The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty

Focusing on the 9th Commandment this month—you should not lie—I perused Amazon for books about lying.  I ran across this one by Duke University cognitive science professor Dan Ariely.  In the book, he investigates why and when cheating occurs, debates its usefulness and questions how it can be discouraged.

Ariely asks, “Is dishonesty largely restricted to a few bad apples, or is it a more widespread problem?”  He theorizes that if only a few bad apples are responsible for most of the cheating in the world, we might easily be able to remedy the problem.  But if the problem is not confined to a few outliers, that would mean that anyone could behave dishonestly at work and at home—you and I included.

To learn more about his findings and what he wrote about in The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone–Especially Ourselves, check out my summary of Dan Ariely’s 2013 book.

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Are Your Pants on Fire?

As a kid, do you remember saying, “Liar, liar, pants on fire”?  Or am I recalling the rhetoric from the last Presidential election campaign?  I thought this picture from the Gospel Tract Society captures the sentiment of the 9th Commandment well.

As Leadership Ethics Online points out, the American people have had to endure regular news of scandals in business and government, all based on misconduct covered over by lies.  In fact, many Americans are so accustomed to lying leaders, they are cynical.  Lying has become the rule instead of the exception.

Leadership Ethics Online goes on to note that a series of U.S. Presidents have engaged in conduct some charged was impeachable:  Nixon (Watergate), Reagan (Iran-Contra), Clinton (lying under oath), and G.W. Bush (false information to Congress regarding weapons of mass destruction).  Clinton was impeached, and all of the others either resigned before impeachment was completed, or the impeachment proceedings never passed Congress.  In either case, their moral authority was eroded.

Out of This World Leaders must choose a different path.  Maintaining our credibility calls for special character.  We can learn a lot from Richard Wolfe’s book on Character of Christian Leadership.

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