A Fresh Take on
the World's Biggest Lies
By Terry Mitchell
We have all
heard the jokes about the world's biggest lies being stuff
like the check is in the mail and I'll respect you in the
morning. I'm now going to take this opportunity to refute some
common, everyday fallacies by adding a few of my own to the
list along with a brief explanation of each.
1) That stock can't possibly drop any further. Yes, it can.
When a stock is free-falling, it can (and often will) continue
to drop, sometimes all the way to zero. For example, take a
stock that has dropped from $25 a share to $2.50 a share.
Because the stock has already lost 90% of its value, stors
will reason that the most that can be left to lose by buying
it is 10%. However, if someone buys the stock at $2.50 and
then it continues its drop down to $0.25, they've lost 90% of
their investment. Countless numbers of individuals have lost
most or all of their investment, using the foolish strategy of
believing a given stock just had to have already bottomed out.
(2) 9/11 changed everything. Actually, not much has really
changed since that fateful and dreadful day. Except for
tighter security at airports, subway/train stations, bus
terminals, nuclear plants, etc. and an eagerness on the part
of our government to fight pre-emptive wars, little has
changed. Most of us are still doing pretty much what were
doing on September 10, 2001. The ironic thing is that many of
the things that should have changed didn't, while many of the
things that should not have changed did.
(3) Non-denominational. There's no such thing as a
non-denominational church. So-called non-denominational
churches have distinct sets of beliefs just like all other
churches. Perhaps because they are too lazy to think of a name
or intentionally choose to fool themselves and others, members
of those churches decide to call them non-denominational. But
that doesn't make it so. I could call myself Elvis Presley
until I turn blue in the face, but that wouldn't make me Elvis
(4) Fair and balanced. No matter what Fox News says, that
concept does not exist in this world. All persons, groups, and
organizations are biased to a certain extent. Liberals are
biased, but so are moderates and conservatives. It's just part
of being human. There's nothing wrong with it. Now, granted,
some persons/groups/organizations are more biased than others
and are a lot more conspicuous about it. In contract, others
actually make an effort to appear as fair and balanced as
(5) Equal protection under law. That concept may be encoded
into our Constitution, but it's hardly something that occurs
in the real world. Those with money, power, status, and/or
influence usually get a better deal from our justice system
than those who do not have those things at their disposal.
Also, people are still legally discriminated against, based on
race, gender, military status, age, marital status, and other
factors. In addition, crimes committed against certain
demographic groups (ex., children) are punished more harshly
than those committed against other groups.
(6) A speedy trial. Another concept encoded in our
Constitution that doesn't exist in modern society. The average
felony case doesn't go to trail until at least six months
after the defendant is arrested or indicted. Scott Peterson
didn't get his day in court until a year and a half after he
allegedly murdered his wife and unborn child. When he finally
did, his day lasted for nearly six months! That is not the
kind of thing our Founding Fathers had in mind when they
framed the Constitution.
(7) Free of charge. I've found that most things that are
supposedly free will ultimately cost me more than the stuff I
have to pay for. That's because many things that are free come
with obligations or strings attached. For example, that free
book that obligates you to buy three more, that free month of
a discount purchasing service that you end up subscribing to
for a whole year (although you never use it), or that free car
wash that made you feel compelled to make a hefty donation.
Even many religious groups will stoop to deceptively using the
word free. As an evangelical Christian, I believe that
salvation is a fee gift from God through Jesus Christ, plus
nothing, minus nothing. However, many Christian denominations,
while asserting that salvation is indeed free, also attach
strings like saying one must also change his or her lifestyle.
If something comes with obligations or strings attached,
whether real or perceived, then it is not really free.
8) You can't miss/lose/go wrong. Trust me - I can! Apparently,
a lot of other folks can as well. It's amazing how many times
people have missed things that could not have been missed,
lost things that could not have been lost, and gone wrong when
it was impossible to do so. All of this reminds me of the 1962
expansion New York Mets. Supposedly, any given Major League
baseball team will win 60 (of its 162) games a year no matter
what. That year, the Mets succeeded in losing nearly 20 of the
games they were going to win no matter what!
(9) It is your decision - I won't try to influence it or stand
in the way of whatever choice you make. Is it really? Will he
or she really stay neutral? How many times has someone said
that to you and then still went right ahead and tried to
influence your decision-making process in some way? Many will
use bad attitudes, whining, pouting, shaming, criticism, or
even veiled threats to try to have an impact on your decision.
The truth is that very few important decisions are truly yours
alone to make. Other people are almost always trying to
influence almost all of your important decisions in some form
(10) Effortless. This is a favorite word of advertisers, but
it's almost never actually the case. You've seen the
commercials; lose weight, change your attitude, get rich, find
love, shape up; it's ....um,...effortless. Slick pitchmen will
claim that you can have all of this stuff and more with little
or no effort on your part, as long as you shell out the money
for their products and/or advice. Obviously, to achieve these
or any other worthwhile goals, you'll need to do something
and, if you have to do something, it's not effortless!
Terry Mitchell is a software engineer, freelance writer, and
trivia buff from Virginia, USA. He operates a website -
http://www.commenterry.com - on which he posts
commentaries on various subjects such as politics, technology,
religion, health and well-being, personal finance, and sports.
His commentaries offer a unique point of view that is not
often found in meanstream media.