A Fresh Take on the World's Biggest Lies

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, some investors 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 Presley.

(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 possible.

(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 or another.

(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!

About the Author

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 mainstream media.