Liars Lie

Why do people fib to us?

Gregory House, M.D., taught us “Everybody lies.” Oh, sure, we may start with the little “white” lies, but according to Dr. Gail Saltz everyone lies or “omits the truth” at least some of the time. “We start lying at around age 4 to 5 when children gain an awareness of the use and power of language. This first lying is not malicious, but rather to find out, or test, what can [be] manipulated in a child’s environment. Eventually children begin to use lying to get out of trouble or get something they want.”

It has gotten so bad that we expect some people to lie to us outright.

How do you tell if a politician/lawyer/used car dealer is lying? Their lips are moving.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center project monitors TV political ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases for accuracy. The Washington Post grades politicians on their command of the facts with one to four “Pinocchios.” Each state Bar Association can tell you if an attorney is in good standing, what grievances have been filed, and so on. And databases like CarFax, AutoCheck, and the NICB VINCheck offer an accurate look at a used car’s history.

(On the other hand we expect scientists, the clergy, and our mothers to tell us the truth.)

I’m looking for a Corvette but I got caught up in a search for a nice, mid-size, generic, American-made convertible. Found this ad on Craigslist:

used carV6, Automatic,
Power Everything!!! Leather, Alloy Wheels
Runs and Drives 100%
Power top, windows, locks. Auto. Cold Air.
Very clean and Needs Nothing

Wow! I ran a Carfax and emailed the seller some questions:

How long have you owned the car and why do you want to sell?
I purchase it new. Sell because I need 4 doors car I have kids,” the seller responded.
Carfax reports the first owner drove only 31,000 miles in 10 years and the current owner has had it just 7 months.

What accident damage has been repaired?
Car runs perfect.
Carfax reports an accident (damage unknown) in 2006.

Is there an extended warranty and is it transferable?
No answer from the seller.
Carfax reports an ECM check, A/C system check and recharge, and a service contract purchased just last month.

I emailed the seller back to ask for the Vehicle Identification Number. I haven’t heard back.

Even if the liars we deal with don’t have a moral issue, why do we let them get away with it?

OK, don’t ask me how that dress fits.

6 thoughts on “Liars Lie

  1. I hate liars.

    I stopped writing fiction when I figured out that fiction was a lie and I didn’t want to be a part of it.

    Okay, so that’s not quite true. I quit writing fiction when none of it would sell… but only because I didn’t have a name recognition.

    Okay, okay, so that’s not quite true. Actually I stopped doing it when I felt that the editors thought they knew more about what I was trying to say than I did. And, uh…

    Well, to tell the truth, it wasn’t very good. Okay.

    But, my mother liked it. Well, actually she told me I should go back to doing something else. Mother knows best.

  2. You left a few categories out in those who we expect to tell the truth. One in particular: newspeople. We pay them (indirectly) to get us information we don’t have the time or resources to find out firsthand. Obviously incorrect information is NOT what we are paying for. We should expect accurate facts.

    Looks like we do NOT get it, though. I think most people can accept that there will be mistakes in the news. But it seems like most people I know expect, these days, that the news they get will be LOADED with errors of commission and omission. In fact, they expect that some of what they hear as news will be entirely fictional. Why do we accept this?

    If a truck driver proves to be incompetent or drives dangerously, his Commercial Driver’s License is suspended.

    If a registered professional engineer designs a structure that fails, he is likely to have his PE license suspended.

    Why isn’t there a similar system for newspeople? Track record of bad facts? Better go learn how to say “you want fries with that?” because you are done with Journalism. (Unfortunately I suspect I may know the answer.)

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