Should governments lie to the people

Blog link and response below
What would happen if a government or political party decided to tell the whole truth?

Speaking the truth, for me, is not just a virtue but a principle of living in harmony. It is the right thing to do, and doesn’t really need to be justified. It is the half-truths that I’m concerned with. Sometimes a one-sided truth is presented to persuade people on a predetermined agenda, and sometimes people just don’t know the full truth. Is there such a thing as knowing the whole truth?

To discuss the topic at hand, how does a government handle the truth with its people. The truth as much as it can be portrayed accurately, I believe, will have different responses depending on how informed and educated the people listening to it are. In a democracy where the majority might be less informed to make a good judgement, what do you do?

Some truths are very complicated and people will not be bothered to understand it properly, most people like things told to them in a nutshell, some decisions are not easy to make even within one’s own mind “idealism versus realism”. They’d rather let hard decisions be made by others, who they may falsely trust as experts.

People may feel they are willing to go to war over something, but generations of WW1 and WW2 who are not with us anymore, will have a higher threshold, knowing what war really means, a sad fact that may let history repeat itself.

People may argue against loosing civil liberties, but what if it’s the only way to insure their security. One lunatic can do more harm than a whole army or war had ever done in history, and trigger retaliations which may result in human extinction. How do you deal with that? to say I told you so after the fact doesn’t really help.

I wish I had a definite answer, but I will say Dialogue is better than Rhetoric, and democracy may not be the best, unless people are educated and make them selves informed about world affairs, spending more time searching for the truth, than watching useless addictive TV shows. Not likely.

So I would probably side with Plato in advocating a “Philosopher King” before telling the truth to a democratic people who might not make an informed decision. If all it takes is a few punch-lines, after a terrorist attack to convince a nation to go to war, we have problems.

3 responses to “Should governments lie to the people

  1. The intricacies of war are no longer the same. Evil cowards have their own agenda in mind and use their “religions” for justifications of evil acts.

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  2. Thanks for you thoughts Rellick. By Lunatic, I’m talking specifically about crazy, and probably very intelligent “Psychopaths”. Individuals, rather than a religion. Most religious and spiritual people as with most people don’t fall under this category.

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