just form opinions about which side is telling the truth. They are taught that the truth will lie somewhere between two extremes.
That is a wonderfully plausible lie.
[Robert Canup] suggests that, to see the evil behind that plausible lie, we must make a different assumption: let us assume that in such cases, one side is innocent, honest, and tells the truth. It is obvious that lying does an innocent defendant no good; what lie can he tell? If he is innocent, the only lie he can tell is to falsely confess “I did it.”
On the other hand, lying is nothing but good for the liar. He can declare that “I didn’t do it” and accuse another of doing it; all the while the innocent person is saying “I didn’t do it” and is telling the truth.
The truth – when twisted by good liars, can always make an innocent person look bad – especially if he is honest and admits that he has faults. If someone is telling the simple truth, and the other side is lying through their teeth, the basic assumption that the truth lies between the testimony of the two sides always shifts the advantage to the lying side and away from the side telling the truth. Under most circumstances, this shift put together with the fact that the truth is going to also be twisted in such a way as to bring detriment to the innocent person, results in the advantage always resting in the hands of liars.
Canup points out that, even the simple act of giving testimony under oath is useless. If a person is a liar, swearing an oath means nothing to that person. However, swearing an oath acts strongly on a serious, truthful witness. Again, the advantage is placed on the side of the liars.
Knight-Jadczyk further points out that, as pathological people have been in positions of power throughout the history of our civilization, the basic ideas behind our social and cultural system – including the legal system – need reexamination. The current legal system can be shown to be to the benefit of psychopaths, and appears to be the product of psychopaths in positions of power. The "common sense" assumption that "the truth is in the middle" has been exploited, and if not created, at the very least reinforced by psychopaths in their own interests.