The Right to Lie: It's Okay to Lie

Gemini version of this post

Few days ago, I was discussing with Mom about why people shouldn’t be judged for lying, as long as their lies don’t hurt anyone. Why would someone who lies deserve punishment, even if they didn’t hurt anyone? We all lie, let’s be honest, and we always have our reasons: either to protect ourselves from the bad judgement of others, or to protect our dignity or privacy. Whether lying or not, is our decision, not others’, and it’s completely fine and natural… as long as we don’t hurt anyone, of course.

Perhaps friends are not friends if you can’t trust them with the truth; but sometimes we need friends, even if fake ones. Loneliness is demonstrably harmful for mental health, we’re social beings. Maybe your “friends” wouldn’t talk to you if they knew your socio-economic situation isn’t good, so you decide to lie. The problem is theirs, not yours: you’re only protecting yourself, you don’t want to be judged, but you don’t want to be alone either. Why would you deserve punishment?

Adolescence strengthens the need for approval and belonging; but the expectations of people are toxic and detrimental, and on top of that, social media is constantly exploiting and reinforcing people’s psychological needs for profit. You want to be part of the world, but you’re in reality not up to anyone’s expectations, so you decide to lie, to fake so people will accept you. Again, the problem is not yours, you’re only trying to fulfill your natural needs in a natural way. You’re not worth any less because of lying.

We can’t expect everyone to be fully honest and transparent, to tell the truth and nothing more, to be truly “perfect” according to our trashy standards; because let’s face it, we haven’t earned anyone’s trust, we are evil and we don’t deserve being told the truth. We have no right whatsoever to badly judge and hurt people who lie, and much less to force others to be honest. A person who lies is not worth less than someone who doesn’t: it’s okay to lie. Lie, lie to everyone, don’t feel bad about it, it’s your right, and people are shit anyway.

Of course, I’m talking about real people with real feelings, under normal circumstances, not faceless corporations and machines without heart or remorse. Corporations, public or private, must be always held accountable if they don’t act according to the interests of humanity. Interests of humanity are decided only by humanity, never by the private capital of a single large entity and robots. Corporations under no circumstance whatsoever deserve to be trusted, we must never give our souls to them, because as soon they have the chance, they will fuck us and take everything from us.

After reflecting about “the right to lie” for a while, I decided to read about it. I found this interesting article from Harvard, called “The Right to Lie: Kant on Dealing with Evil.” I highly recommend giving it a read, I learned a lot. The author makes use of philosophical frameworks to analyse lies and evil in different contexts, using examples.

Kant argues in Metaphysical Principles of Virtue, that lying is a violation of a perfect duty to oneself, that “one must never under any circumstances or for any purpose tell a lie” and that if one does tell a lie, “one is responsible for all of the consequences that ensue, even if they were completely unforeseeable.” But then, in Lectures on Ethics, he acknowledges that people are evil:

If we were to be at all times punctiliously truthful we might often become victims of the wickedness of others who were ready to abuse our truthfulness. If all men were well-intentioned it would not only be a duty not to lie, but no one would do so because there would be no point in it. But as men are malicious, it cannot be denied that to be punctiliously truthful is often dangerous… if I cannot save myself by maintaining silence, then my lie is a weapon of defense.