Tuesday, August 09, 2011

What do you think about white lies?

That is today's prompt from NaBloPoMo. This month's theme is fiction, and while today's prompt takes a turn from last week's book-themed prompts, I can see how this relates to "fiction." Unlike the book-themed questions, I actually have an answer for this one.

I've been described by some as a Rules Person. My new roommate likes to tease me for refusing to jaywalk. I describe myself as pedantic when it comes to rules. It may seem incongruous with the above to announce that I think white lies, and even lies that aren't white, are at times perfectly justified.

The logic behind my pedantry, when it comes to rules, ethics, and morality, is somewhat deductive. It starts from a broad premise and then works its way down. If there is some other broad moral premise before you get to the question, "Do I tell the truth or lie?", I believe that this broad moral premise overrides the moral statement, "Lying is wrong."

The example that comes up most often in my life and my advice to others is privacy. You have a right to privacy. I have a right to privacy. The First Amendment even protects that right! (Sorry, school is in my head too much lately.) If someone is asking you to tell you something that is none of their business, it is not immoral to answer them with a lie, white or otherwise. Because the overriding moral here is your right to privacy, and the fact that certain things are none of anyone's business unless you deem it to be so.

If my phone battery hadn't used itself up calling people from my purse yesterday, I could have ended this with a picture of some hydrangeas in my neighborhood that are so blue, it seems surreal.

What do you think about white lies?

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