Is that allowed to lie to save the world?

Is it allowed to lie, if you can save the world with this?

Lying very useful in politics

In a democracy, in theory, the population rules. In practice, this is “delegated” to professional politicians, who are elected every four years. Getting your way through is difficult, when stubborn people are constantly getting in the way who think they know better. And besides, often have a different agenda than you. That explains why lies are so popular in democracy. Like magicians, politicians and politicians disguise their real, unpopular intentions. They mask these with noble lies. Because the stupid people cannot handle the truth. Below are some examples of “white lies”, well known from public sources, that turned out to be disastrous.

Greenhouse effect

A good example is the increasingly worse anthropogenic global warming (AGW), popularly called the 'greenhouse effect'. The amount of CO2 in the air has risen sharply in the last two centuries. Namely, from approximately 270 ppm to around 415 ppm in 2021. That is not going in the right direction. After all, more CO2 in the air means warming and rising sea levels. Parts of the tropics can also become uninhabitable due to the high temperatures.

If the temperature remains structurally above 26 degrees, our body will suffer from too much heat during heavy work. This is already a huge problem in, for example, El Salvador [1]. And certainly, if, as expected, the average temperature in the tropics will rise even more. Then the tropics become unlivable even with sufficient drinking and light work. Reason enough, therefore, to tackle the AGW problem. Most Dutch and Belgians would like that too.

Meat is unhealthy for the planet, not for humans

One of the main contributors to this CO2 is livestock farming. It is estimated that about 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions, plus the necessary deforestation, are caused by livestock [2]. In short: it is very useful for the earth if we stop eating meat.

Now the problem is: The argument to save the Earth convinces only a few people to abandon meat. But when people start to believe that eating meat makes eating sick, the number of vegetarians explodes. And there you see, a significant reduction in CO2. This explains why the opinion that meat is unhealthy, and that meat can be easily missed, is predominant in progressive, hip blogs. Because who wouldn't want to save the world with a white lie?

A lie yes indeed. Children need meat to grow better - vegetable protein is much more difficult to digest [3]. So while eating a little less meat is beneficial for adults who eat a lot of meat, growing children certainly need plenty of meat.

The war on dairy

Dairy also suffers this fate. After all, dairy also comes from livestock farming and is therefore CO2 polluting. One kg of protein from dairy is about the same as one kg of protein from meat. Milk was once recommended to prevent osteoporosis, and school milk was something we were proud of. Now even schoolchildren get fake milk like oat milk from their well-meaning, socially conscious parents. Oat milk is widely hyped in hip circles, but is in fact a kind of expensive meal drink. With many empty calories and many and too few nutrients, such as protein and vitamin D [4]. The result: malnutrition in children. Because these types of families also eat little eggs and meat.

Ban curse on soy

In fact, just one plant-based milk substitute comes pretty close to cow's milk. Soymilk. Although the protein from soy is about twenty percent less rich in essential amino acids than that in cow's milk. So you have to use more soy milk to get enough of those amino acids. Yet they do not often choose soy. The soybean has a bad smell to socially conscious people.

Although soy is fine to grow in the Netherlands. Moreover, a higher yield per hectare gives than in Brazil: 3.5-4 tons per hectare with experienced growers [6]. That equates to 1500 kg of soy protein per hectare. Sufficient for a whopping 500,000 liters of soy milk per hectare per year. In other words: we could grow enough soy for the complete milk consumption of the Netherlands, 975 million liters, on an area of 2000 square kilometers (this is approximately the area of the province of Limburg). But soy is wrong. So you can't.

Lying to start wars

In general, wars are a very bad idea. Wars cause a lot of human suffering. And there are many victims, both dead and disabled. Countries are also turning into wasteland. The disruption is ruining the lives of millions of people. So no sensible person can be for war. Yet wars are still the rule. Also wars started by democratic countries.

This is possible because the people are being lied to. Consider the weapons of mass destruction of the then Iraqi dictator Saddam, which later turned out not to exist. On this basis, Saddam's regime was overthrown, which has now been replaced by a pro-Iranian regime. With hundreds of thousands of deaths as a result. But oil profits and those of companies like Halliburton and Raytheon were assured. Interesting detail: the energy content of the depleted uranium munitions thrown on Iraq was sufficient to supply all households in North America for four years. free of electricity to provide.

The masks lie and corona test lie

An example a little closer to home. The way in which the Dutch government tackled the corona crisis was characterized by lie upon lie. For example, the government claimed that there was insufficient testing capacity. And made little move to increase this capacity. The result was that the Dutch corona figures compared favorably with those abroad, such as Germany and Belgium. And the Netherlands was excluded when, for example, flights to Germany and Belgium were stopped. That yielded quite a bit of economic profit. In reality, the excess mortality in 2020 already shows that the Netherlands is at least as badly affected as the neighboring countries: about the same as Belgium and much more severe than Germany. [3]

Mouth masks were not necessary, the government claimed. In the rest of the world, including at the WHO, it was already known in the spring of 2020 that the wearing of mouth masks the best prevention against covid-19 spread. The reason for this lie was to prevent the Dutch from hoarding medical mouth masks. There was a great lack of this in healthcare. If the government had told the truth, then Dutch factories could have switched en masse to indigenous production of face masks, as happened in China, for example. Or we could have collaborated with our Belgian, French and German neighbors.

May lie? The Pinocchio doll's nose became longer when it was lying. Source: Adrian Michael / Wikimedia Commons

Does lying make sense?

From the previous examples we see that lying to the population always has a negative effect. Even if the liar's intentions are noble. Lies destroy credibility and trust, that is, social capital. Keeping up lies requires secrecy and censorship. Lies also cause wrong policies and steer society in the wrong direction. All of this is a high price for a short term benefit.

False is wrong. Joking is never allowed. No, not even to save the world. There is no such thing as white lying. If we are too stupid and cowardly as a species to grasp and act on the truth, we don't deserve to survive.

1. T. Bodin et al., Intervention to reduce heat stress and improve efficiency among sugarcane workers in El Salvador: Phase 1, Occup Environ Med. 2016 Jun; 73 (6): 409–416.
3. Meat diets boost kids growth, Nature, 2005
4. Euromomo, Excess deaths (interactive charts)
5. Angelica Sousa and Katrin A Kopf-Bolanz, Nutritional implications of an Increasing Consumption of Non-Dairy Plant-Based Beverages Instead of Cow's Milk in Switzerland, Adv Dairy Res 2017, 5: 4DOI: 10.4172 / 2329-888X.1000197
6. Local soy, WUR Depot

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