"Our acceptance of lies becomes a cultural cancer that eventually shrouds and reorders reality until moral garbage becomes as invisible to us as water is to a fish."
- Stephanie Ericsson
I know a friend whose biggest pet peeve is lying. And I had to ask him, "Do you think honest is always the best policy?"
His response: "I try to be as honest as possible. Very rarely do I think lying's the best [for any situation]." But what if he knew how lying is inevitable in our everyday lives and how they could be of use in certain situations, like Ericsson's Vietnam veteran example?
In "The Ways We Lie", Ericsson covers on the many ways we lie in our daily lives, besides the typical deceptive statements. Some include the notorious 'white lies', omission, delusion, facades, and groupthink scenarios. Lies are mostly devices for selfish motives or self-promotion (though I think anything is rarely selfless), but is it really necessary to call these lies "moral garbage"? Granted, Ericsson does acknowledge that some of these lies can be honorable or functional for living. For instance, if we all kept in mind the perils that are rife in this world, I doubt we could ever want to carry out any part of our lives beyond one step. So we use delusion to tell ourselves that everything'll be okay. Or how about the white lie? A former sergeant during the Vietnam War (the veteran as mentioned before) knew that one of his men was killed during a mission. However, he listed him as missing in action so that his family would receive a larger compensation than if he listed him as killed in action. Or. . . what if you lived during the Third Reich movement in Germany and you knew where your Jewish neighbors were hiding out? Would you rat them out even if you were worried about them?
Then in "The Insufficiency of Honesty" by Stephen Carter, he states that honesty can actually be used quite selfishly. In fact, there are key differences between honesty and integrity:
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