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Is lying ever justified? Show more Show less
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“Lying’s bad.” There’s not a single child who hasn’t heard this phrase or some variation of it. We’re taught at a young age that the truth is important, that you shouldn’t lie, and yet lies slip off the tongue so easily, some small, others painful. If so, can they be justifiable?

Yes, lying is justified Show more Show less

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To protect the people you love, sometimes you lie

Lies are thought of as traps people fall into but sometimes people use them as shields. Maybe it doesn't work out the way they thought it would or wanted it to but the intention matters. When you care about someone, wanting to protect them isn't wrong. The execution of that protection though can be.

The Argument

No one likes being lied to. For some it can be mentally or emotionally scarring to be lied to. Not all lies are told because someone's trying to wiggle out of blame or to actively hurt someone. Sometimes lies are told to protect people.[1] The last thing anyone wants to do is hurt their loved ones but sometimes the situation just isn't ideal. Not situations like 'I don't want my parents to find out I got a ticket' or 'I bombed my final'. Situations where you don't want people to let you know how much you're hurting or how much others are hurting. Sometimes you lie about just how bad things are to people don't go through those bad times with you. Do people want to be lied to about things like that? Absolutely not, but sometimes there's just things people shouldn't have to go through. Some situations where you're lying on a hospital bed, hurting, looking nothing like you used to, and you don't want the people you love to have to see you in that state. Does this make lying the right thing to do? No, but it also doesn't quite make it the wrong thing either. It's never wrong to want to protect someone you care about. It's not wrong to not want to see them hurting.[2]

Counter arguments

Love is a driving factor of wanting to protect someone. When you care about someone you don't want to see that person hurt or sad. Negative emotions are a part of life though. They're unavoidable and should not be avoided but faced. To bar people from the truth does them a great disservice. Love should not be placating lies but strong support to weather the truth together. One of the reasons people lie about things is so they don't drag people down with what they themselves are going through.[3] This is common with people who are suffering life threatening illnesses or life altering occasions, usually ones that include death. Lying allows them to avoid the truth and other peoples pity. The people who are lied to usually get hurt because of this. They want to stand with the person and support them with love and care. While it's a noble endeavor to protect someone, protecting them from the truth rarely does any good.[4] There are truths that no one wants to hear like 'I'm the one who crashed the car' or 'you're dad isn't your biological dad because I cheated on him with his brother' but lies like that benefit only the liar and are never used to protect others but themselves. The ones like 'we didn't tell you grandma was sick but she passed recently' or 'your aunt just finished going through chemo,' actively try to protect but they're all selfish lies. Telling lies, in a way, doesn't protect but coddles. It's not just the lack of trust that stings but the lack of faith that the other will understand, can be strong enough. Tears and sadness do not mean weakness. Being hurt by the truth does not mean weakness. Lies aren't justified because no matter the intentions they're more an insult to a person's courage and resilience than an act of protection.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Lying is sometimes done to protect people.

Rejecting the premises

[PR1] Lies, no matter the intention, hurt

References

  1. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1998-mar-10-ls-27272-story.html
  2. https://www.livescience.com/46992-how-lying-affects-social-networks.html
  3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-forward/201803/the-complicated-truth-about-lying-your-partner
  4. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/whats_good_about_lying
This page was last edited on Monday, 9 Nov 2020 at 05:18 UTC

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