Is deception justified? This question is a topic that many people have different views on. In my opinion, it is necessary to lie to other people. I also think that it is important to be an honest individual, but there are certain circumstances when lying is justified. Lying can often times save a lot of unnecessary hardship and trouble, but when used in the wrong circumstances, can cause trouble too. Take the President of the United States for example. If Obama told the American citizens everything that went on in the world the American citizens would over-react and cause a lot of un-needed panic.
It is necessary that he hides these types of things from us in order to keep the peace in the country. It is important for him to know what to keep from the citizens and when to tell us about a problem if it escalates. For example, if a terrorist organization made a threat through an email or phone call, it would be important for the president to tell some people and take important safety measures just in case, but it would not be necessary to tell the American citizens. What if it was merely a hoax and nothing happens?
If he did tell us then there would be a lot of panic and commotion over nothing. It is not good to deceive people over certain things however. If you are lying to protect others, then I think it is alright, but if you are lying to protect yourself, then in most cases it is bad. Take Bill Clinton for example. He lied to the American citizens and all trust for him was lost. This resulted in him losing his position of President. If he had not lied, or not done something that he needed to lie about in the first place, then he would have been alright.
The president could also hide information from us until he knows the full truth. A good example of this would be the recent attack on the US Embassies, where he did not know all of the details and waited to tell the public until the investigations were completed. There are some times when I have fibbed to others for their good also. One example of this would be a few Christmas’ ago when my brother asked me if I got him a certain gift. He guessed correctly, but I lied to him so I would not ruin the surprise. An important part of Christmas and opening presents is the surprise!
If I would have told the truth when he asked me what I got him, then that part would have been ruined. There have also been times when I have lied to protect myself from punishment. This is not a circumstance in which it is okay to deceive others. I lied about eating a piece of chocolate, got caught, and as punishment for lying, I got my bicycle taken for a week! This taught me a valuable lesson. It is not okay to lie to protect yourself. In the story of Oedipus, there were many lies and deceptions that resulted in people dying, being blinded, and people’s lives being ruined.
The consequences for lying are not always this severe, however the story does show how lying can be bad. When Oedipus asks the Sheppard who Lauis’s murderer is, he does not lie. Some people think that if he had lied he would have saved Jocasta’s life, Oedipus’s eyes, and much pain and suffering. I think he made the right decision. If the city would have not been rid of Laius’s murderer than hundreds of people would have continued to die from the plague, so in reality the Sheppard was saving hundreds of lives in exchange for one. In this situation it is hard to decide whether or not deception is justified or not.
If the Sheppard had lied to protect Oedipus, he would be causing the city of Thebes to suffer, but if the city of Thebes is suffering than the king would most likely be blamed for it. So either way Oedipus would have been in trouble. I think that the Sheppard made the right decision by telling the truth in this situation. As you can see, you have to execute good judgment when deciding whether to lie or not. I think that sometimes it is justified, and sometimes it is not. There are examples of both in our lives almost daily. I think that if you are lying to protect someone else, it is justified, but otherwise, it is not.