What is a lie?

I had a great conversation with a friend the other day and we talked about lying. They were having a little relationship difficulty and one issue centered around a lie that had been told. As we discussed the ins and outs of lies, white lies, big lies, little lies, etc., this became clear to me:

A lie is an attempt to manipulate someone into doing something in accordance with your wishes when if they knew the truth they probably would not.

In essence, I see a lie as an attempt to manipulate another into doing something that is not in their best interest.

If you've read other entries in my blog, you know that one of my primary themes is freedom. I believe in freedom. I believe that God values our freedom. I believe freedom is very important in human relationships and in nearly every other aspect of life.

When we are free, we are able to do what is in our best interest. I add to that this caveat: our freedom should not take away the freedom of others to do what is in their best interest. I believe that God designed the world in such a way that things work best when people do what's in their best interest while at the same time respecting the freedom of others. Essentially the golden rule: "treat others as you would like to be treated."

Occasionally our interests conflict with the interests of others. I believe it is at this point that we are offered the temptation to lie.

Sometimes we want something very badly; however, we know that those around us may not want the same thing. I think we know when another will not want what we want. We know, like an innate sense, when it isn't in their best interest. When we suspect that another person does not want what we want, we have to choose at that point to press on and try to get it anyway, or back off. Its in our nature to try to get what we want and therefore we limit the information another has or in some way "frame" things so that the other person will "see" what we want them to see. We manipulate; we lie.

Quality human relationships are based on the truth and both parties are free to act as they see best. We enter into relationships with others because we see something of value in that person. We choose to have a relationship with another person because we believe that in some way we will be better off having known that person. Relationships are based on a mutual benefit. This applies to marriages, families, business, friendships, you name it. We have relationships that will in some way benefit us. I don't believe that this is an evil characteristic. Even when we help the poor or serve in a ministry to others, we benefit from that relationship. Service to others has its own rewards.

Lying takes the benefit away from the other person. We still want to benefit, but our lie prevents the other person from being able to benefit. If we want to have quality relationships, we've got to decide that we value their desires as much as we value ours. If we don't do this, the relationship will be shallow and short lived. So in the end, it's actually in our own best interest to seek the best interest of others!

Lying actually undermines our own interests by removing another's reason for being in the relationship and thus - robbing us of the benefit of that relationship. Lying is stealing - and people will not put up with that for long. If you lie enough to another person, they will know they are being taken advantage of and leave the relationship.

Oh - I can already hear the naysayers - "What about the little white lies? If my wife says, 'does this make look fat?' I can't say yes or I'll be in trouble!" There are plenty of good answers to that question. If it does make her look fat, how about saying, "yes" for starters. If she is not attractive in a particular outfit, telling her that she is attractive is not helping her.

People trust truth tellers! If you don't want to tell someone the truth, don't say anything. People don't need to know everything you're thinking. But when you speak, speak the truth - it may not always appear on the surface to be the "nicest" thing to do, but by doing so you are always preserving the right of others to decide for themselves what is best for them. They may or may not like hearing what you have to say, but once you've said it, they now have the option of responding to it in a way that is best for them. People around you will know that they are safer being around you, as a truth teller, then around the "nice" person who lies.

It's Not About the Temperature

Global warming, global cooling, and every other environmental concern has but one end in mind - to stop the advance of mankind.

Liberals, without understanding what they profess, are filled with anger toward mankind and consider people a cancer on the earth. They will advance any cause that hurts humanity. They are for the reduction of population on the earth. They don't care about quality of life for the masses (which requires energy). They hate all who succeed and all who improve the quality of life for others - hence, they hate the corporations that work to give us the products we need for living (homes, automobiles, food, fuel, clothing). They hate freedom and free markets because freedom makes life worth living. They are ideologically aligned with terrorists (without realizing it) because they both hate America and the good that America brings to the world.

Environmentalism, and every other issue held dear by the left, is merely a vehicle to destroy the quality of life for as many people as possible. It is vital for us to understand why they choose the battles they choose. Why environmentalism? Why smoking? Why abortion? Why homosexuality? These are the issues that gain them the most ground, the issues that have powerfully seductive messages and at the same time do great damage to the quality of life for millions.

Consider the messages: Environmentalists say that they are concerned about the planet on which we all live. Who can disagree with wanting clean water, beautiful mountain views, the survival of endangered species? The anti-smoking lobby wins converts by claiming that second hand smoke kills even the person who doesn't smoke (and of course, the children). We want to protect innocent children don't we? We must allow legal abortion to save the innocent girl who got raped and would otherwise die at the hand of a back-alley abortionist. Homosexuality: who can be against two people loving one another? Doesn't the world need more love, not hate?

The average person, who just wants to stay out of trouble and live a peaceful life is seduced by these arguments. The truth of each debate is more challenging to understand and requires more than a sound-bite to articulate. Most people aren't willing to put in the energy required to really understand the issues. These people want what is best for society and are convinced by these seductive arguments to support causes that actually bring harm to many people.

Each one of these issues is strategic. Environmentalism is powerful in its political ability to reduce man's access to energy, to resources, to land, and to use his own property. Each one of these things is necessary for a person to provide for his family and to increase his quality of life. Global warming is about limiting man's access to energy and destroying all the good that energy brings to our quality of life. Enough people are worried about "global warming" to give governments around the world the power to destroy their freedom, their prosperity, their quality of life. We are now reaching the point where merely saying that you don't believe the earth is warming is like saying that the earth is flat - watch out for witch trials next.

Its not about the warming! If it was, liberals would be all in favor of nuclear energy - which they are not. They are in favor of no energy. They don't want to develop domestic energy sources. The only reason they clamor for alternative energy sources is because at this point in time, being for alternative energy is a way of being against oil companies - which we should be supporting. Energy is necessary for living. It is the resource we need to do our jobs, power our homes, feed ourselves, communicate. If it is worthwhile, it requires energy. Simply enjoying a book of poetry required the energy to print and transport the book. People who care about people should be actively searching for ways to support the companies that turn natural resources into energy. Liberals don't do this - they hate the energy companies and will do everything in their power to prevent them from providing inexpensive energy.

Smoking is similar: enough people dislike the smell of smoke that they give away their freedom to government officials who promise them smoke free environments. "I don't smoke so I don't care if the government prevents my neighbor from smoking." We will allow politicians to tell restaurant owners they can't allow smoking on their private property. Once we get comfortable giving away that freedom, other freedoms won't be far behind. The smoking issue is a lever - a lever to move a nation away from freedom towards socialism. Freedom is the issue, not smoking.

Consider the war on terror. Why is the left so opposed to any attempt Bush makes to keep America safe? It isn't about the mistakes he has made. It isn't about weapons of mass destruction. All the liberals believed exactly what Bush did about weapons of mass destruction before the war in Iraq. But Bush is succeeding in advancing freedom in the middle east, and freedom is the only thing that will help them there. Terrorists and radical Islam are full of hatred towards America. Why? We've done nothing to harm them, but yet they hate us with all they have. We are the target of their hatred because we succeed in making life worth living. We spread freedom around the world, we help others in need, we are prosperous, we enjoy living our lives. The terrorists hate that about us - so do the liberals.

Why is it that the left secretly hates the military? Because it is one of the few proper and moral responsibilities of a limited government. So is a police force. One protects our liberty from outside invasion. One protects our liberty from inside criminal activity. Liberals hate them both. If it is a proper and moral function of government, you can bet liberals will stand against it. Did you notice the thousands that marched in protest of the police in New York in December? Both the military and the police protect liberty. Although they don't realize it, liberals support any cause that harms liberty and oppose any cause that helps it. Liberty is mankind's surest foundation for success, prosperity, and quality of life - and that is why it is opposed.

What the issue comes down to - at its deepest level - is hatred for humanity. Liberals are angry, bitter people, full of hatred towards God and the good God desires for all people. The issues liberals hold dear are those that will do the most harm to the most number of people.