Everybody lies. Don’t be like: you too are lying. It even seems that women lie on average 3 times a day, and men twice more. But the little everyday lies don’t hurt. Without them, we would even sometimes find ourselves in very difficult situations, so let’s not deprive ourselves of it too much. On the other hand, there are big canards which have cost the lives of hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of millions of people, and that, we say no thank you (because we are polite, but we said firmly anyway.)
1. “Cigarettes are not bad for your health”
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We have known since at least 1964, via a report by the Chief Medical Officer of the United States, that tobacco causes illness and death, but that did not prevent Joseph Cullman III, boss of Philip Morris, from lying to everyone world in an interview in 1971 saying the opposite. In this widely circulated interview, the guy had the audacity to say: “I conclude from this report that it is true that babies born to women who smoke are smaller, but they are just as healthy as babies born to women who do not smoke. Some women prefer to have smaller babies” Result: many believed it, and tobacco could continue to kill millions and millions of people. Well done Joseph.
2. “Vaccines make you autistic”
This lie, a favorite of conspirators, owes its birth to Andrew Wakefield, a doctor who published a fake scientific study in 1998 to believe that childhood vaccines caused autism. His goal was to become famous and sell books, and the problem is that it worked. The guy still has heaps of followers who refuse to vaccinate their kids and put their offspring in danger. Andrew Wakefield has been disbarred from medical practice, but his lies continue to kill scores.
3. “Lead is not toxic to health”
Well, he didn’t say it like that, but Thomas Midgley Jr., inventor of leaded gasoline, inhaled fumes from a fuel bottle in front of reporters, explaining that he could do this every day without ever suffering from health problems. Except that leaded gasoline is actually super toxic, and its extensive use in automobiles has caused millions of deaths in the space of a few decades (the United States started banning it only in the 1970s ). Ironically, Thomas Midgley Jr., who is considered one of the most damaging humans to the ozone layer, spent the end of his life ill, possibly from lead.
4. “Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction”
Colin Powell, George W. Bush’s secretary of state, told the UN in 2003 that Saddam Hussein was working to obtain components to make nuclear and chemical weapons, which led to the war in Iraq and more 100,000 dead on the Iraqi side. Obviously, this was a pretext to wage a war against an oil-producing country in order to get a piece of the pie. It will still take ten years before Colin Powell admits having lied, throwing the blame on the CIA (surely not innocent either). We hope he slept badly all these years.
5. “Climate change is YOUR fault”
Ok, we don’t know any politicians or business leaders who have had the nerve to say it so bluntly, but it’s still the message they’re trying to get across to us: it’s up to all of us to make efforts to stop climate change. All this while they continue to run the factories at full speed and pollute the waters, the air and the soil. A very guilt-inducing lie that will continue to cause a lot of deaths.
6. Products with 0% fat
It’s hard to quantify the number of deaths caused by this lie, but it’s quite logical: 0% fat products generally replace fat with sugar to give more taste. Inevitably, it increases junk food in our modern societies and it causes overweight in the population. And who says overweight, often says health problems. And whoever says health problems, says… it’s not great when it comes to life expectancy.
7. “Go ahead, this paint is not dangerous”
Did you guess the subject of this point? Yes, this is indeed the story of the Radium Girls. Between 1917 and 1926, in the United States, the United States Radium Corporation had dozens of women work in a factory manufacturing phosphorescent paint based on radium. Except that radium is highly radioactive, and the women have all had fatal health problems. This is just one example among many of workers who have been made to work in contact with highly toxic products by making them believe that they risked nothing. Money makes you do dirty tricks anyway.
8. “The Chernobyl cloud has stopped at our borders”
This is what we liked to say, at the time, in Western Europe: that the radiation due to the explosion of the nuclear power plant had not reached us. Except that in reality, they were there, and they probably caused enormous health problems in our population, starting with an increase in the number of thyroid cancers, even if the link is still difficult to establish today. prove. Anyway, we were lied to, and it sure didn’t do us the greatest good.
9. “They are different from us”
Well, at the risk of pushing open doors, let’s remember that racism starts from a lie that says that others, those who look different, are inferior. A lie that has caused approximately hundreds of millions of deaths worldwide. And centuries of slavery. And segregation. If you are not completely drunk, you already know it, but it was necessary to speak about it.
10. “There is only one TRUE religion”
Come on, let’s break down another open door: religious wars have killed and continue to kill millions of people. Basically, religion should be something fun for those who have faith. But, from the moment when some guys decided that only THEIR religion was good, it fucked up. Ok, you already know that, so we won’t dwell on this point any longer.