Re: Privacy

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Fri, 2 Apr 1999 09:06:43 -0800 (PST)

ES> I was always taught that in order for something to be a lie
> three conditions must be met...
> a) the statement must be untrue
> b) the purpose of the statement is to deceive
> c) the person it is told to is entitled to the truth
> In the case of the Jews/SS an argument could be made for the fact that
> the SS were simply not entitled to that information. Therefore the
> statement could be considered as something else than unethical lying...

ML> That is the definition of libel, not of lying.

Libel further requires actual harm and intent to harm. Most of the examples of "ethical lying" people come up with are simply self-defense as in the above example. The use of fraud in self-defense is the same as the use of violence in self-defense. Lies to the government are included here as well.

A more interesting question is how unethical are lies told because they are utterly inconsequential? Say you are having a conversation at a party with someone you know you will never see again--why not be entertaining by describing your trip to Europe that you never took? What about lies of mere convenience? "I was over at Charlie's watching the game" rather than "It's none of your damned business where I was and I don't want to tell you and I don't want to argue about it."

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC