Honesty with Wisdom is the Best Policy

“Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.” -Groucho Marx

Damien Riley Who AwardIf we were always honest about what we think, we would offend almost everyone in our circle. Sometimes we have to craft a lie to keep peace. “I’m so sorry I said that to you, I wasn’t thinking,” for an example is a bold faced lie. If you weren’t thinking you’d be asleep, dead, or hypnotized. Bloggers are rhetoricians, trying to persuade, therefore we lie sometimes. We all craft lies to keep our lives manageable. I was in jury duty recently and I heard several people, after taking the oath, say what were clearly lies to the judge. It almost seemed like he expected it because he had a clarifying question ready for each one. “I have my own business and if I am away, we don’t make any money.” The judge would reply,

“What type of business … oh in that business you don’t make money this time of year right? etc.” I saw many people try to get out only to be found out by the judge and guess what, no one was taken into custody. One guy even said, “My views are against judges.” Guess what, the judge laughed and said, “You’ll do fine.”

There are a myriad of examples from my work but of course I never lie, I am only speaking of other people. It is illogical to presume honesty is always the best policy. You might say the best policy is to say what produces the best outcome for all parties involved. I don’t think we should be concerned that people lie to get through life. The bigger concern is the gravity of a lie. If a child is in a horrible accident, disfiguring them for life and from the hospital bed, their parent calls their teacher asking is she/he has done enough to complete the year’s requirements, and she/he hasn’t but only by a small test, should the teacher tell the truth or practice leniency and common sense and inform the parent and child they have completed the requirements? Where you draw the line in situations like this is what determines a lie I believe. Of course most this post has been tongue in cheek but there is some truth in it. When you are dealing children, you should always model honesty as the best policy. At the same time, to say “always” and mean it as an adult can be considered dishonest in and of itself. In conclusion, anyone who disagrees with me, I can adjust my words if you like, let’s talk ;)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Truth or Dare.”

Author: Damien Riley

Damien Riley is a blogger, film reviewer, & podcaster who writes a column at RileyCentral.blog once a week. He has an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton. He married a high-desert princess (now his queen). They have 3 children.