Five Lies You Are Being Told
By Steve Gillman
We hear lies all the time. Of course we know that when a politician says “no new taxes,” he is lying. But then there are the more subtle lies that aren’t so easily spotted. Here are five lies you should watch out for.
The Bigger Size Is Always Cheaper
It used to be true. The “family” or “institutional” cans, jars and packages of food are supposed to cost less per ounce. But some retailers have recently been overpricing large items knowing that many will assume they are the better buy without doing the math. Look at the price per ounce or pound.
News Can Be Objective
There are unlimited “stories,” but limited time or paper. Should a reporter cover the building of a new school, or the opening of a new clothing store, or the famine in some African country? Even if every fact is correct, choosing to cover one story over another reveals a bias, as does choosing how to cover it. It is better to simply understand what those biases are than to pretend that news can be objective.
Alternative Medicine Is Dangerous
Dangerous compared to what? Heart doctors have thousands die on the operating table and no one says a thing. If one person dies from after using an herb, though – even if thousands have been saved by it – there are calls for it to be banned. All treatments have their risks, but let’s be fair in our comparisons.
Statistics Are Objective
It is all in how they are used. If an oil company’s profit on assets rises from 4% one year to 8% the next, did profits rise by 4% or 100%? That depends on who’s counting. Rising 4% to an 8% profit still leaves them below the profit levels of most businesses, they might honestly point out. Of course, they did make a 100% more money this year, a reporter might note, to whip up an anti-oil company “story”.
If It Saves One Life It’s Worth It
Each of us can rightfully put unlimited value on our own lives. Actions to save others lives, though, have to take into account the cost. As a nation, we could save 45,000 lives by strictly limiting highway speeds to 20 miles per hour, but that is too high a price for us. The question then, is how much is it actually worth to us to save a life. Looked at in this honest way, more lives will be saved, because regulations will be aimed at maximum efficiency in achieving results.
There are hundreds of common lies that we are told by “experts,” politicians, and salesmen. Sometimes we can spot the lie a mile away, and other times they are subtle and believable. Sometimes they are lies we want to hear.