Monday, February 18, 2008

Lucia Lying to a thief [UPDATE]

Peter Cresswell has written a post discussing why it is virtuous to lie to a thief. That's what I love* about Objectivists, they turn the virtues upside-down. For instance, selfishness, according to Ayn Rand, rather than being a vice, instead becomes a virtue, something to aspire to. And here we have PC arguing that it is honourable to withhold truth from thieves, because to not do so would be to participate in evil. He then draws a parallel between lying to a Gestapo officer seeking the location of your wife and lying to the thieves who stole the medals from the war museum.

Can I suggest that the examples, the context given by PC are completely different from giving a reward for the return of medals? This situation can instead be likened to a hostage situation, where you hand over money for the safe return of your wife and children, because to not do so would be to jeopardise their lives, which matter far more than just the money you would hand over. And to lie in the situation of the medals would further seriously harm the reputation of the police, to the point where no reward in the future will be treated seriously. The harm, the evil of the lie would be turned inwards.

So to say that lying in this case would be a virtue would be to ignore the greater context of what a reward is and what you are trying to gain by offering one in the first place. I agree context matters, and in this case the context is being misrepresented by PC.

And just so we can weave in the Gestapo officer, I'll finish with a quote from a woman who had far more experience with the Gestapo than PC.

Hans Kruger, the Gestapo chief in southeast Poland: “Are you an enemy of the German Reich?”
Countess Karolina Lanckoronska: "Yes, obviously.”

UPDATE: I can see I'm going to need to clarify my position on this post at some point. Around the time of writing I was not able to do so.

Related Link: Should you ever lie to a thief ~ Not PC

* the word love is used facetiously

2 comment(s):

James said...

You aren't up to taking PC on in a debate of minds Loose start unarmed.

ZenTiger said...

James, stop telling fibs. Naughty boy.

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