The 14 Most Successful Lies in Human History

Society is built on lies. Some are so successful that it’s nearly impossible to convince people they’re lies, while others are so ubiquitous that we all accept the lies as normal. 

Here are 14 of the most successful lies in history. 

Precious Diamonds

Diamond engagment ring on a finger.
Photo Credit: David Shao via

Advertisers are often the biggest culprits in perpetuating lies. The diamond industry pulled a whammy on consumers by convincing everyone that a common stone is rare, precious, and valuable. 

Terms & Conditions

Stressed looking business man surrounded by mountains of paperwork.
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How many apps make you acknowledge and agree to a massive list of terms & conditions prior to use? How many of you said you’ve read those terms when you really haven’t? Acknowledging the terms & conditions isn’t the biggest lie we all ignore. 

Hard Work Pays Off

A man works hard trying to push a giant boulder that's three times his size.
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Society loves to push the lie that hard work pays off. This insidious lie has people blaming themselves rather than an unjust system if they don’t earn enough money to survive. 

We Never Sell Your Data

Mobile phone user accepting the terms of service and privacy policy displayed on the screen.
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Every company pretends it takes privacy seriously and won’t sell your data. Of course, they don’t say they mean “won’t sell your data without permission” and that you granted that permission when you signed the 2000-page terms & conditions without reading it. 

Self-Regulating Free Market

Man looking at financial crash charts with his hands behind his head in a gesture of panic to represent what to do when the market crashes.
Photo Credit: Golden Dayz via

Some folks want you to believe that a completely unregulated free market would regulate itself. We know that’s not true. A market without regulations would transform into a monopoly, subjugate people, and destroy the environment. 

Trickle Down Economics

An evil looking boss sits in his office counting his money.
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Trickle-down economics go hand in hand with the free market as crazy lies the masses believe. If we give rich people even more money, it will eventually trickle down. In reality, wealthy people horde their riches. 

Weapons of Mass Destruction

American M1 Abrhams tank in a field.
Photo Credit: M2M_PL via

We invaded an entire country over a lie. Iraq never had weapons of mass destruction, and it’s likely the people pushing so hard for invasion knew it. 

Soul Mate

Woman hugging a cut out heart shape.
Photo Credit: Roman Samborskyi via

The idea that one person out there was made for you gives people a romanticized view of love and relationships. No one is perfect. Every relationship takes work. 

Love Conquers All

A happy couple in love. They're sitting outside and she's hugging him from behind.
Photo Credit: Ivanko80 via

Conversely, the lie that love conquers all keeps people stuck in failed relationships. They think everything will work out if they love the other person enough. Life doesn’t work that way. Love doesn’t pay the bills. 

Vaccines Cause Autism

Dr. vaccinating an older female patient.
Photo Credit: Ground Picture via

The lie that vaccines cause autism put humanity’s public health progress back by decades, if not centuries. We were on the cusp of eradicating even more diseases, but some are making a comeback because people refuse to vaccinate. 


A man holds his hand over his mouth in shock while reading the Bible.
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Thousands of religions claim to be the absolute truth and have millions of believers. Even if one is correct, that means the rest are built on extremely successful lies. 

American Exceptionalism

A woman happily waving two small American flags.
Photo Credit: TierneyMJ via

America sold the world the lie that it’s the best country in existence. Meanwhile, we have the highest maternal mortality rate in the West, the worst healthcare system, a horrendous work culture, and a system designed to fatten the pockets of the uber-rich. 

Welfare Queen

Hands holding a tablet that says "government aid" on it.
assistance, welfare, snap, programs

The welfare queen lie was perpetuated by people who wanted to end social services. They created this myth to stoke racist anger and manipulate people into voting against their self-interests. The truth is that white people rely on governemnt aid far more than any other race. 

War On…

Concept art of political lobbyist. A well dressed man stands in front of the American flag blending with a hundred dollar bill.
Image Credit: FOTOGRIN via

The US declared war on a ton of things: drugs, terror, crime, etc. The entire thing is just propaganda designed to invoke a specific reaction. The reaction makes you vote for policies allowing the government to give their powerful friends more money to “fight the good fight.”

We’re Surrounded by Propaganda

Man with a tv head playing puppet master to a group of smaller people with tvs for heads.
Photo Credit: Marko Aliaksandr via

Propaganda surrounds us. It attempts to sway our thinking in both mundane and critical ways. Here are some examples of propaganda we see every day.

We’re So Tired of Explaining these Basic Concepts To Others

Close up of an annoyed, frustrated woman holding her hands up in rage.
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Sometimes, people just can’t understand basic ideas. We explain these concepts to others until our faces turn blue, yet they still can’t grasp them. 

Why Love isn’t Enough

man smiling holding a heart cut out over his heart on a red background to show he's in love
Photo Credit: via

People always say love is enough and that there’s someone out there who will love you for who you are. Find out why that’s not true. 

If America is the Best, Why Can’t We Have Nice Things?

Woman holding an American Flag over her head.
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Everyone claims America is the best country in the world, but other Western nations put us to shame. Here’s the cool perks other countries provide their citizens that we wish we had in the States

More Everyday Lies We All Believe

A woman has her hand on her chin and her eyes looking off to the left with a look of confusion on her face.
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Even the smartest among us fall for these everyday lies

Source: Reddit