Sunbeams  May 2017 | issue 497

It seemed there was no end at all to the lies a person could tell, once she got started.

Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

When I was younger, I lied all the time, because once you understand the power of lying, it’s really like magic, because you transform reality for people.

Louis C.K.

On the whole, lying is a cheerful affair. Embellishments are intended to give pleasure. People long to tell you what they imagine you want to hear. They want to amuse you; they want to amuse themselves; they want to show you a good time. This is beyond hospitality. This is art.

Isabel Fonseca

Prevarication, like honesty, is reflexive, and soon becomes a sturdy habit, as reliable as truth.

Norman Mailer, The Castle in the Forest

Lying is easy. But it’s lonely. 

Victoria Schwab, The Archived

The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.

George Bernard Shaw

To lie habitually, as a way of life, is to lose contact with the unconscious. It is like taking sleeping pills, which confer sleep but blot out dreaming. The unconscious wants truth. It ceases to speak to those who want something else.

Adrienne Rich

Few of us are murderers or thieves, but we have all been liars. And many of us will be unable to get into our beds tonight without having told several lies over the course of the day.

Sam Harris

It is one thing to tell a lie and quite another thing to believe it.

Dick Gregory

Government lies, but it doesn’t like to lie literally. Because a literal, flat, and obvious lie tends to be caught up. So, what they do is, they become the masters of the disingenuous statement, of phrasing something in such a way that the honest, normal, and unwary reader gets one impression — that he is supposed to get. And then, three months later, when he discovers it’s not true and he goes back to complain, they say, “That isn’t what we said. Look at it carefully.”

I.F. Stone

And this wasn’t lying, not really. It was

leaving out.

 Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis

The term propaganda rings melodramatic and exaggerated, but a press that — whether from fear, careerism, or conviction — uncritically recites false government claims and reports them as fact, or treats elected officials with a reverence reserved for royalty, cannot be accurately described as engaged in any other function.

Glenn Greenwald

See, in my line of work you’ve got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.

George W. Bush

Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.

Noam Chomsky

When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.

Dresden James

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Voltaire

Glorify a lie, legalize a lie, arm and equip a lie, consecrate a lie with solemn forms and awful penalties, and after all it is nothing but a lie.

Edwin Hubbell Chapin

When we talk about lying . . . let us remember that the lie did not creep into politics by some accident of human sinfulness. Moral outrage, for this reason alone, is not likely to make it disappear.

Hannah Arendt

A concealed truth, that’s all a lie is. Either by omission or commission we never do more than obscure. The truth stays in the undergrowth, waiting to be discovered.

Josephine Hart, Damage

Stand up to hypocrisy. If you don’t, the hypocrites will teach. Stand up to ignorance, because if you let the ignorant run free, they will spread ignorance like a disease. Stand up for truth, because if you don’t, there will be no truth to your existence.

Suzy Kassem

Truth is proper and beautiful at all times and in all places.

Frederick Douglass