The Price Of A Lie
It is sometimes thought that telling a lie merely harms the individual who is telling the lie, the silent witness who is abiding the lie, or the person who is slandered by the lie. However, our willingness to tell, “little white lies” for the sake of expedience has a terrible power. Our lies can literally reshape our common reality from one based on objective truth to one rooted in ideological propaganda. We must stop allowing ourselves to be emotionally blackmailed into abiding or abetting someone else’s lie. If we fail to bear witness to truth, we render ourselves unfit for freedom!
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What price do we pay when we lie? We each understand that sometimes a “little white lie” can save much needless complication. In fact, a “little white lie“ of omission can prevent hurt feelings by simply not saying critical things.
Aren’t these sort of lies the grease that lubricate relationships? Who really wants to hear what we believe anyway? Isn’t it often just easier to evade a difficult reality by embellishing it?
The temptation to alter one’s witness to serve convenience is addictive. Who wants to be that tedious martinet who disrupts harmony by insisting on their own discordant divisiveness? Only a zealot would willingly disturb social concord; only someone whose inner sensibilities mattered more to them than getting along with others.
Lies can be the required entry fee to be allowed to enter into some form of desirable exclusivity. In business and when courting, who hasn’t feigned interest in something to build a bridge with another?
No human being can claim a perfect record of pure integrity to the truth. All of us are guilty, at some time, of lying as an act of commission or omission.
Recognizing our own fallibility is honest, but muting our consciences to easily tell lies is disastrous. Anyone not in the habit of standing up for their perception of the truth will be easily bowled over by the powerful and the passionate, even when they lie.
Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, famously extolled the power of “The Big Lie”. He claimed that even the most outlandish of lies would be accepted as being at least plausible by a critical mass of any civil population. All that was necessary to gull the masses was a willingness to proclaim the untruth loudly, frequently, and with a shameless boldness.
Uncertain souls assume that even the most ludicrous claims being debated must have some absolute validity. Otherwise, why would the powerful and wise among us take such a notion seriously enough to discuss it? Faced with their own fragile befuddlement, many find it expedient to join in with the discussion and perhaps even conclude that that which had seemed ridiculous is correct.
One of the only intellectually honest believers in Communism to have ever lived, George Orwell, rightly claimed that, “Freedom is the ability to say that 2+2=4”. He saw that, without the freedom to bear genuine witness to life and truth, liberty was impossible.
This is why Orwell, at great personal cost, ultimately rejected all forms of existent Communism. All Red regimes everywhere eagerly murder any individual foolish enough to express anything at variance with the ever-changing Party Line.
This is why the U. S. Constitution makes an unfettered freedom of expression the very First Amendment to our Bill of Rights: there is no life worth living where one is compelled to lie by an all-powerful government.
However, both Goebbels and Orwell only alluded to the most subtle danger posed to our freedom by our willingness to expediently lie.
All philosophies and religions require that certain fundamental assumptions be taken on faith. The power of faith is unquantifiable.
From a purely materialistic and sociological point-of-view, the past five thousand years demonstrate that there is little that matches the power of human conviction. Beliefs sculpt history.
Every culture since the early Paleolithic Era has developed mythic concepts of magic and miracle to explain the inexplicable. Apparently, such wonders are so ubiquitous that there isn’t a group of people anywhere on this planet who have not had to adapt their concepts of reality to include the supernatural.
When a person knowingly expresses an untruth, they give power to that false construct, which is why every historically significant ideological group requires its adherents to make an overt statement of faith.
When the NSDAP made virulent Antisemitism a requisite element of Nazism, every member had to parrot slanders against the Jews. All personal experiences with real Jewish neighbors and coworkers were willfully abandoned when an aspiring National Socialist spoke the Party Line.
Individual experience became irrelevant. Independent wisdom was annihilated and replaced with groupthink. The specter of anti-Semitic fever dreams became ever-more palpable, until social reality in Germany warped to adapt itself to the new orthodoxy.
Those who lied helped create a new reality. This same thing is happening today and it threatens all we value.
Gender is a social construct, based absolutely on biological sex. While there are and always have been those who do not conform, sex and gender norms exist in every past and present human culture worldwide, without exception.
Homosexuals are not uniquely fragile people whose ongoing mental and physical well-being requires the rest of us to suddenly treat their assertions as being objectively real. Society simply cannot conform to the mutually-exclusive visions of countless people who are unhappy with our cultural norms.
The Earth’s climate has always been in flux, and human beings have continually adapted society and technology to thrive in whatever new conditions eventuate. We need not commit cultural or economic suicide in order to artificially freeze the global climate into any one state. The biosphere’s survival does not require human extinction.
Western Civilization did and does reveal that it has flaws. However, we of the West are the inheritors of those who innovated the concepts of human rights, self-government, free markets, industrial technologies, and the means of communications and travel that have connected our world.
Calling pride in the West “White Supremacy”, Americans “genocidal settler-colonists”, and our living standard “unsustainably problematic” reveals a willingness to emphasize all that might be bad about us while ignoring everything good. Such cultural masochism is not truth. It is propaganda.
Today, many are being pressured to prove their ideologically-defined virtue beyond any doubt. How can anyone conclusively prove that they are not a thought criminal? Our independent-mindedness makes us each an inevitable thought criminal.
If we continue to allow ourselves to be blackmailed into either silently abiding lies or actively speaking them, we risk nothing less than a new Dark Age. If we fail to decry lies when we encountered them, we participate in the ongoing degradation of personal conscience.
Without individual integrity, we are unfit for freedom. If we fail to personally oppose lies with truth, we risk these lies flourishing to become our new truth.
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