Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Is it Provincial to Be Truthful?

By Domenick J. Maglio PhD. Traditional Realist

We are living in an era where lying can get you places and telling the truth can make you an outcast- a pariah. Being truthful makes a person a potential threat who by his presence puts others in an uncomfortable position. He may say something that will expose another without knowing it. 

Young children who instinctually attempt to distort the facts to get out of trouble or to minimize their punishment are considered to be clever. Many modern parents find it cute when their child tells a whopper of a lie and often proudly repeat the story to others in the child’s presence. The parents are unknowingly encouraging their child to be a more creative disguiser of his real intentions.

High achieving students often get to the top of the class by taking shortcuts like having their parent or tutor do their homework, copying a peer’s work and outright cheating on tests.  “Shortcutting“ is often dismissed by parents as their child’s ingenuity in getting ahead.

Modern parents are aware that the best deceivers are the ones to win the race to the top not only in school but in business. Companies take their biggest liabilities and employ an ad campaign to create spin to positively redefine their product. Lies lubricate the image of too many large entities.

Liars are considered “artful” in making themselves look good. Politicians are artists at reinventing themselves to erase inconvenient past policy mistakes and inappropriate incidents.  They often employ damage control experts who are the ultimate craftsmen in minimizing a person’s errors by diffusing the responsibility of the act.

Individuals that have the ability to circumvent the truth and its consequences are considered highly sophisticated in our superficial culture. Although these people are loose with the truth, they are usually in high demand without any stigma attached to their devious methods. However, in the long run their self-importance leads them to take stupid risks that implode their high-flying life style.

On the other hand in our politically correct culture the habitual truth speakers are often considered Neanderthals or worse SOBs.  These candid people are often considered in our culture to be crude, uncaring and insensitive to the feelings of others.  They are not looked upon favorably because the truth often hurts, especially when another is exposed for being dishonest.

These plain speaking people refuse to go along with the crowd. They have strong moral convictions. These self directed, straightforward individuals confront ideas that push others to evaluate their own thinking and behavior. They do not need or want to conform to the latest fad.

Being honest or dishonest has been flipped upside down.  An honest person was seen as the bedrock of a community. They were dependable and responsible people that others could count on to do the right thing. While in the past the habitual liar was considered a con artist who liked to take advantage of decent, innocent people.  They were phonies who talked a good game but everything they touched crumbled and lost its value.

Today being frank makes you almost a naive agitator. Some people even label them “extremists” in their telling the truth and unwillingness to bend the truth to gain acceptance. These non-deceitful individuals are supposed to be too ignorant of the nuances and subtleties of playing political games at home, at work and in the community to advance themselves. This makes them at best nuisances and at worse, impediments to progressive change.

 According to cosmopolitan people we cannot go back in time to a more simple existence where honesty was the best policy.  We must re-educate morally direct people to better comply with a duplicitous world.

When lying becomes an acceptable means of reaching one’s or an organization’s objective, the nation’s moral fiber is weakened.  A society that condones lying undermines its institutions. Any nation that promotes and tolerates liars will lose its vigor to prosper and even to survive.

Honoring people who have the courage to speak the truth will keep us on the straight and narrow path to moral strength. The backbone of a moral society is plainspoken people who cut through all the veil of deception to keep us from falling prey to evildoers.

It is not narrow minded, unsophisticated or provincial to search for the truth and be truthful. The opposite happens when a person is guided by living a truthful life. The truth expands one’s appreciation and understanding of the world. It sets one free.

Dr. Maglio is an author and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at


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