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Does Government have the right to lie to its citizens?

RightinNYC

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This is a question that I think is worth debating. Are there instances when government is entitled to lie to its citizens in order for the "good of the nation?"

One could make the argument that government should never lie to the people, and there is lots of support for that argument. Our leaders are elected by us, are trusted by us, and should return that trust by being honest in their actions and words. The fear of getting caught in lies acts as a force helping to keep leaders in line (although not as much as one would hope). Also, the job of the press is to report on the government, so if they come upon a lie the government is telling "for the good of the nation," should they be precluded from telling the people?

On the other hand, there is plenty of argument for why the government SHOULD be able to lie to the people. Our elected officials serve as representatives for us because we are entrusting in them the ability to make decisions for us. As we give them that responsibility, do they gain extra rights? Much of the most crucial actions our country takes are classified in one way or another, in order to keep information from the public. Sometimes, our leaders determine that an action must be taken for the good of the country, but said action would be politically unpalatable. Do they then have the right to lie in order to do what they feel is right?
 

RightinNYC

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More:

If tomorrow morning Bush found out through an incredibly reliable, incredibly secret source that Haiti had acquired a nuke and was about to launch it at the US, but this information could not be revealed because of security concerns, would he be justified in telling the country that we just sent a "peacekeeping" force into Haiti for some minor detail, when in reality it was a team that captured the missile before it could harm the US?

Questions like this have bothered me for a long time because the government has the hardest job when it's playing defense for us. Every day they foil terrorist plots, conduct military maneuvers, and make covert negotiations with other countries, and the only time we see anything is when it goes wrong. In electing our leaders, are we entrusting them with enough support that they should feel comfortable doing what they feel is right without regard for how it has to be presented to us?
 

t125eagle

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that's a very hard question to answer. Personally i think it would be stupid to take a hard stance one way or another. i think that the situation should decide whether the government should lie or not and have repercussions. in the case of the Hati operatin you mentioned, i think that would be acceptable. but if the senate wishes to pass a bill that has to do with education standards, then no. they should be straight with us about what the bill is about.
 

Kandahar

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There are instances when I think it's acceptable for the government to lie to its citizens, in matters of national security. However, government should certainly be a lot more open and honest than it currently is, and lying should be done only sparingly.
 

Billo_Really

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Originally posted by RightatNYU:
Questions like this have bothered me for a long time...
What bothers me is your avatars. They are very distracting. How can I possibly muster up the required hatred and bigotry needed to respond to posts when I got all this "trim" going on out of the corner of my eye. Damn you!

Other than that, I do not want my elected leaders lying to me in any way, for any reason, at any time.
 

RightinNYC

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Billo_Really said:
What bothers me is your avatars. They are very distracting. How can I possibly muster up the required hatred and bigotry needed to respond to posts when I got all this "trim" going on out of the corner of my eye. Damn you!

Other than that, I do not want my elected leaders lying to me in any way, for any reason, at any time.
You have Bill O'Reilly with an ass on his face. You want to talk sexy....mmmmmmm

And what about national security issues? There are obviously things that officials cant share with the public, should they be kept from acting on them until they get public support?
 

Billo_Really

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Originally posted by RightatNYU:
And what about national security issues? There are obviously things that officials cant share with the public, should they be kept from acting on them until they get public support?
Let's can the avatar talk. I don't want to be a butt-head about it.

Issues of National Security I would not expect them to be talking about in public anyway. I would prefer no comment as a response instead of a lie.
 

RightinNYC

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Billo_Really said:
Let's can the avatar talk. I don't want to be a butt-head about it.

Issues of National Security I would not expect them to be talking about in public anyway. I would prefer no comment as a response instead of a lie.
Fair enough.
 
H

HTColeman

Kandahar said:
There are instances when I think it's acceptable for the government to lie to its citizens, in matters of national security. However, government should certainly be a lot more open and honest than it currently is, and lying should be done only sparingly.
I agree, it is hard to take one side over the other. However I would lean more to the side of not lying. I understand that sometimes there is a need to keep some things on the downlow but, the gov't is run by human beings. They may think in their truest of hearts that they are doing the right thing but they need to lie about it for 'x' reason. The truth is, we all think we know the right thing to do, but we really don't know until we know other people's opinion.
 
L

LHardy

We are talking about politics, are we not?
It is fair to say that you will be lied to, have always been lied to and will always be lied to. That is what is done in politics at any level. The idealog of a government that doesn't lie; doesn't and will never exist.
I have a friend who grew up in Washington DC and her common phrase is "In Washington! Everybody lies!"
Out right or little white. The public can't handle most truth and the other it doesn't want to hear.
Us poor bastards who get off on politics do care. The people in general though? Don't give one rats' ass. Remeber only out of all registard voters less then 25% of them vote in a general election.
How do they really know if an official lied. Hell they barely remember things they have said.
 
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