Holten: Thou shalt not lie
Have you ever heard of the Ten Commandments? You know, those 10 rules that were etched on stone tablets by God on Mount Sinai and given to Moses to carry down the hill to the people below who, much to his chagrin, were boozing, partaking in orgies and doing a lot of the things that we do today in Hollywood, Las Vegas, Times Square, one block from the train station in Williston and on our couch.
I was looking through the list the other day, just to remind myself what not to do, and once again wished that there had been one commandment that plainly said, “Thou shalt not lie.”
Because aren’t you just a little bit sick of all the lies that are being told these days by politicians, corporate leaders and so many others in leadership positions both near and far?
Yes, many of us grew up with Richard Nixon saying, “Your President is not a crook!” which was a lie and Bill Clinton saying, “I did NOT have sexual relations with that woman,” which was another lie and on and on, to the more recent lie about what happened at the embassy in Benghazi, Libya, to too many other incidences to even name.
Including the latest one about the oil spill near Tioga, the one they are now calling the largest oil spill ever on American soil, which they say might have been caused by lightning.
That one hasn’t officially been labeled a lie yet, but you’ve got to think that it’ll soon be ranked right up there with “The checks in the mail” and “No ossifer, I have not been d-drinking,” because, come on, you want us to believe that lightning struck a pipe buried 6 feet underground and that it created a hole through which 20,000 barrels of crude escaped on 7.3 acres.
I’m no scientist but even if that one is true, it might have already given birth to an even more remarkable “mistruth” or “delayed truth” or “protected truth” about the spill’s actual number of barrels and acreage, since they are now cleaning up something like 33 acres and that there might have been knowledge of the leak at least a month earlier than reported.
Nevertheless, what I am wondering is if we need to get our church leaders to remind politicians and corporate leaders that, although there is no commandment that specifically states “Thou shalt not lie,” there is one that says “Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Believe it or not, when God said “neighbor” he wasn’t just referring to Bob next door and Ted on the other side; because he really meant everyone everywhere, in the present, in the past and in the future.
I know, I know, that’s hard to comprehend, but he really was talking about lying.
So believe it or not, God doesn’t want you lying about anything, including what Adolf Hitler did in his spare time or what Osama Bin Laden didn’t do.
Oh sure, lying can be so easy and then there are those “white lies” that create such a gray area, don’t they? For example, in Los Angeles when someone says they’ll meet you at Monahan’s Pub after work, there’s about a 70 percent chance that it’s a lie.
In his column entitled, “Big Lies in Politics,” written for Town Hall Magazine, Thomas Sowell wrote: “The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy them and only in the short run.”
He went on to say: “Among the biggest lies of the welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic is the notion that the government can supply the people with things they want but cannot afford. Since the government gets its resources from the people, if the people as a whole cannot afford something, neither can the government.”
Then again, there’s that famous Greek philosopher Plato who once said: “The rulers of the state are the only persons who ought to have the privilege of lying, either at home or abroad; they may be allowed to lie for the good of the state.”
Now that might sound good coming from Plato’s mouth but really, do you want to trust them enough to give them that trust? I don’t think so.
So let’s assume that there’s a commandment that says, “Thou shalt not lie” and leave it at that because if we do, life will be so much easier.
Holten is the manager of The Drill and a columnist for The Dickinson Press. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.