Why Lying Works
Once again I had a comment expressing fear of being caught lying. I don't know how to tell you that there is nothing to fear, but let me tell you why lying works.
First, there is a social barrier to catching you. It is embarrassing to catch someone in a lie. It is almost impossible to call someone a liar outright. When people do, it's a shock to everyone within hearing. Even if you are caught, most times the person who caught you will participate in a cover story. You might not get the thing, whatever it was you needed, but you also won't face retribution for the lie.
This is contrary to our sense of justice. We believe that if we break the rules we will be punished if we are caught. That simply is not the case. Power and social constraint are much more powerful ideas than justice. You must apply the right paradigm to your circumstances if you want to understand what is happening. Justice is the wrong paradigm. The power of social regulation, over the other person, not you, is the right paradigm.
Second, and perhaps even more important, it takes work to reveal a lie, and most people are simply too lazy. I worked on a school paper while I was in college, and one day an advertisement came in for placement in the paper that denied that the Holocaust occurred. My editor wanted to run the ad, on the basis of free speech. I opposed, but said if he was going to run the ad he should at least allow me to investigate the source and the citations in the ad and run my resulting story next to it. He agreed and I set to work. The first thing I did was look up all the citations. There were quotes of Elie Wiesel said to have been printed in the NY Times, so I looked up the dates offered. The NY Times is archived in just about every university library, so it was easy. There was nothing. Elie wasn't there. I went through every page of the issues cited, even the classified ads and the coupon supplement. Nothing. I looked for books mentioned and could find no reference to them anywhere. As far as I could tell, they didn't exist. So I called the advertiser.
I told him I was having a little trouble with fact checking, and asked if he could send me clippings from the papers and copies of the books. He laughed and said that in the many years he had been publishing this ad, no one had ever asked him to prove his citations. I told him that without proof of his claims, his ad appears to be a libel to Jews, and he quietly withdrew his request to publish it.
This is an example of the method used for evil. It is as powerful when used for good, the good of your survival. The plain and simple truth is that fact checking requires effort, and most people won't put that effort out.