I don’t believe that the basic rules of civilized society have really changed. In fact, I know they haven’t.
Having said that, I must acknowledge that there seems to be a growing number of people who act as if they have. Which particular basics, you may ask, am I referring to?
I’m talking about one of the most fundamental principles of “right”, as opposed to “wrong” behavior.
I realize that I am about to step in it again, and I offer an apology—not for what I am about to say, but for anyone who might be offended by the following words. Okay, here goes.
The line between right and wrong has not wavered. Honesty still matters. The truth is still the truth no matter what kind of spin you try to put on things. The Golden Rule is still an important guideline for how to behave outside of your own bathroom.
And doing the thing that is right is still the same right thing to do as ever it was.
There seems to be an attitude lately that I have to tell you baffles the hell out of me. That attitude, stated simply is, “everyone lies, so what does it matter if I lie, too?”
Really? Everyone lies? I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with that assertion.
This attitude I have heard expressed in those exact words by more people I’d never think would say such a thing than you could possibly imagine.
Or maybe you can imagine it because you’ve noticed the same thing, too.
It’s not just kids in defense of bad behavior spouting this maxim. It’s those you would consider to be pillars of the community. Those you used to be able to count on to be an example for others to follow.
And it’s not just that everyone lies, they will tell you. They will tell you that everyone lies all the time.
When someone says that to me, my response is automatic: I don’t. I don’t lie as a matter of course, and I don’t lie all the time. In fact, I don’t lie, period. And by lying, I’m not talking about being diplomatic to save the tender feelings of others. I’m talking about all-out, bald-faced lies. I’m talking about saying that which is not the truth—saying things as fact which actually are not facts at all.
Looking back on the way I was raised, this attitude is enough to make my parents roll over in their graves.
Lying is the one trend in our society that worries me more than any other. When we let go of the truth, it’s as if we cut the bindings that hold us together as a society. When we let go of the truth, we open ourselves up to that which is untrue, that which is said or espoused for a purpose that is unclear, in the shadows—dark.
“You’re being naïve again,” I’ve been told. “People lie to prove their points, to win friends, debates, and elections. People lie because otherwise, they wouldn’t win.”
Really? Imagine that! Guess what, cupcake? Not only can you not always win, sometimes you don’t deserve to.
The one thing about accomplished liars is that they`re not particularly wedded to any one specific lie; they can change their lies to suit the needs of the moment, and because they can and because they do, those needs are often and can be found to be complete reversals of previous lies.
I don’t know where this trend is going to take us, in the end. The greatest accomplishments of our history have been predicated on the truth, not on lies. Despite the fact that I am Canadian, the one line that comes to mind when I think of that is, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”
Wow! There are not only “truths” but there are “self-evident” truths.
Let me state that again, in case you missed it: The greatest accomplishments of our history have been predicated on the truth, not on lies. As long as we cling to the latter, we abandon the forward momentum humanity has enjoyed since it first came upon this earth.
And let me say just one more thing, if I may. When you tell a lie, you are not just “telling a lie”, or “fibbing”, or “bending the truth” or putting “spin” on something.
When you tell a lie, you are bearing false witness against your neighbor.