The thing about lying is, it has a way of taking over your life. It’s the old slippery-slope thing. You tell a little white lie because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, and you find out hey, that was actually pretty easy. And then you tell another one to save yourself embarrassment. And another because you just really, really want the shiny happy outcome that telling it will help you achieve. And another one because you were too lazy to tell the complex, messy truth when a simple lie would work just as well.
And then you start telling them automatically, just because.
My wife and I are dealing with this issue with our daughter these days. She isn’t so much lying as just being dishonest with herself about whether or not she really looked for the shirt before complaining that it wasn’t in her drawer, or had time to pick up the dog poop before going to see her friend, or really is (or isn’t) willing to make the commitment to continue with her piano lessons. And then, having lied to herself, she tells us what she now honestly believes (for certain values of the term) to be the truth. I mean, if it was good enough to get past her own bullshit detector, shouldn’t it be good enough for ours?
Well, actually, no.
An interesting case that kind of goes the other way is this one, in which the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy presumes to tell parents how they should talk to their kids about marijuana: Your government wants you to lie to your kids.
As the debunking by AlterNet’s Bruce Mirken amply demonstrates, many of the things the White House drug czar wants you to tell your kids are blatant falsehoods. But I think parents willing to take the current administration’s assertions on pretty much anything at face value, and then pass it on to their kids, are guilty of the same kind of failure as my daughter is when she lies to herself, and then expects her parents to believe her.
Yeah, well, good luck with that.