As if invading & taking over Iraq wasn't about oil

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loseyourname
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2CentsWorth said:
While I can see everyone's point, this is what I've ascertained so far:
Once again, I can't speak for everyone (and I wish because of this that I could be directly addressed more often), but I can at least clarify my own position.

1) All politicians lie, therefore what's the big deal if Bush lies.
Not at all. I'm not defending the specific actions of any specific person. I'm only making the argument for the case that I explicitly stated above:

Imagine a situation in which taking action X results in consequence Y that is desirable for the greater good. However, the factual case for action X is not enough to compel those who would authorize that action. In that case, I believe that overstating the argument for action X is justified, even if doing so is a deceptive tactic.

I've never specified whether I believe Bush's or any other politician's specific lies to be such a case. If they are, however, then I feel they are justified.

2) It's okay to lie if it's for a greater good.
This one is pretty faithful to my own position. I'll elaborate below.

3) It's not okay to lie when it's a leader you don't support, or visa versa.
I don't get the feeling that anyone has presented this position, not even SOS. It's okay for any leader to lie so long as it is in accordance with my generalized case from above. According to me, anyway. Take it for what you will. I have a good deal of experience with ethics but I'm no professional.

The second conclusion is dependent on a person's definition of the "greater good" so I also cannot accept it.
But you do accept it, at least in limited cases. Everyone does. Who would honestly say that they would not lie to save their professor's life, given the example I gave earlier of the gunman looking for him? That is a greater good, no? It is my contention that everyone can agree that it is okay in limited cases such as these to lie for the greater good. The difficulty lies in determining what circumstances we will allow such lies to take place in and how we can adequately generalize to provide an abstract ethical rule. I will extend it as far as the bold outline above. I hope you don't feel this is completely arbitrary.

Americans should expect an honest government and honest leaders no matter what party, etc.
Americans should expect from their leaders the same behavior that they themselves display. This alone does not make this behavior right or justified, but it shouldn't exactly come as a shock. Maybe that isn't what you mean by "expect," though. You seem to just mean that we should use complete honesty as an absolute ethical standard to which our leaders should be held. You should qualify this position because it is open to several very obvious attacks, even aside from the abstractions I have presented.
 
SOS2008
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loseyourname said:
No, but does it matter? An informal survey of four or five people on an internet forum isn't going to result in any meaningful numbers to prove your point.
I agree. My posts in this thread have been a continuation of my original post and the conversation and thought process of people I know who support Bush, which I try to understand.
loseyourname said:
Your problem isn't with his lying.
It is one problem, but not my only problem with Bush. On this point, for example, I personally did not like that Clinton lied about having an affair.
loseyourname said:
A person should lie if he can honestly achieve a greater good by doing so. Period.
As stated previously I have no desire to get into a philosophical debate about what constitutes lying (any more than what constitutes "sex"?). Once again, I criticize Bush for lying, and you are correct that I disagree with the neocons in his administration and their determination of what is the "greater good" as well.
loseyourname said:
...I think that this is because you don't state your point explicitly and what you do state you don't state very well. If your problem isn't with 'lying to achieve a greater good,' then don't criticize Bush because you feel he lied to achieve a greater good. Criticize Bush for taking the nation into a war that you don't feel serves the greater good. That's what you're really after, isn't it?
My apologies for any failure to communicate. Because of the many previous posts exchanged on this topic, I assumed you knew my stance about Bush taking the nation into war, so did not think it needed repeating. I do not believe the "greater good" (war on terror or freedom and peace, etc.) was Bush's vision. I believe Bush took our country to war for other reasons, and used deceit to achieve that end (personal agenda--which per the original post could well involve oil). NOW everyone is rallying to the cry of "freedom and peace." Yes, I have a problem with this.
loseyourname said:
On a side note, you really don't have to throw in the constant attacks on anyone that supports or voted for Bush. I would imagine that you insult quite a few people in doing so. Disingratiating yourself in such a manner to half the forum isn't the best way to conduct fruitful discussion.
I respect your feelings and personally enjoy your opinions, so I will try to be more mindful. However, I don't think "half the forum" has been insulted, and hopefully most realize these debates are not directed at any one person.
loseyourname said:
I won't make a case for the actual war, but as an analogy imagine a situation in which taking action X results in consequence Y that is desirable for the greater good. However, the factual case for action X is not enough to compel those who would authorize that action. In that case, I believe that overstating the argument for action X is justified, even if doing so is a deceptive tactic. This is a tactic used by all politicians and I don't have any problem with it.
I see a slippery slop, because I believe that if the current foreign policy was being purported by a leader these people did not support, it would not be referred to as a "greater good."
 
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2CentsWorth said:
The posts such as this show that Bush supporters will justify anything, and as long as there are people out there who think like this, we do have a problem.
Oh? And what Bush supporter would you be refering to in this statement because I am not a Bush supporter.
At any rate, I believe you had a problem then with this statement...
Someone who is not a Bush supporter said:
As long as there are people out there who will do wrong there will be a need for a grey area in determining whether or not it is ok to do something to protect yourself or others that may otherwise be considered wrong.
Now I would say that most people probably feel it is not a good thing to kill someone right? But... if someone is trying to kill you would you then feel it is ok to kill that person? Would you have a problem with lying to someone if it may save your life or that of another? Or is this just a horrible symptom of the Bush supporter mentality and I should check myself self into a clinic just to be sure that I am not one?
2CentsWorth said:
I don't see where anyone has said otherwise. I only see statements that it is a matter of severity (maybe frequency, seriousness of effects, etc.).
In regards to frequency, though I hardly have a verifiable tally anywhere, I doubt Bush has lied any more than any other president in recent history. In regards to seriousness of effects and severity those are a matter of opinion. If you don't feel that the country should have gone to war with Iraq then you may feel that any lie that took us there was severe. If you believe that it was a good idea to go to Iraq then you may not give a crap about any lie that took us there.
 
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Apparently there are no Bush supporters in this thread, so now I am quite certain I have not offended "half the forum."
 
loseyourname
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SOS2008 said:
Apparently there are no Bush supporters in this thread, so now I am quite certain I have not offended "half the forum."
I'd like to think that no one actually gets offended by anything said on an internet forum (I know it isn't true, but I'd like to think so anyway). It's just that I have a lot of experience with formal debates and writing formal philosophical papers and I've been trained extensively to argue facts and abstractions, not the mentality or intellectual capacity or motivation of the person making the opposing argument. As such, it bothers me when this is done, even if it isn't directed at me. This whole idea of the "culture war" bothers me as well. Everyone wants to find an "other" that they can vilify and blame the world's problems on. It's obvious that you've found yours. I don't like to think that way. I prefer to think that all people are on basically equal footing here. It is the ideas they subscribe to that I blame, because I suppose I have this crazy belief that, through reason, any idea that is false can be proven so. It is far more difficult to convince a person that he is a bad person. For that reason alone, even if I am in fact incorrect, I still think that my methodology produces a more practically efficacious form of dialogue.
 
vanesch
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loseyourname said:
The example from an old ethics professor of mine comes to mind: You're waiting outside of your professor's office for him to finish meeting with someone when a man with a gun approaches and asks "Is he in? I'm going to kill him." Do you tell the truth or do you 'lie to achieve a greater good.' That's what I mean about the question being so broadly worded as to be something that anyone who is thinking straight should answer positively.
This is nice rethoric :biggrin:
So you mean that authorities have to consider their citizens as criminals and that all "information" endorsed by the state only serves one purpose: (mis)guide the citizens so that their inherently criminal attitudes are mislead in achieving finally greater goals. But if that is true, then why have "liberty" and "democracy" and "right to free speech" and so on ? In that case, tricking elections is a right thing to do. After all, the one who tricks the elections is maybe trying to achieve a greater good, so you should not complain about that. Also justice shouldn't be "just": after all, condamning you, even if you are innocent, is maybe "part of achieving a greater good" such as scaring off others...
We have known such situations in the past (think of the Inquisition, for instance), and in fact, Saddam's regime applied it perfectly. They were all "achieving a greater good". Macchiavelli ?
 
loseyourname
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Read my posts in context, Vanesch. The example from the ethics class was meant only to point out why I thought the original question posed by SOS was too broadly worded. I posted in quite a bit of detail how I feel a ruling regime should behave with respect to honesty and deception separately, and the two are not related. Respond to each in turn.
 
TheStatutoryApe said:
Oh? And what Bush supporter would you be refering to in this statement because I am not a Bush supporter.
loseyourname said:
No, but does it matter? An informal survey of four or five people on an internet forum isn't going to result in any meaningful numbers to prove your point.
So neither defender of lying for the “greater good” in this thread is a “Bush supporter.” Sorry about the incorrect assumption, and I suppose it also would be wrong to now assume you both voted for Kerry? Does it matter? It does from the original line of reasoning regarding justification of lying for the “greater good” as specifically connected to Bush and those who support him.
loseyourname said:
Once again, I can't speak for everyone (and I wish because of this that I could be directly addressed more often), but I can at least clarify my own position.
There were general concepts being put forth by more than one member, so sometimes a general reply is appropriate. I’ve read the forum rules, but can’t help notice criticism about how other members post, and how you would like members to post, including this:
loseyourname said:
Read my posts in context, Vanesch. The example from the ethics class was meant only to point out why I thought the original question posed by SOS was too broadly worded. I posted in quite a bit of detail how I feel a ruling regime should behave with respect to honesty and deception separately, and the two are not related. Respond to each in turn.
The idea of forums is that members will have different ideas, different styles for expressing ideas, and different ways to express their ideas. As long as the rules of the forum are followed, why should everyone cater to your dictates? Maybe you really just don’t like what these members post.

So back to the thread…a new conclusion would be that Bush supporters are not the only people who feel lying is justified if for a “greater good” (though I have yet to hear this from “left-wing” members or otherwise), but it remains a point I disagree with.
 
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if invading irak was realy for the greater good then bush didn't had to to lie.... and may be, its ok for me or you to lie, but it's not ok that the president of the world most powerfull nation to invade countrys based on lies... and more when his actions cost tousands of inocent lives, and mooore when you are invading the 2nd world oil producer..... acoording to looseyourname example about the teacher and the men trying to kill him... you lie to the men with the gun,, no to all the students...
I still can't belive that you are asking to be lied by your politicians...... it's nonsense....

After all, it's supposed to be a democracy and what the mayority wants should be done.. if the mayority decide ,express themselfs or vote based on lies,, then it's not a democracy. it's a dictatorship
 
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Because he lied, it's hyproctical, because he supports his invasion based on Christian values, but Jesus (peace be upon him) scorned lying, so Bush is going against his own values and morals..

people will respond by saying that if it is for the good then lying is justified, but you can't show me it's good, because the deaths caused by the invasion are just unexcusable, the rate that civilians are dying because of American military "accidents" is higher than it ever was during Saddam's entire rule. Freedom? People always mention that freedom is being brought to the people, but freedom from what? The only thing I see here is that the Iraqi people are experiencing a freedom from life at the hands of the forces..
 
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TheStatutoryApe said:
The differance I have seen is that the right say they are protecting the "greater good" and the left say they are protecting you/<insert popular interest group here>.
After removing any confusion regarding bad people (Saddam?) and various examples such as that of self-defense with how to define the "greater good," and substituting “Bush supporters” with “right wing” people, we can get back to the main points:
loseyourname said:
You don't think Bush, or even his supporters, would prefer that it wasn't necessary to deceive every now and then? Do you think that they just enjoy lying to people?
The matter of why it is necessary to deceive, or should we say why Americans would not have accepted the truth so had to be deceived, is summed up as follows:
Burnsys said:
if invading irak was realy for the greater good then bush didn't had to to lie.... and may be, its ok for me or you to lie, but it's not ok that the president of the world most powerfull nation to invade countrys based on lies...

After all, it's supposed to be a democracy and what the mayority wants should be done.. if the mayority decide ,express themselfs or vote based on lies,, then it's not a democracy. it's a dictatorship
If a police officer is arrested for anything, even a DUI, he/she will lose their job, because it is their job to uphold the law, and cannot rise above the law. The highest-ranking official in our country, who also is the leader of the free world, therefore should be held to high standards. The American people also are responsible for practicing good citizenship as their role in a democracy. If right wing people who support Bush understood this, I doubt he would have been reelected.
 
loseyourname
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2CentsWorth said:
So neither defender of lying for the “greater good” in this thread is a “Bush supporter.” Sorry about the incorrect assumption, and I suppose it also would be wrong to now assume you both voted for Kerry?
I voted for Bush. What I meant was that I don't support many of his policies and/or actions. I just support more of his policies and actions than I did Kerry's policies and actions. Voting isn't as straightforward as "I like this guy, I like everything he does, so I'm voting for him." I can't stand Bush and it pained me to vote for him. I just didn't see a better alternative.

Does it matter? It does from the original line of reasoning regarding justification of lying for the “greater good” as specifically connected to Bush and those who support him.
It matter if two conditions obtain: 1) You believe that lying 'for the greater good' is always the wrong thing to do, and 2) you believe that only Bush supporters feel the other way. Even if these conditions obtain and whether I not I support Bush suddenly becomes relevant to SOS's personal inquiry, it still isn't relevant to the matter of whether or not my position is correct. That does and should stand alone.

There were general concepts being put forth by more than one member, so sometimes a general reply is appropriate.
I don't mean to criticize your method of response. I just sincerely wish that people would address me individually because it would make it easier to respond without misunderstanding. You addressed me personally this time and so I was able to tell exactly what you were responding to. That makes it easier for me to know what to respond to and how to respond. Call me selfish.

I’ve read the forum rules, but can’t help notice criticism about how other members post, and how you would like members to post, including this:
The idea of forums is that members will have different ideas, different styles for expressing ideas, and different ways to express their ideas. As long as the rules of the forum are followed, why should everyone cater to your dictates? Maybe you really just don’t like what these members post.
I don't like it when what Vanesch posts is a clear misunderstanding of my intention that could have easily been cleared up had he simply read the comment in context with all of my other comments along with what was being responded to. Had he done so, he could have seen that what he quoted had absolutely nothing to do with how I feel a regime should behave, making what he said in response completely irrelevant, inapplicable, unnecessary, and a waste of his and my time. Don't get me wrong. If it's on-topic and in accordance with forum regulations, he has every right to post it, but it's still bad for discussion. I have every right to point that out.

So back to the thread…a new conclusion would be that Bush supporters are not the only people who feel lying is justified if for a “greater good” (though I have yet to hear this from “left-wing” members or otherwise), but it remains a point I disagree with.
Fair enough. I don't think you've provided an adequate justification of this position, but it's not like this is a straightforward, deductive matter. Either of us could easily be wrong.
 
vanesch
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loseyourname said:
Read my posts in context, Vanesch. The example from the ethics class was meant only to point out why I thought the original question posed by SOS was too broadly worded. I posted in quite a bit of detail how I feel a ruling regime should behave with respect to honesty and deception separately, and the two are not related. Respond to each in turn.
Well, I did read through the whole thread (maybe not everything in detail before posting).

I think our fundamental point of difference is this:

loseyourname said:
I'd even go so far as to say that 90% (rough estimate based on no stats, admittedly) of the people out there agree in practice (if not in principle) with deceiving, even for their own good.
I can tell you, I don't want to be lied to. Ever. I can accept not to be told, if I'm not concerned. I find it disturbing that people would like otherwise, and nevertheless require, for themselves, some "power of decision" ; that was what I was trying to outline in my example. If you are misinformed, you're bound to make decisions which are not in agreement with what you think is fundamentally right, even concerning that so-called "higher goal".

To come back to your example of your ethics professor. Now imagine that the "murderer" was in fact a former policeman, against whom the "professor in the office" had complotted because that policeman discovered that the professor was in fact a leader in a terrorist organisation, but that the complot was so very well organized that the policeman realizes that he cannot ever convince anybody before a terrible terrorist attack will take place, organized by the professor. So the policeman has decided to kill the professor, even if afterwards, he knows that he will be punished etc... He is sacrificing himself for a "higher good". So the ex policeman comes and asks you if the professor is inside because he needs to kill him. Again, should you lie or not ?

The point is that you cannot make a decision which will "serve the higher good" if you are misinformed, and so cannot do the policeman if you lie to him.

Another point, altogether, is: who is in the right place to decide what is "a higher goal" to achieve ? I would think that one of the pillars of a democratic society is that NOBODY by himself has that right, only the people have. But in order for those people to be able to make a decision (by voting) they need to know some correct information. If all information is subject to be desinformation for the "higher good" they are supposed to install, how the hell do you hope that that system will work ?

EDIT: If you think it is, in certain specific cases, "justified to lie about X to obtain agreement on Y which you consider a higher good" then this is maybe only an indication that the necessity to lie about X is a sign that Y, which you consider a higher good, is finally not viewed that way by the people you're lying to.

In the specific example of Iraq: if the higher good Y is in this case "remove a dictator by waging war" and X is "dictator S is threatening you with nuclear weapons", then if it is necessary to lie about X (he's in fact not threatening your) in order to wage war, to realize Y, then MAYBE, just maybe, Y is not, after all, a concensus of what constitutes a higher goal. Maybe most people think that removing a dictator is just NOT worth waging a war. In their book, this is NOT a higher good.
But maybe it IS. Maybe there WAS a concensus that Y is indeed the right thing to do. In that case, lying about X is not necessary!

So, there are two possibilities: or, there is a clear consensus that Y IS a higher good. In that case, lying about X is not necessary (and even harmful). Or there is NO SUCH CONCENSUS. In that case, you shouldn't consider Y as being a higher goal to be persued ; it is just the opinion of a few people in power, and apparently not a concensus opinion. Lying about X is, again, harmful if you believe in democratic values, because it distorts the true opinion of people about the "goodness" of Y.

The thing becomes even more ironic when Y is extended into "removing a dictator in order to instore democratic values", but this is another story...

I think there are 2 acceptable attitudes, for EVERYBODY, including gouvernment:
1) tell the truth to their very best ability.
2) shut up.

In all other cases, the system fails miserably and will be rotten, serving the hidden agendas (redefining the "higher goals") of individuals which misuse the system.
 
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loseyourname
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vanesch said:
Well, I did read through the whole thread (maybe not everything in detail before posting).

I think our fundamental point of difference is this:

I can tell you, I don't want to be lied to. Ever.
That's fine, but even then, what you posted was not a political comment on my part. It was again just a response to SOS's initial question and why I felt it was too broadly worded. How can 'lying for the greater good' be considered a bad thing by many people when those same people lie for their own good? I don't mean political manuevering here, and I should have been more clear on that. I'm speaking of small lies like telling your wife she doensn't look fat in order to avoid a fight. Or, in a case no one will disagree with, lying to save the life of your professor. It's things like this that make me wary of people who say things like "I don't want to be lied to. Ever." Perhaps you're being sincere. Perhaps you wouldn't even lie to save your professor. Personally, I don't believe that because I don't believe you to be a rotten person. I think you're just making a reactive and overly broad statement without deeply thinking about it. First off, what I think you really mean is that you don't want an administration to lie to you. Ever. Even in that case, however, consider the scenario of an extraterrestrial race making contact with the government and announcing intentions to invade. Studies have indicated that revealing this to the general public would cause a widespread panic, resulting in a good deal of death and destruction. There is also a small military faction that believes it has a good chance of warding off the invasion before it occurs. What do you think the administration should do in this case? I certainly don't think they should be honest with the public. I hope that you'd feel the same way. In which case, there are circumstances under which you wouldn't mind the government lying to you. In believing that you and the other posters in here like SOS and 2Cents are reasonable people, I think that your real objection is not with government's lying per se, but specifically about certain lies that have been told, in particular the perception that Bush lied to bring the US into a war. Fine then. Say that. I just don't like overly broad rhetorical statements like "I don't want to be lied to. Ever." And "lying for the greater good is bad." Absolutes like do not work in the real world. There are always exceptions, sometimes a great many exceptions.
 
loseyourname
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By the way, I'll respond to your more specific objections later. Thank you for posting them. I mean it.
 
vanesch
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loseyourname said:
How can 'lying for the greater good' be considered a bad thing by many people when those same people lie for their own good?
Ah, I misunderstood that. I had read: when those same people WANT TO BE LIED TO for their own good.

I don't mean political manuevering here, and I should have been more clear on that. I'm speaking of small lies like telling your wife she doensn't look fat in order to avoid a fight. Or, in a case no one will disagree with, lying to save the life of your professor.
I really try hard never to do that (I mean lying), even to my wife (and yes, we have a lot of arguments :-)) But of course there is a limit between what I would call a "lie" and what is just polite and nice social behaviour.
Lying has a purpose: you give wrong information because you want to influence the behaviour and decisions of the one you're lying to. If someone asks you if you're ok (even if you have some problems) then it is not "lying" to just say: "Hi Jack, I'm ok, and you ?"

If I'm in a situation where I'm supposed to be lying for the greater good, I just say I don't want to talk about it.

It's things like this that make me wary of people who say things like "I don't want to be lied to. Ever." Perhaps you're being sincere. Perhaps you wouldn't even lie to save your professor. Personally, I don't believe that because I don't believe you to be a rotten person.
Look at my example concerning the professor :-) He's in fact a terrorist.
And you're forgetting that I leave an option: that is NOT TO SAY ANYTHING.

consider the scenario of an extraterrestrial race making contact with the government and announcing intentions to invade. Studies have indicated that revealing this to the general public would cause a widespread panic, resulting in a good deal of death and destruction.
...
Yes, the gouvernment shouldn't say anything. That's not lying. I can accept secrets. In fact, it would even be very silly to lie in this case: imagine suddenly a lot of state-funded ads appearing everywhere: 'NO WE WILL NOT BE INVADED BY AGGRESSIVE EXTRATERRESTRIALS !' :-)

And yes, there are always exceptions. But those exceptions should remain exceptional, so we shouldn't fix rules of when it is acceptable to lie :-). The reason why lying is bad in general is not because jesus said so or something of the kind. The reason why lying is bad is that it invalidates a communication channel. And the more important the communication channel, the worse is its loss ; the worst of all being the gouvernment's communication channel to the people.

Look at Bush. Imagine now that he REALLY has some intelligence information that, say, Iran has some weapons of mass destruction, and that there REALLY is a plan to, say, attack Western cities with it. Who is going to believe him now ?
 
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loseyourname
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vanesch said:
Look at my example concerning the professor :-) He's in fact a terrorist.
I actually didn't give a full description of the situation. The gunman is a classmate that you know got a bad grade and intends to kill the professor because he is disgruntled. The other problem is that a covert counterterrorism agent would not come in waving a gun announcing his intention to kill the professor. I think in the example given, you are justified in lying.

And you're forgetting that I leave an option: that is NOT TO SAY ANYTHING.
If it honestly eases your conscience to do so, but there's a good chance that if you say "I don't know," the gunman will take a peek himself. Seems to me the best thing to do is to just lie.

Yes, the gouvernment shouldn't say anything. That's not lying. I can accept secrets.
Fair enough. It's just that oftentimes, people will ask questions and the government will be forced to deny things that are true, which is lying. My example is a bad one since it isn't likely that the press will come up and ask whether or not we're vulnerable to an alien invasion. You never know, though.

And yes, there are always exceptions. But those exceptions should remain exceptional, so we shouldn't fix rules of when it is acceptable to lie :-).
Of course. I'm not advocating systematic deception. I'm just saying that it can be necessary in certain circumstances. We can't just say that it can never be done, period.

Look at Bush. Imagine now that he REALLY has some intelligence information that, say, Iran has some weapons of mass destruction, and that there REALLY is a plan to, say, attack Western cities with it. Who is going to believe him now ?
Good point. Although in this particular case, it isn't entirely clear that Bush lied. He may have sincerely believed that Iraq had WMDs or at least that they would at some point if we allowed Saddam to remain in power. He might have even had good reasons to believe so, even though it is obvious at this point that he overstated his case and was overzealous in his rush to go in. It certainly seems that he had ulterior motives. Whether or not those motives were the overall good of the middle east, the potential downfall of occupations in Palestine and Lebanon, and perhaps revolution in Iran, or just control of a large oil supply, depends on who you ask. I wouldn't put either past him.
 
vanesch
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loseyourname said:
I'm just saying that it can be necessary in certain circumstances. We can't just say that it can never be done, period.
But we SHOULD say that it can never be done. In that case, when it is necessary, that will then be an exception to this rule :tongue:

cheers,
Patrick.
 
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vanesch said:
But we SHOULD say that it can never be done. In that case, when it is necessary, that will then be an exception to this rule :tongue:
That doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
 
vanesch
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russ_watters said:
That doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
But it does :tongue2:
An exception is something that doesn't follow the rule. So if you want "lying" to be an exception, you shouldn't make a rule that allows you to do so in certain circumstances, because then you make a rule of it, and it's not an exception anymore :biggrin:

Ok, for those that have a hard time following, an example:
Do you agree that you should never murder your mom and dad (against their own will - to avoid all useless discussion) ?
You are going to say now, well... there might sometimes be an exceptional circumstance where killing your mom and dad is a good thing. For instance, if your mom and dad are running a succesfull concentration and extermination camp.
Now, should we make a rule, that "one should not kill one's mom and dad, except if they run a concentration camp" ?

I think that moms and dads that run concentration camps are rather rare, and that you could potentially think up of other examples in that category. And it avoids advocates of people who do kill their parents to play on the theme that it is not completely excluded that the accused was convinced that his parents WERE running a concentration camp...

So let us stick to the rule: "you should never kill your mom and dad".

And there could be exceptional exceptions to the rule, such as there are to every rule, no matter how well-tinkered.

In the same way, I think it is a good thing to make as a rule: "one shouldn't lie". And NOT to state: "one should never lie, except if it is for a greater good".
 
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Informal Logic
vanesch said:
...In the same way, I think it is a good thing to make as a rule: "one shouldn't lie". And NOT to state: "one should never lie, except if it is for a greater good".
Exactly. But it probably isn't fruitful to continue debating how this conclusion is reached. This rationalization of the right-wing exists because it justifies the right-wing agenda. The right wing argument would change if this thought process were used to justify a "greater good" that they don't agree is the "greater good."
 

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