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We are a society awash in skilfully manufactured lies. Solitude that makes thought possible – a removal from the electronic cacophony that besieges us – is harder and harder to find. We have severed ourselves from a print-based culture. We are unable to grapple with the nuances and complexity of ideas. We have traded ideas for fabricated clichés. We speak in the hollow language we are given by our corporate masters. Reality, presented to us as image, is unexamined and therefore false. We are culturally illiterate. And because of our cultural illiteracy we are easily manipulated and controlled. Chris Hedges, speech American Political Science Association 3 September 2016
Human beings seem to have an almost unlimited capacity to deceive themselves, and to deceive themselves into taking their own lies for truth. R D Laing, The Politics of Experience/The Bird of Paradise
If it suits their purposes, people are going to lie in court. The police do it all the time. All the time. Yes they do. It’s part of their job. To protect, to serve and to commit perjury whenever it supports the State’s case. George Carlin, You Have No Rights
There are a lot of people who lie and get away with it. Donald Rumsfeld
Government … lying is so routine by now that’s it’s not even worth mentioning, it’s the mode of discourse. Noam Chomsky, lecture University of Tennessee 25th January 2011
The police routinely lie through their teeth and prosecutors routinely cover for them. Last Chance Lawyer II: Belief Trumps Everything, BBC 2018
It makes man an eternal victim and God an eternal fiend. It is the one infinite horror. Every church in which it is taught is a public curse. Every preacher who teaches it is an enemy of mankind. Below this Christian dogma, savagery cannot go. It is the infinite of malice, hatred, and revenge.
Nothing could add to the horror of hell, except the presence of its creator, God.
While I have life, as long as I draw breath, I shall deny with all my strength, and hate with every drop of my blood, this infinite lie. Robert G Ingersoll
The fib of all fibs that you can’t be good without God. Richard Dawkins & Dan Dennett, In Conversation, Oxford 2012
Not only does religion fail to stop people sinning, it also forces them to live a lie. Richard Dawkins, Sex, Death and The Meaning of Life I: Sin, Channel 4 2012
Seeing the name Hillary in a headline last week – a headline about a life that had involved real achievement – I felt a mouse stirring in the attic of my memory. Eventually, I was able to recall how the two Hillarys had once been mentionable in the same breath. On a first-lady goodwill tour of Asia in April 1995 – the kind of banal trip that she now claims as part of her foreign-policy ‘experience’ – Mrs Clinton had been in Nepal and been briefly introduced to the late Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest. Ever ready to milk the moment, she announced that her mother had actually named her for this famous and intrepid explorer. The claim ‘worked’ well enough to be repeated at other stops and even showed up in Bill Clinton’s memoirs almost a decade later, as one more instance of the gutsy tradition that undergirds the junior senator from New York.
Senator Clinton was born in 1947, and Sir Edmund Hillary and his partner Tenzing Norgay did not ascend Mount Everest until 1953, so the story was self-evidently untrue and eventually yielded to fact-checking. Indeed, a spokeswoman for Senator Clinton named Jennifer Hanley phrased it like this in a statement in October 2006, conceding that the tale was untrue but nonetheless charming: ‘It was a sweet family story her mother shared to inspire greatness in her daughter, to great results I might add.’
Perfect. It worked, in other words, having been coined long after Sir Edmund became a bankable celebrity, but now its usefulness is exhausted and its untruth can safely be blamed on Mummy. Christopher Hitchens
Yet isn’t it all – all of it, every single episode and detail of the Clinton saga – exactly like that? And isn’t some of it a little bit more serious? For Senator Clinton something is true if it validates the myth of her striving and her ‘greatness’ (her overweening ambition in other words) and only ceases to be true when it no longer serves that limitless purpose. And we are all supposed to applaud the skill and the bare-faced bravado with which this is done. In the New Hampshire primary in 1992 she knowingly lied about her husband’s uncontainable sex life and put him eternally in her debt. This is now thought of, and referred to in print, purely as a smart move on her part. In the Iowa caucuses of 2008 he returns the favor by telling a huge lie about his own record on the war in Iraq, falsely asserting that he was opposed to the intervention from the very start. This is thought of, and referred to in print, as purely a tactical mistake on his part: trying too hard to help the spouse. The happy couple has now united on an equally mendacious account of what they thought about Iraq and when they thought it. What would it take to break this cheap little spell and make us wake up and inquire what on earth we are doing when we make the Clinton family drama – yet again – a central part of our own politics? Christopher Hitchens
Lying to the dying for a living – what self-respecting person can do that? Christopher Hitchens v Rabbi David Wolpe, debate Boston 2010
I don’t think it’s moral at all to lie to children. When I meet people in holy orders I feel I am meeting someone who is paid to lie to children. I don’t think that’s a moral calling or occupation to tell children that they should be terrified of Hell ... This is wicked. It’s ruined the childhood of millions of children down the generations. Christopher Hitchens
Michael Moore’s film is full of lies. Some of them deliberate. And distorting. But it is itself a lie and a distortion. Christopher Hitchens
1968: The belief that government was lying … that the government would lie to you blatantly and openly. Christopher Hitchens vs William F Buckley, Uncommon Knowledge, July 1998
An imperialist and aggressive and unjust war. ibid.
The official reason given for intervention in Vietnam – well there were several but they kept changing – one of them was to stop Chinese expansionism into the Indo-Chinese peninsula. That’s now considered so ridiculous and it is now so self-evidently untrue. ibid.