Honesty is the Best Policy

August 4, 2011
By Anonymous

"POV Contest Entry"

I heard once that most people tell a lie 3-4 times every ten minutes. I remember that statistic really bothering me. How much of what we hear can we believe if a third of everything we’re told isn’t the truth? People lie every day, about a whole variety of things, from huge lies to the most virtuous of “white” lies. We have a culture built around deceit, and we expel more energy trying to keep up with the complicated lies we’ve told and hold up the façade we’ve built to hide the person that we are, than we do trying to accomplish anything worthwhile. It isn’t a flaw in our modern society, though; scientists think that our ancestors evolved lying as a survival tool centuries ago. Regardless, lying has become an integral part of our society, as natural to some as breathing, and the amount of lies we are all faced with on a daily basis can sometimes be alarming, especially the amount of lies that are slipping past us and being taken as the truth.

A kind of lie that everyone tells are “white” lies. These types of lies are innocent lies, the kind you tell when the truth would hurt more. They are little comments like “I love that shirt!” or “Your kid is so cute.” A white lie is saying “I’m fine” when someone asks you how you are, even though the truth is that you aren’t fine at all. I try to tell lies as little as possible, but it’s hard to go through a single day without telling a little lie that I consider harmless. But how many little lies can you tell before they add up into one big lie? Lies escalate until they are out of control, until fabricated stories are all that you have.

Lawyers and politicians are two groups of people that are notorious for lying. These paid liars are people whose jobs are enormously important; they are the people we should be looking to for the truth. Lawyers are the people who defend the innocent. One expects criminals to lie, but the people in charge of punishing the guilty shouldn’t tell lies. Politicians also lie all the time, even though they are the people in charge of our country, the people who are supposed to have our best interests at heart. It sometimes seems that politicians are the epitome of the worst kind of people that our race can put forward; liars and crooks who are driven by money and power instead of a genuine desire to help improve our country. That’s not to say that all politicians are bad people, they aren’t. There are plenty of good politicians who truly want to make things better. But when everyone is telling lies, how does one know who to trust?
It’s not that lying is an entirely bad thing, either. It can be very useful tool, and it’s impossible to live without. We go through our lives lying, a trait that we develop at a young age and learn from our parents. The white lies one tells throughout the day, the lies deemed necessary, are something that will always be a part of our culture. Maybe lying comes with language, or maybe it’s just a part of human nature that we can’t change. Either way, lying is just a part of life.

Why do people lie? There is a variety of reasons; for vanity, for climbing the social ladder, to impress people, or to get out of trouble. People lie on their resumes and in their job interviews, to people they just met, and to people they’ve known for years. Most people value honesty, a core lesson taught to you as a child, both in school and at home, which is why it confuses me that people continue to lie all the time. Everyone wants to seem better than they are, but most people you would want to impress would be more interested in hearing the truth—and getting to know the real you—than hearing a lie.

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