Friday, September 28, 2012
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Lying
Commentary: Immanuel Kant said that lying was always morally wrong. He argued that all persons are born with an "intrinsic worth" that he called human dignity. This dignity derives from the fact that humans are uniquely rational agents, capable of freely making their own decisions, setting their own goals, and guiding their conduct by reason. To be human, said Kant, is to have the rational power of free choice; to be ethical, he continued, is to respect that power in oneself and others.
Lies are morally wrong, then, for two reasons.
First, lying corrupts the most important quality of my being human: my ability to make free, rational choices. Each lie I tell contradicts the part of me that gives me moral worth.
Second, my lies rob others of their freedom to choose rationally. When my lie leads people to decide other than they would had they known the truth, I have harmed their human dignity and autonomy.
Kant believed that to value ourselves and others as ends instead of means, we have perfect duties (i.e., no exceptions) to avoid damaging, interfering with, or misusing the ability to make free decisions; in other words - no lying.
This rational view is always the accepted view in a Democracy where truth is the currency of making informed choices about who best represents our collective point of view. It coincides with the teachings of religious and moral values that every civilization teaches. The foundation upon which this country was conceived and founded was an that an "informed electorate" could govern itself through selecting representatives of good moral character.
"AMERICAN VALUES" is an often repeated mantra—a sanctimonious Republican Party line aimed at establishing moral superiority—yet where are these "values" when it comes to lying. They evaporate into the morass of ever changing talking points without a trace of moral compunction and "truth" is at all times subordinate to "the party ideology". Mitt Romney has no reluctance to lie repeatedly in rapid succession often contradicting his own statements within the space of minutes. Can we trust a man who wants to lead us when he lies as often as he speaks.
We all know why people lie—to protect themselves, from exposing their weaknesses, to deceive the people being lied too—but, to what end? Why would Romney conceal his intent with lies from those he would lead? There is something deeply flawed and unsettling about his compulsive ability to lie without even flinching.
Personally when someone lies to me it's a slap in the face—an insult that stings to the core of my being. It tells me that I am not respected and that the person lying to me thinks I am too dumb to know that I am being lied to. How do you trust someone that lies repeatedly about almost everything.
Kant was right—lying is always wrong—its a serious character flaw—and because of his propensity to lie serially—Mitt Romney is wrong for America and unfit to be our President.