As the old joke goes – how do you know if a politician is lying? – his lips are moving. With election season in full steam, the good people of Indiana are steeped in competing perspectives often labeled lies by the rivalrous camps. One might imagine that some of these so-called dishonest statements are, in fact, points of view rather than measurable and specific data. Regardless, each of the would-be candidates take the lectern to claim their own moral superiority supposedly deep-rooted in honesty, integrity, and a willingness to speak the truth.
But does the truth really matter? People have been prone to exaggeration and puffery for as long as we’ve had command of the language. We’ve all stretched a bit to bring comfort to others. Anyone with teenagers is probably guilty of observing the colossal Mount Vesuvius like blemish forming on the forehead of their progeny, and claiming – it really doesn’t look that bad – when we know full-well it may frighten the villagers. But, our goal is to do good and help the young ones overcome.
So when we bring this almost quaint culture of white lies into the Internet age, what happens? Now elected officials tell us – well, of course I lied because you wouldn’t have voted for me otherwise. And, reality television stars proclaim – well, of course I lied because if you knew that I was in love with someone else you wouldn’t have continued with our really cool wedding. Magazines and Internet sites post lists of lies to tell to get upgraded hotel rooms, take advantage of the family leave act and effectively avoid getting caught in an affair.
To tell the truth, there is a disturbing trend of prevarication in our nation. Is the honest human an artifact and the greasy liar the contemporary archetype?